After months of saving, planning, and packing, you're finally ready to embark on your vacation to North Carolina's beautiful Outer Banks. You have the itinerary memorized - days and day of play on the beach, with maybe an excursion to the Currituck Beach lighthouse or the Wright Brothers memorial in Kitty Hawk. The trip promises to be wonderful, but if you are a fan of the grape it could be enhanced with tours of area wineries. Yes, wine is made in the Outer Banks.
One might never expect this area to be associated with good wine, but if you plan ahead you will be able not only to enlighten your palate during a vineyard tour, but perhaps join the locals and other wine aficianados for an evening of tasting, food, and fun. Consider these additional stops on your tour of the Outer Banks. Moonrise Bay Winery Set against the calm waters of the bay in Knotts Island, Moonrise Bay has produced a number of tasty vintages since the turn of the century. Here visitors are offered a selection of dry reds and whites, and sweet whites from the ever popular Muscadine.
Among the wines available are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Norton, Syrah, Chambourcin, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Tours run daily from noon to five, or by special appointment. Sanctuary Vineyards If you are visiting from out of state, best to buy your Sanctuary wine here, as they only ship to North Carolina and Virginia. Sanctuary not only offers wine from other area vineyards, but also sells unique blends under their own label. If you enjoy full-bodied blended reds with a peppery finish, or perhaps a semi-dry combination of Chardonnay and Sangiovese with a sweet finish, find sanctuary in a tour of this vineyard.
Martin Vineyards The sandy soil of Knotts Island produces great wine, and at Martin Vineyards one will find acres of Muscadines waiting to be picked. In addition to a variety of dry and sweet table wines, guests at the vineyard may also pick seasonal fruits from the surrounding orchards. July is especially welcoming, since the vineyards hosts the annual Knotts Island Peach Festival.
Bring the family for a picnic by the sea. Mother Vineyard Like a bit of mystery with your wine? Well, more than likely you won't find anything to sample at the Mother Vineyard, because the vines are on private property, yet visitors flock to this area near Manteo anyway if only to catch a glimpse of the oldest grapevines in North Carolina. It isn't known who planted these vines, believed to be over 400 years old, but the sheer enormity and thickness of the vines (to say nothing of the sweet Muscadine grapes growing from them) always leaves visitors in awe, and thirsty! A vacation in the Outer Banks is wonderful, yet one enhanced by tours of area wineries adds a sweetness one is certain to savor.
Kathryn Lively writes for Currituck County Department of Travel and Tourism.