DOBSON — A new trail makes it easier for visitors to navigate their way through the heart of North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley wine country.
The Surry County Wine Trail debuted in January with a full-color brochure map highlighting 15 wineries in and around Surry County, along with five breweries and distilleries. The map simplifies the experience of spending a day or two tasting wines and touring vineyards.
“We’ve heard for years there is not one brochure or map that provides a comprehensive list of wineries in and around our county,” said Jessica Roberts, executive director of the Tourism Partnership of Surry County. “That was the main reason for creating the trail. Visitors still want a hand-held brochure as a navigational guide to give them a general idea of where they’re going.”
The map gives a good geographical overview of all 13 wineries in Surry County, as well as two wineries just outside the county that work closely with their Surry counterparts. It has addresses for use in GPS devices, as well as phone numbers and websites for all stops on the trail.
The trail brochure details the varieties of grapes grown in the Yadkin Valley, along with information about lodging in wine country and a listing of annual events.
“Our tourism partners, including wineries, breweries, distilleries and lodging partners, like having a brochure to give visitors to help them navigate,” Roberts said. “Sometimes it is hard to find all the wineries — or even realize all the wineries — we have in the county.”
Surry County wineries have a tradition of sending visitors to neighboring wineries, which is now much easier thanks to the trail map.
“Maybe people came to see us because of a recommendation from one of our neighbors, and then we’ll recommend another neighbor,” said Tim Wahl, winemaker and co-owner of Adagio Vineyards in Elkin. “That’s something you don’t always get in other states, where there can be an hour between wineries. People really like to visit three or four within a day.”
Wahl likes the fact that visitors receive an up-close and personal experience while visiting wineries in Surry County.
“The personal stories behind the wineries are interesting,” Wahl said. “We try to be there in person to give them a tour of the production facility and go through, step by step, how we make the wines and let them know why our wineries are unique.”
This year marks a 15-year milestone for the Yadkin Valley. It became North Carolina’s first federally-designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2003 thanks to the efforts of owners Charlie and Ed Shelton of Shelton Vineyards in Surry County.
“We are proud to be the birthplace of the Yadkin Valley AVA, and this is an exciting time to launch the wine trail and have this brochure available,” Roberts said. To request a free map by mail, or to download a copy, visit www.YadkinValleyNC.com.
Craig Distl assists with marketing for the Surry County Tourism Partnership.