Rekindle your love of all-things-wine at Raffaldini Vineyard & Winery, a 102-acre Tuscan-Style estate in the unspoiled countryside of Wilkes County – surrounded by rolling hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains looming in the background. Raffaldini is part of the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail, just one of more than 50 wineries within an hours drive from Wilkesboro, but if I had to choose just one, this is my pick.
This may be one of North Carolina’s best kept secrets and a wine lover’s paradise. The vineyard sits at 1300 feet elevation, almost identical to Tuscany itself, easing the growth of certain varieties of grapes. The villa itself is a feast for the eyes and the wine it produces, a feast for your other senses. We opted for the wine tasting and vineyard experience, which was more than a mere sip’n’go. After the 9th wine, I had almost forgotten all the relevant and very useful information Brandy shared during the tasting (thank goodness for video).
I personally am not the savviest drinker and did not actually know much about wines. The best little tidbit of information I gathered was when Brandy explained the bumblebee on the Grande Riserva wine bottle. “Bumblebees are not supposed to be able to fly due to physics, their wings are actually smaller than their body, in North Carolina, we are not supposed to be able to grow big, heavy bold reds, but that is what we do here”. See, all this new-found knowledge could have escaped my tipsy brain had it not been for the 64GB card I bought for my handy-dandy phone (btw, I used 90% of that space during my trip with over 1600 photos and videos), ok I digress, back to wine and grapes and vineyards and scenery.
Once we were done with the tasting, which included 9 different wines, crackers, cheese and salami, we headed out to explore beyond the glass, to traverse through countless rows of planted vines, over 150,000 (ok, so someone has counted them). The day was crisp and a cool 61 degrees, sunny and perfect to wander and taste some of the grapes still on the vine, which Bella got to do – seed and all, she devoured an entire bunch. And now she says she is going to be a zookeeper and a winemaker, hmm…?
Once we took the needed (aka mandatory) Instagram photos, we were free to be silly, or serious, you choose. I chose to wander freely on the grounds… no, I did not leave Bella alone and unattended, she was with Tony and Jodi (whom made all this possible – more details on that at the end). While Bella and Jodi talked about bird species and Tony basked in the sun and the vistas, I literally skipped around the property making my way to their Certified Wildlife Habitat. Once there I lost track of time, I may have dozed off (remember the wine tasting that mellowed me out)? There are 2 soothing water features, tons of rose bushes, plants and other flowers, this natural beauty squeezed in by the man-made structures around, but with an essence of being tucked away in a forest.
Once I had my fill, I went to regroup with my travel posse… only because we were headed hiking and flying out that same evening. Did someone say hiking after a vineyard tour and wine tasting – “uhuh”… wouldn’t have it any other way.
It seems that Tony struck up a conversation with some folks visiting from the High Country, some Miamians nonetheless, while Bella and Jodi identified a whole additional singular bird from the book :). We said our good byes and headed to the car, but not before getting a picture with Jodi Tonsic.
Jodi is the one-woman-show for the Wilkesboro Tourism Development Authority and she put on a serious itinerary for our trip, and she knew a little too much about this vineyard and it’s wines, LOL.. I know we were not the first bloggers she has brought here.. but definitely the most fun. It had been about 7 years since I had visited Raffaldini, and thrilled she added this to our itinerary, for the wine has improved 100 fold and I love it even amore. 😉