Each of the wineries in the Yadkin Valley are unique, but a farm full of furry four-legged friends makes one place in East Bend extra special. Divine Llama Vineyards is more than just a clever name and a cute logo, the farm is actually home to around 60 llamas, including several baby llamas born this spring.
Divine Llama is owned by the Hughes and West families. Co-owners Mike and Patricia West have been raising llamas for around 15 years now. The llamas compete in several shows each year.
During the wineries regular weekend hours, visitors are invited to walk around the property and spend time with these adorable creatures, something that is a big hit especially for first-time guests.
Tasting Room Manager Dana Dalton said the wines of Divine Llama are greatly enjoyed by guests, but the llamas are also a pretty big draw.
“We’ve evolved into a day-trip destination for people from all over the state and most of them love wine, but definitely the llamas are a part of that,” Dalton said. “Everybody’s curious about them.”
When new baby llamas are born and the photos are posted to Divine Llama’s social media accounts, Dalton said people just go crazy over them.
Several times a year the winery also hosts special events called Llama Treks where participants enjoy a short hike with their very own llama in tow carrying along a picnic lunch and, of course, some wine.
“Those are crazy popular,” Dalton said.
A newer event that is being hosted at Divine Llama is the Gray Door Market, which features a number of antique and vintage item vendors as well as food trucks. The winery has hosted the event twice and both were very successful. The next Gray Door Market is slated for Sept. 16.
The Tour de Llama, a 30- or 60-mile fundraising bike ride benefiting Samaritan Ministries, is another highly anticipated event each summer. This year’s event took place in June. Dalton said there are typically 100 cyclists or more who participate in the ride and spend the day enjoying wine, food, live music and even the chance to vote on names for the new baby llamas.
The llama theme doesn’t end once inside the tasting room. A number of the wines at Divine Llama are named in honor of some of the farm’s llamas such as Red Rita Rosé and Mustang Sally. In A Heartbeat, a semi-dry red blend, also is named after one of the llamas and Dalton said it was one of the top sellers.
Merlina is the name of one of the new baby llamas and also the name of a newer blackberry merlot wine that has become very popular, Dalton said.
Dalton said they also were excited to be releasing a new version of their traminette soon. It is a semi-sweet wine that has been sweetened with the remaining grape juice rather than by adding residual sugar as is traditionally done to sweeten wines.
“It pairs well with spicy food,” Dalton added.
Divine Llama is located at 5349 Macedonia Road in East Bend. Its hours are Friday and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Divine Llama Vineyards on Facebook, Instagram or www.divinellamavineyards.com.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @onthevinemag.