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Stanly County Vineyards

Viticulture is the Name, Winemaking is the Game

A new way of farming has emerged in Stanly County. The fertile soil and mild climate of the Uwharries are perfect for viticulture and winemaking. The various local vineyards range in size from small patches, to dozens of acres.

“I call it extreme farming,” says Chad Andrews of Uwharrie Vineyards, who, with partner David Braswell, opened his 84-acre farm in 2005. “Winemaking is a romantic notion, but it’s very hard work.” But for Andrews it is a dream come true, and he’ll gladly help the visitors choose a wine, make up a basket, or give a grand tour of his operation.

Uwharrie Vineyards has a visitor complex with a wine tasting bar, a gift shop, a tank room, and a state-of-the-art meeting facility. It has certification as an Audubon sanctuary and is host to gangs of wild turkeys, herds of deer, and flocks of bluebirds.

A few miles to the east, birds flock around the boxes set out by vintner Ken Furr on the porch of Stony Mountain Vineyards. Sitting high above rows of vines that march down a rocky hillside, his porch has one of the most spectacular views in the county. Below it the Pee Dee River meanders through a lush valley as the hazy blue Uwharrie Mountains rise beyond.

Furr and his wife Marie opened their business in 1996 on 62 acres near Morrow Mountain State Park. Wines range from Chardonnay to Riesling, Syrah to Merlot and include home-grown fruit wines, a delicious addition to any dessert. “We’re a small family operation,” says Furr. “We’re a boutique winery like many in Europe.”

On the opposite side of the county, another family winery produces wines from the native Muscadine grape. Starting with 200 vines in 1997, the Dennis family began selling their wine in 1998 and promptly sold out. “It was word-of-mouth,” says Sandon Dennis, whose family has farmed this land for generations. Today, sales from Dennis Vineyards are through wine festivals, regional shows, and a thriving mail order business, as well as on site. The winery includes a spacious events building and a gift shop.

Yet another thriving family winery can be found on the western edge of the county. Begun in 2003, Rocky River Vineyards is owned by David Elliot, his wife Dwan, and mother Sara. Other family members work in this vineyard, which offers a variety of wines and is a popular venue for weddings and banquets. Although technology has produced an efficient grape-pressing method, fans can come out at harvest time to take part in an old-fashioned grape stomping.

Outside Stanly County, but definitely a not-to-be-missed part of the wine trail, Old Stone Winery has been hand-crafting award winning wines since 2002. Located just outside Salisbury and less than an hour from Charlotte, the winery features a gift shop, tasting bar, and tank room. Recently purchased by Darin and Naomi Griffin, the 130-acre estate currently has 20 acres of Muscadine grapes and is an exclusive source of European vinifera grapes.

From rolling hills to steep Uwharrie Mountain hillsides, the area’s wines are as varied as the terrain from which they grow. Come and taste for yourself the product of Stanly County’s newest way of farming.

Vineyard Address Phone Hours
Dennis Vineyards Winery 24043 Endy Rd.
Albemarle, NC 28001
704.982.6090 Mon- Sat 10am-6pm
Sun 1pm-6pm
Stony Mountain Vineyards & Winery  26370 Mountain Ridge Rd.
Albemarle, NC 28001
 704.982.0922 Tue-Sat 10am-6pm
Uwharrie Vineyards & Winery 28014 Austin Rd.
Albemarle, NC 28001
704.982.9463 Tue-Fri 10am-6pm
Sat 9am-6pm
Sun 12pm-5pm
Rocky River Vineyards 11685 Reed Mine Rd.
Midland, NC 28107
704.860.4997 Tue-Sat 10am-6pm
Sun 1pm-6pm
Morgan Ridge Vineyard 486 John Morgan Road
Gold Hill, NC 28071
704.639.0911 Wed-Sun 11am-7pm
Old Stone Vineyard & Winery 6245 Hwy 52
Salisbury, NC 28146
704.279.0903 Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm
Sun 1pm-5pm