My beautiful cousin, Shelby recently turned 21 and decided to celebrate with a family girls trip to a local vineyard for some lunch, wine tasting, and a tour. We settled on Childress Vineyards as it was the halfway point between the Charlotte, NC crew and the Kernersville, NC crew.
Now let me make one thing clear, I am not a wine connoisseur by any means. I honestly wouldn't know "good" wine from "bad" wine, and my palate is really only good for a moscato or chardonnay, but I wasn't going to pass up a chance to check out a local winery and spend some time with my fam.
Childress Vineyards is owned and operated by former NASCAR racer, Richard Childress and located in Lexington, NC. Opening its doors in 2004, this 72 acre winery has grown not only physically but also in reputation. With over 900 awards under its belt for it's stellar wines, Childress has really earned a name for itself among the wine community not only in North Carolina, but across the nation. We had the opportunity to run into Mr. Childress himself, and he is just as nice in person as everyone has raved.
We started off our time at Childress with lunch in the outside pavilion. A 9,000 square foot covered patio with plenty of seats, a small lunch menu to choose from, and of course, WINE. We picked a table, enjoyed our lunch (y'all gotta try the mac and cheese bites, so good!), and soaked in the surrounding beauty of the farmland all to the easy going background of a local live performer.
Next up, tour! Tours are every hour on the hour and last roughly 25 minutes. Tours start off in the lobby and show visitors briefly around the grounds outside pointing out the acreage & the pavilion before making its way down to the machinery. Our tour guide, Joann, explained the process of picking and converting the precious grapes into the wine we all know and love as well as the difference between the preparation in white versus red wine. I'm not gonna lie, alot of this process went over my head and alot of technical terms were thrown out but it was still cool to see all the big machinery and get even a tiny glimpse into the complex process of wine making. Next we were lead inside to the large vats where the various wines would ferment and go through all sorts of other processes which I really am not qualified to write about, before being barreled or bottled. As we came during the off season, we weren't able to see the bottling process first hand but if interested, head over between August and October to check it out!
Lastly, the tasting! You have two options for wine tastings depending on which types of wine you enjoy. Pick and purchase your tasting at the gift shop counter, and mosey on over to the bar. A knowledgeable and friendly bar tender will take your slip and begin. Our bartender, Olga, was great! She expertly poured our selections, educating us on the various flavors as well as how best to enjoy it (with what kind of foods, temperature, etc). We were provided pencils to keep track on our wine tasting list of which wines we enjoyed, and which we didn't care for.
Overall it was a fun trip (but honestly, what trip involving wine wouldn't be fun?!) and I would definitely recommend a day trip to check it out!
Find more information about special events and hours of operation on the Childress Vineyard website here.