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Be a Sommelier for the Day

If you're looking for your next great glass and the pointers to properly appreciate it, here's where to start.

By Lauren Levine

You don’t have to trek out to Napa Valley to swirl and swish your way to a new favorite wine. With powerhouse vineyards churning out flavor profiles ranging from oaky to sweet, and the Charlotte wine scene becoming increasingly more robust, there’s never been a better time to be an aspiring sommelier in the Queen City. If you’re looking for your next great glass and the pointers to properly appreciate it, here’s where to start.

Take tasting to new heights at Treehouse Vineyards

Located on a 200-year-old family farm, Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe, just 40 minutes from Center City Charlotte, produces cabernet sauvignon, merlot and several award-winning native muscadine wines, to name a few. The vineyard is true to its moniker and offers the opportunity to rent a treehouse for an overnight stay or just for the afternoon. Reliving beloved childhood memories as you sip on your favorite adult beverage? Sounds like the ideal juxtaposition.

Appreciate award-winning wines at Childress Vineyards

At the helm of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, Childress Vineyards in quaint Lexington, located less than an hour from Charlotte, features more than 30 types of wine for your tasting pleasure. The vineyard has claimed more than 750 awards since opening in 2004, making it a must-visit destination for vino enthusiasts in the Southeast.  

Celebrate the harvest at Shelton Vineyards

The soil and climate that surrounds Shelton Vineyards is reminiscent of the wine-growing utopias found in parts of Europe. The blends coming out of this spot nestled in the town of Dodson, less than two hours from Charlotte, are a treat for your palate. Plan a pilgrimage during the vineyard’s Harvest Festival, scheduled for Oct. 15 and 16. Enjoy live music, a grape stomping demonstration, free tours and more. The Harvest Grill restaurant features a menu packed with seasonal local ingredients that pair perfectly with your new favorite varietal.  

Three to See

  • Toast to a great cause

The South End Wine Festival, which beckons wine connoisseurs to mix and mingle on Oct. 15, lets you sample the best offerings from 25 vineyards. Tickets are $35 or $10 for designated drivers. Proceeds from the event benefit Classroom Central, which helps provide students in the area with the materials they need to learn effectively.

  • Learn from the experts

Arthur’s Restaurant & Wine Shop, located on the main floor of Belk at SouthPark Mall, is a Charlotte institution. It was founded in 1972 as just a wine shop and began selling sandwiches to the employees of what was then Ivey’s department store to help pay the bills. Today, Arthur’s offers classes to expand your wine repertoire. They’re perfect for prepping for a wine-tasting trip or if you just want to be able to order at a nice restaurant without pointing at the list and saying, “That one.”

  • Enjoy post-work pours

When you’re in the mood for a post-work glass but would like to avoid the loud happy hour crowd, an elegant wine bar is ideal. Cork Buzz Restaurant & Wine Bar in South Park is home to an extensive wine list and an artfully designed interior that belongs in a magazine. Foxcroft Wine Co. in Dilworth also has a bottle or glass to suit your budget and your taste. Don’t skip the truffle fries while you’re there or you’ll regret it. The Wine Loft in South End is perfectly intimate and ideal for an upscale ladies’ night out or a date night.

This article ran in the October 2016 issue of Charlotte Happenings.

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