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It has been years now, but it seems just like yesterday that my in-laws came to visit Shelton Vineyards with a group of friends from Durham. They came out to the Yadkin Valley to see what was happening here in the rolling hills of Dobson. They were a group of foodies who loved North Carolina, Duke, great food, and wine. Especially wine. So about five car loads came out and we joined in on their caravan through the area vineyards. Our last stop that day was at Shelton Vineyards, where after our tastings and subsequent purchases, we feasted on gourmet items that were packed away in coolers since early that morning. There was a lot of clinking of glasses and popping of corks that afternoon. A wonderful time for some late 50 and early 60 year olds that were just having fun enjoying their new found empty nest lifestyles.
The vineyard was established and continues to be guided by Charlie and Ed Shelton. They also have their family involved in the day-to-day operations of the vineyards and winery. Family is important to them, and it is reflected in their premium wine collection called Two-Five-Nine that represents Charlie and Ed's "Two families, Five Children, and Nine grandchildren". Two wines from the Shelton Vineyards were recently reviewed by the prestigious James Suckling Group, and they received a 90 for their 2006 Port, and a 91 for the Two-Five-Nine 2013 Tannat. The price point on those two wines will silence people who think NC Wines over priced.
Shelton Vineyards has about 200 acres of vines and is located in Dobson, just a few minutes off of Highway 77. They have a very large tasting room where you have options for flights of wines to taste and/or shop for other wine related fun items. Once you've got your favorite wine picked out, you can buy a glass or a bottle and take it with you to picnic on the grounds. There are walking paths around the meticulously manicured grounds for you to enjoy and take in the beauty of this agricultural farm. There's also a pavilion for events, like the upcoming Sunset Concert Series with Band of Oz on Friday September 16th.
And if you don't plan to pack a meal for your picnic, don't worry. There is an outstanding restaurant at the vineyard. The Harvest Grill was just recognized by USA Today as the #4 of the Top 10 Best Winery Restaurants in the country. So after you finish your tasting, you can stroll right over to the restaurant and order your meal and gaze out on the vineyard. It's especially nice to be there in the fall through winter with the fireplace roaring, enjoying a red wine and my seasonal favorite, duck confit, along with the harvest colors outside. And of course when it is hot and humid other times of the year, I love the option of having air conditioning!
Shelton Vineyards continues to impress. If you haven't been in a while, get back to see them and
try their wines again. You'll discover how committed they are to quality and helping to improve the whole North Carolina Wine industry. For those of us who get there on a regular basis, just make sure to leave us a little room at the tasting bar. Because even though we think we know what is our favorite bottle, a wine flight can always help you discover new vintages and varietals to invite into the wine cellar.