Iron Gate Vineyards – Mebane, NC

What’s not to love about a good winery? My mom and I love finding new wine tours/tastings – it’s so much fun to explore the beautiful properties, hear the stories (I find winery owners almost always have a good story!), and of course… try a few wines 🙂

When we were looking for something fun to do over Labor Day weekend, we decided to take a little drive to visit Iron Gate Vineyards in Mebane, NC.

I went to college not far from Mebane, but only knew of the outlets – I wish I had discovered Iron Gate while I was still in school! The winery is located on beautiful farmland not too far from the highway and it is well worth the drive (about an hour from Raleigh).

Iron Gate Vineyards

Iron Gate Vineyards

When we arrived, we joined a tasting/tour that had already started (instead of waiting another hour for the next tour). The woman who gave the tasting was wonderful. She was extremely knowledgeable about the wines and oozed Southern hospitality. We tried several wines (at least 12) in about 40 minutes or so – you can’t beat that for $5! She gave a brief tour at the end… not much to see, but still fun. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the holiday blend that was almost ready to go… it smelled like Christmas in that room – amazing!


After the tasting, we settled in for the “Music in the Courtyard” which they offer every Sunday afternoon in the late summer/early fall. The outside “courtyard” is really what makes Iron Gate so special – the whimsical outdoor area has ample seating of all kinds (rocking chairs on the porch, cute Adirondack chairs with umbrellas, and a large covered area with fun lights). Mom and I found 2 rocking chairs on the charming front porch and settled in. DSC_0386


It was a hot, hot day – but the front porch had fans and we made the best of it. The live music was amazing and the outdoor area provided the perfect ambiance.

Everyone there seemed to be “regulars” and we clearly weren’t prepared. I highly recommend bringing a picnic lunch, buying a glass (or bottle – they have both) of wine, and making an afternoon of it. The music runs 2-3 hours and if we had food with us, we definitely would have stayed into the evening. There is nothing quite like rocking away on the front porch and listening to amazing music on a beautiful day out in the country.

Iron Gate Farms

Since we didn’t bring food, mom and I hung out for about an hour after our tasting and then headed out. I wish we could have explored the grounds a little bit more, but the owner was extremely stressed (rightfully so – the air conditioning broke that morning!) and didn’t seem interested in showing us the property.

Overall, we had a great afternoon at Iron Gate and hope to go back this fall with a picnic lunch (maybe some pasta salad?). The ambiance at Iron Gate is hard to beat on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and they have some great wines. I highly recommend their Sauvignon Blanc – it was one of the best wines I’ve ever had (and I’m pretty picky!) and part of the proceeds from my purchase went to the Conservators’ Center… win, win!

Information post :Types of Espresso Machines

Are you looking for a new Espresso machine for yourself? An ardent coffee lover will tell you how delightful an espresso is when you are feeling stressed or tired but buying an espresso every day could prove to be hectic and could burn a hole in your pocket. So, the better thing to do here would be to buy an espresso machine for yourself.

There are several types of Espresso machines that you can consider based on your needs and requirements.

Manual Espresso Machines

As the name suggests, in this type of espresso machines, the user needs to perform all the tasks manually which includes grinding coffee, applying water pressure, handling the amount of water being dispensed and so on. This type of espresso machine is a little more hard work than the other types as you have to take care of everything to get a quality cup of espresso. With this espresso machine, you need to be quite trained to produce a consistently delicious cup of coffee. Check best espresso machines under 500.

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

One of the most commonly used espresso machines which handle the water dispensing task itself and only requires the user to manually grind the coffee and tamp it down on the portafilter. Once the portafilter is attached back to the espresso machine, the user can relax and just press the switch on the button to start the brewing process. The machine will regulate the amount of water itself and will use an electric pump to produce the desired pressure which is required for brewing the espresso. This type of espresso machine is really popular in households as the users don’t have to perform a lot of tasks and it gives you a consistent quality espresso every time. Ninja coffee maker bar is one of the best examples of semi-automatic machines.

Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

This type of espresso machine is similar to a semi-automatic espresso machine but there is a slight difference between the two. In this type of machine, the user doesn’t need to perform any task manually. All you have to do is press the switch on/off button to start the machine and it will take care of everything like pressure, water volume, dispensing water, etc. This type of espresso machines are quite useful in busy households and can be effectively used for commercial purposes. Since the user only needs to push the button to brew an espresso, it allows you to take care of other tasks while it makes the perfect espresso for you. You are bound to get a consistent quality espresso with this espresso machine.

Super Automatic Espresso Machine

This type of espresso machine comes with a built-in grinder, automatic water filling capability and capability to dispense frothed milk which makes it popular in a lot of restaurants and hotels. As this espresso machine requires the least amount of human effort and all one has to do to get a nice, hot cup of espresso is to just switch on the machine. With this espresso machine, you would be relinquishing control of your espresso quality and taste and would be provided with a standard cup of espresso every time you use it.