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Wine

Raffaldini Vineyards

A few weekends ago my husband and I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon doing a wine and cheese tasting with some friends. One of our stops was Raffaldini. I have to say that this winery boasts the most beautiful view of any in the Yadkin Valley.

It’s likely quite a shock for first time visitors. You find yourself in what seems to be the middle of nowhere in a little corner of Wilkes County. You drive up a gravel road and at the end of it, an Italian villa awaits. You walk through a lovely garden pathway, pass a little fish pond and round the corner of the villa. There you catch a glimpse of the vineyard with a most stunning view of the mountains in the distance.

This vineyard is well-known for its wines as well its scenic views. They frequently have weddings here. Here are a few gorgeous shots from my friend Mary’s wedding.

And now, to the wines! Raffaldini is the only vineyard in our region that produces solely Italian style wines. On our last visit, our tasting host Mikaela described some of the unique processes that are used to produce the wines. The grapes used in the 2013 Montepulciano Riserva are dried slightly before being processed. This is called appassimento, Mikaela explained, and is meant to replicate the drier conditions these grapes actually grow in in Italy.

The Montepulciano Riserva was definitely one of my favorites as was their blend known as Bella Misto. Mikaela suggested pairing the Montepulciano Riserva with a dark chocolate.

Raffaldini boasts a wonderful patio area with fantastic view of the vineyard and mountains beyond. It is definitely a must see if you are planning a visit to the Yadkin Valley Wine Region.

The Lush's Blush blog
Wine tasting with a dear friend at Raffaldini a few summers ago.

 

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Wedding

Vineyard weddings in the Yadkin Valley

I am extremely proud of the beautiful Yadkin Valley Wine Region I call home. I got married an one of our area vineyards, RagApple Lassie, and it was a magical experience. If you are in North Carolina and considering a wedding venue, one of our state wineries or vineyards is a lovely choice. Below is a piece I wrote for On The Vine magazine.


 

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Bridal portrait by Rod Hunter

The busy holiday season is over, but for many couples, excitement is building anew as they plan to start their lives together. The holiday season is one of the most popular times of the year for engagements and so as a new year begins, many are planning for that special day — their wedding day.

Following the all-important dress decision, the ceremony and reception location is one of the biggest decisions for a couple. Many of the wineries and vineyards of the Yadkin Valley play host to multiple weddings a year. Couples may choose to have their wedding and/or reception at a winery for various reasons, but most, said winery owner Lenna Hobson, love the atmosphere of a winery or vineyard.

“There’s a romance and a mystique attached to wineries and that’s part of what helps

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Mary and Blake Johnson at Raffaldini Vineyards | Ron Day Photography

to bring people to the Yadkin Valley,” Hobson said. Hobson and her husband Frank are the owners of RagApple Lassie Vineyard and Winery in Boonville.

“It’s romance, pure and simple. It’s a centuries old mystique that weddings and love and romance pairs with perfectly,” Hobson said.

While some of the couples who have been married at RagApple Lassie found the location by happenstance, Hobson said many have a connection with the winery in some way. Several couples got engaged at the winery and returned to have their wedding or reception there. Hobson said they often return every year to celebrate their anniversary at the winery as well.

When a unique building adjacent to their property became available a few years ago, the owners of Hanover Park in Yadkinville added on a special space just for weddings and other events. Amy Helton, who owns the winery along with her husband, said the new space has been a big hit with brides. Having a space separate from their winery tasting room also allows a lot of flexibility for couples to decorate and prepare their space in advance of the ceremony or reception.

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Jennifer K. Photography

Helton said couples who have been married at Hanover Park have been from all across the state of North Carolina and some from out of state as well. The unique setting of the vineyard provides a scenic place for a couple’s special day.

Those scenic views showcasing the beauty of nature get in the blood for some, including Jennifer and Nick White. In October of 2008, the couple said their “I dos” at Elkin Creek Vineyard where they became friends with the owner. Now, the couple, along with their friends Louis and Carrie Jeroslow, own the vineyard.

“Elkin Creek Vineyard speaks to couples who are looking for a wedding venue that

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showcases nature, is secluded, but is not remote or hard to get to,” said Louis Jeroslow. “The site of a Historic Grist Mill built in 1896, our special location features two creeks flowing through the property. One of our most sacred and symbolic places at Elkin Creek Vineyard is where the two creeks join together to form one. This extraordinary setting can host very intimate ceremonies and larger-scale celebrations.

“Elkin Creek Vineyard embodies the elegant-rustic qualities that are now so highly sought after,” Jeroslow added. “We have worked very hard to create wedding packages that are completely scalable to the size needed. We often provide an all-inclusive wedding experience to private elopements and can also host weddings up to well over 100 guests. The flexibility and personal touches are what really attract couples to want to have their wedding here.”

Local wedding photographer Jennifer Kleinheksel has photographed multiple weddings at Elkin Creek and other area vineyards. She said a vineyard setting for a wedding makes for beautiful images which will be treasured for years to come.

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Jennifer K. Photography

“I love photographing weddings at our area vineyards and wineries because I get to be a part of one of the most important days in someone’s life and at a beautiful location,” Kleinheksel said. “There is so much love and joy that is part of the day and it is a true honor to be the one to capture it all. It is my job to not just be taking photographs of the day, but to actually capture the essence and feelings that the couple felt so that every time they look back at their images, they will be able to relive and feel those feelings all over again.”

For couples looking to tie the knot at a Yadkin Valley vineyard, the best place to start is visiting area vineyards to get a feel for the setting. Most area vineyards also have information available on their websites or by contacting the location regarding wedding and reception options.

Wedding photos courtesy of Rod Hunter, Ron Day and Jennifer K. Photography