Tobacco fields once dominated Yadkin Valley, a swath of northwestern North Carolina that sweeps through seven counties from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the edge of the Piedmont region. But today those fields are being replaced by vineyards. In 2003, the federal government designated Yadkin Valley an American Viticulture Area, meaning the majority of grapes used to make wine in this region must be grown in the area. About 70 percent of the grapes used by wineries in the Yadkin Valley area are French vinifera; muscadines make up most of the rest.
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Side trip to Mount Airy
While in Yadkin Valley, fans of “The Andy Griffth Show” will want to made a side trip to Mount Airy, the basis for the fictional town of Mayberry. Mount Airy is an interesting case of art imitating life and vice versa. While the town inspired many of the show’s businesses, the fictionalized landmarks created by the program’s writers have now come to life in Mount Airy. Visitors can get their hair cut at Floyd’s Barber Shop, nosh on a pork chop sandwich at the Blue Bird Diner and step inside the Mayberry Courthouse. For $35 per carload guests can get a custom tour of the town’s sites in a replica Mayberry squad car. The Andy Griffith Museum features artifacts and memorabilia related to the show, and Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou on the series, signs autographs there the last Friday afternoon of every month. Fans can stay overnight at the Andy Griffith Homeplace, the actor’s childhood home. Rates for the two-bedroom bungalow, operated by the Hampton Inn, are $175-$200. The town plays host to Mayberry Days, an annual festival, Sept. 26-29, when former cast members and lookalikes mill around town. And wine lovers need not fret. Uncorked in Mayberry is a tasting room and wine bar serving a variety of wines from the region. For details, go to www.visitmayberry.com.
If You Go
Yadkin Valley is about a 285-mile drive northeast of Atlanta.
Shelton Vineyards. 286 Cabernet Lane, Dobson, N.C. 336-366-4724, www.sheltonvineyards.com
Carolina Heritage Vineyard and Winery. 170 Heritage Vines Way, Elkin, N.C. 336-366-3301, www.carolinaheritagevineyards.com
Yadkin River Wine Trail. www.yadkinriverwinetrail.com
Childress Vineyards. 1000 Childress Vineyards Road, Lexington, N.C. 336-236-9463, www.childressvineyards.com
Go to www.yadkinvalleywineries.com.