GET THERE: SWAN CREEK WINE TRAIL

Boasting “six wineries only five miles apart,” the Swan Creek Wine Trail is an hour west of Greensboro, straddling I-77 North. The Brushys and Blue Ridge mountain ranges are partially responsible for breezes that keep this growing region a bit cooler than the surrounding Yadkin Valley wine region.

GEEK OUT

Swan Creek is a federally-designated American Viticultural Area (AVA)– one of only five in North Carolina. Its loamy soils and slightly cooler temperatures set it apart from surrounding grape growing areas. It is distinctive enough to merit its own AVA designation.

WHAT’S GROWING

European vinifera: Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rielsing to name a few. Visitors will also find hybrids: Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin and Traminette. Wines are crafted dry and off-dry.

A LITTLE PIECE OF ITALY

The Swan Creek AVA is also distinctive for hosting two adjacent Italian-styled wineries — Piccione and Raffaldini. Both produce Sangiovese, Vermentino, Montepulciano, and Pinot Grigio. What’s unique in North Carolina? Piccione offers a Nero and Raffaldini produces a Sagrantino.

HIGH SPIRITS

Windsor Run Cellars hosts a distillery and produces fortified wines from Traminette and Chambourcin grapes. It’s sister winery a few yards down the road is Shadow Springs, known for tasty Petit Verdot, Viognier and Valvin Muscat.

IN THE MIX

Try Dobbins Creek’s Dry Riesling and Laurel Gray’s Viognier and Cabernet Franc.

SEE & DO

No trip to the Hamptonville area is complete without visiting the Shiloh General Store (5520 Saint Paul Church Road) — a bakery and deli run by the Amish who reside in this community. This old-school mercantile — with its sights and smells — is like stepping back in time.

Ed Williams, Alamance Community College marketing director, is a nut for Amish nut butters.

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Ed Williams, Alamance Community College marketing director, is a nut for Amish Nut butters. He thinks the breads and cheeses go well with any wines you choose in Swan Creek.

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