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Sanctuary Vineyards is located in Currituck County, and is one must stop on your beach trip. The vineyard is a true family farm where John Wright has been working the past 16 years with the vines. Each vineyard has their own unique issues with terroir and weather, and that is certainly the case with Sanctuary Vineyards. The sandy soils here really push the vines to dig deep, and when the vines struggle, the grapes produced by those vines can be of higher quality.
You won't have to struggle at all on your visit to Sanctuary Vineyards. Their tasting room is right
on Caratoke Highway out in Jarvisburg. (On the link - it's the wine glass all the way to the right on the map, you can't miss it.) Wine tastings are free, and you'll have a wide variety to pick a favorite. A lot of their business is local, but of course with the Outer Banks (OBX) being such a great location for vacations year round, John and his crew are helping to redefine the North Carolina Wine Industry both in and out of the state. We visited there last year and in the couple of hours we spent there, there were cars pulling in from as far North as New Hampshire and as far South as Georgia. And I don't think anyone left without a few bottles in their bags to share back home.
If you can attend their big event called Crabdaddy Festival, it is coming up on Saturday September 23rd. It's a great day to hang out and enjoy wine, crab, food, and live music. They'll have it rain or shine, but either way it will be fun with the beach gang that puts on this event.
I studied in Spain in college for a semester, and that's where I started to drink wine on a regular basis. And by regular, it is part of their everyday lifestyle. We would have a glass at dinner and then usually another with tapas at night. While in Valencia, we would have lots of Tempranillo from the Rioja region, and we would also get some Albariño wines in to go with our fish meals. I remember Doña Pepita bringing me a plate of fish (head on of course) and putting a bottle of chilled Albariño on the table to share. As the meal wrapped up, I would always look at my plate like it was a cartoon clip - the fish head and tail intact with a spiny bone latticework connecting the two pieces. And always the last sip in the glass to clean the palate in preparation for a fresh Valencian Orange for dessert. So when I tasted the Albariño from Sanctuary Vineyards, I rediscovered the subtle flavors a truly great Spanish varietal.
We too brought a some bottles back with us to Winston-Salem, and we're really glad now that we can find a lot of their bottles locally here in stores. They now are being distributed statewide, so if you don't see them in your local wine shop, call Sanctuary and let them know and they may be able to help you get it local too. Remember, these are all local companies and deserve your attention. And restaurants that tout Local Foods should also be looking to stock up on local wines. Not because you're being altruistic, but because there are now lots of wines that are produced here in the state that deserve to be on the wine menus.
Sanctuary Vineyards was the recipient of the 2015 Wine Grower of Excellence Award which recognizes leadership and dedication of quality North Carolina grapes.