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
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.
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!