A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about visiting local breweries. At the risk of coming across as a lush, this post is going to focus on more ways to get cheap booze.
Now, the explosion of wineries across the county is somewhat interesting to me, and in some ways, a bit sad, knowing that one reason for their appearance is the failure of farms. In states like North Carolina, wineries are popping up where tobacco fields once thrived (ok, not too sad about the fail of big tobacco). You'll find wineries in the most unlikely of places, and based on the brief "research" I've done, in every single state, including Alaska and Hawaii (wasn't a huge fan of their pineapple wine).
North Carolina has, I am told, a pretty impressive wine country, west of Greensboro, toward the mountains. Head to the Visit NC site to view an interactive map of NC wineries.
While you could make the drive west to get your wine fix, there are a few wineries and wine shops closer to home, which offer free or inexpensive tastings and tours.
Vineyards At Southpoint - 8913 N.C. Highway 751, Durham
Located beyond Durham city limits, a few miles south of Southpoint Mall
Tours and Tastings - Friday-Sunday noon-5:00 p.m.
$5, includes souvenir wine glass
Visit this weekend, October 28th and 29th, for the vineyard's grand opening party. Enjoy FREE wine tastings, food samples, and live music.
Chatham Hill Winery - 3800 Gateway Centre Blvd., Morrisville
Billed as an urban winery, near the airport, located just off I-40
Tours and Tastings - see schedule
$8 tasting, $10 includes tour (not cheap, but think of it as a few hours of entertainment)
Wine Authorities - 2501 University Drive, Durham
A unique wine shop owned by one of the men who also gave us the downtown gem, Bull City Burger and Brewery.
A quote from their mission statement:
"Focus on bringing user-friendly technology to the world of wine, and fun creativity to displays and merchandising. Customers can view, rate and leave notes on all of their purchases using our website, wineauthorities.com. All of this including color label shots and our colorful descriptions are found under the tab "My Cellar". Our Enomatics allow customers to sample or drink a wide selection of wine anytime the store is open. WATV, from our website, allows our farmer/winemakers to tell you their story in the form of short, stream-able videos."
FREE tastings every Sunday from 12:00-3:00 p.m.
Hope Valley Bottle Shop - 4711 Hope Valley Road Suite 4E, Durham
FREE tastings every Saturday from 4:30-7:00 p.m.
3 Cups - 227 S. Elliot Rd., Chapel Hill (near Southern Season)
FREE tastings every Saturday from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Keep an eye on their events calendar for other FREE tasting events, which are often accompanied by local food trucks.
Chapel Hill Wine Company - 2809 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill
FREE tastings every Thursday from 5:00-7:00 p.m., also first Fridays of each month