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Dennis Vineyards

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 19, 2009

Since we had the family in town, we thought we would go check out some of what North Carolina had to offer.  We really hadn’t taken the time to go see any of the NC vineyards, yet, so we found a couple that were reasonably close and popped out for the afternoon.
24042 Endy Road
Albemarle, NC
Tour cost:  $4
The first place we came to was Dennis Vineyards in Albemarle, NC.  We arrived around 1:15 pm, and were dismayed to hear that they have two tours a day on the weekends; 11 and 3.  It was 1:45 until the next tour, and the tasting room was not large enough to keep us occupied for that length of time.  I was beginning to think maybe we hadn’t thought this vineyard thing through.  
While we were discussing what our options were, a young lady came out and asked if we wanted a tour.  We said yes, and she said that normally they didn’t do tours at off hours, so the vintner had time to get some things done, but if she asked nicely, maybe he’d squeeze us in.  She came back in about two minutes and said that he’d be right out. 
Well, the head vintner, Sandon Dennis, came out to give us the tour.  He was awesome.  His excitement for his trade was evident.  I knew, academically, how wine was made, and knew it was far more complicated than “Pick ’em, squeeze ’em, rest ’em, and drink up.”  Sandon answered all our questions, showed us his entire operation, and candidly discussed how each process worked.   It was nice to see such a personal touch throughout the tour.  We were impressed how a weekend hobby had expanded into a quarter-million bottle (annually) operation.    
After our tour, which included a look at some parts of the vineyard not included on the “normal” tour, we went to the tasting room.  We were able to taste every wine we wanted while we were there.  They primarily deal in the varieties of grapes that grow in North Carolina, so their wines are sweeter than the traditional European wines, and also include a couple fruit wines (blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc.).  
In addition to the wide variety of wines, the wines were highly decorated with awards from competitions from throughout the southeast.

If you have an opportunity to check out the vineyard, make a short afternoon of it, and try a tour and tasting.

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