20 Southeast Wineries You Must Visit!
Last year, we published an article about 20 West Coast Wineries to Visit for our vino-loving travelers. It proved to be a popular post, but many of our travelers were asking about wineries they could visit in other parts of the country. While the west coast wineries tend to hog all the attention, other winemaking regions are starting to make a name for themselves, including the Southeast! So without further ado, here are 20 southeast wineries you simply must visit!
1. Chateau Elan Winery
Location: Braselton, GA
Our southeastern wine tour begins in Braselton, GA, about 45 min. northeast of Atlanta. Chateau Elan is a 3,500 acre winery and luxury resort which opened in 1985. Founders Donald and Nancy Panoz decided to pursue their winemaking dream, after Don found success in the pharmaceutical industry. Over 30 years, Chateau Elan became one of the most award-winning wineries on the Southeast Coast, and the largest wine distributor in Georgia. They specialize in wines made from Muscadine grapes native to the region, such as the highly regarded Duncan Creek varieties. The resort is also a premier vacation destination that boasts four golf courses, a tennis center, a European-style health spa, and 10 different bars and restaurants.
2. Wolf Mountain Vineyards
Location: Dahlonega, GA
Located at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains, Wolf Mountain Vineyards opened in 2003, and quickly established themselves as one of Georgia’s most scenic. The winery itself is a craftsman-style cottage that sits atop a cellar completely encased in fieldstone. The vineyards are surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests, and in 2019, Wine Enthusiast named Wolf Mountain one of the 10 best wineries and vineyards in the U.S. to host your wedding. Their wines have earned plenty of recognition as well, winning over 200 medals in major U.S. wine competitions. Some of the staff favorites include the Claret, and the Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
3. Montaluce Winery and Restaurant
Location: Dahlonega, GA
Just 20 min. away from Wolf Mountain, Montaluce Winery and Restaurant opened in 2007, and cemented Dahlonega’s reputation as a top destination for wine-lovers. The Tuscan-themed tasting room offers outdoor patios with sweeping backdrops of the surrounding landscape. They’re famous for European artisanal wines, especially Italian varieties like the 2018 Sangiovese. One cool thing about Montaluce is they offer “wine hikes” through forested nature trails near the winery. The guided hike is 1.8 miles, and includes a complimentary wine tasting and take-home glass.
4. Duchman Family Winery
Location: Driftwood, TX
From Georgia, we head west to the Lone Star State. Just 25 miles southwest of Austin, Duchman Family Winery opened in 2004 with the goal of bringing world-class winemaking to central Texas. Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman like to keep things local. 100% of their grapes are from Texas, and a majority of their fruit comes from the Texas High Plains AVA. The scenery surrounding the vineyards is spectacular, and HGTV featured Duchman Family Winery on their list of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the country. The shady oak trees that line the grounds are perfect for a enjoying a picnic lunch!
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5. Fall Creek Vineyards
Location: Driftwood, TX
Less than 5 miles from the Duchman Family Winery, Fall Creek Vineyards is one of the pioneers of Texas Hill Country wine. Ranchers Ed and Susan Auler took a trip to French wine country in the early 1970’s, and they realized that winemaking was their true calling. After the success of their first vineyard, they purchased 400 acres on the shores of Lake Buchanan that would eventually become Fall Creek. In 2014, they expanded their operations to open a second location in Driftwood. They won several awards for their white wines, and were named the Top Texas Winery at the 2016 Houston Livestock and Rodeo International Wine Competition.
6. Becker Vineyards
Location: Fredricksburg, TX
Our last winery in Texas is located about 70 miles west of Austin. Becker Vineyards started as a search for a second home when San Antonio couple Richard and Mary “Bunny” Becker went looking for a country getaway in the Texas Hill Country. They purchased an abandoned historic cabin, along with 46 acres of land, with the dream of opening a small boutique winery. Fast forward 30 years, and Becker Vineyards is now a major commercial success, producing over 100,000 cases of wine per year. Their wine has been served at the Texas Governor’s Mansion, and even the White House. In addition to the vineyards, they also commercially grow and sell lavender.
7. Arrington Vineyards
Location: Arrington, TN
Our tour of southeast wineries continues in Tennessee, about 30 miles south of Nashville. Arrington Vineyards started as a joint venture between master vintner Kip Summers, businessman John Russell, and country-music legend Kix Brooks from the famous duo Brooks and Dunn. They opened their doors in 2007, and were immediately awarded “Best in Show” for their 2004 Vintage Syrah. The 96-acre property includes five tasting rooms and a retail store. In 2020, they won gold medals for their Rosé, Red Blend, and KB Vintage. The winery has become a popular tourist destination in the Nashville area, and they have a music venue that shows live concerts from April through November.
8. Grinder’s Switch Winery
Location: Centerville, TN
About 75 miles east of Nashville, Grinder’s Switch Winery is lovingly referred to as a “hobby out of control” by the owners and staff. The winery’s name comes from the railroad switch in Centerville, which according to the tongue-and-cheek description, is really the only noteworthy thing in town. That can’t be true, because Grinder’s Switch has been attracting customers with their award-winning wines for nearly a decade. Founders Joey and Gail Chessor converted their hand-built log cabin into a tasting room to give the winery a more rustic aesthetic. They also opened a tasting room at Marathon Village in Nashville. One of their best-selling varieties is the 2020 Blackberry Express!
9. Mountain Valley Winery
Location: Pigeon Force, TN
One of the oldest wineries in Tennessee, Mountain Valley Winery opened their doors in 1991. The vineyards and tasting room are located off of U.S. Highway 441, which is the main road that leads to Great Smokey Mountains National Park. If you like sweeter wines, this is definitely the place for you! Mountain Valley specializes in sweet fruit wines, with popular varieties like Watermelon, Rhubarb, and Red Velvet. They also offer wine slushies if you visit when the weather is warm! Mountain Valley is no stranger to national recognition, winning more than 1000 medals from various competitions over the years.
10. Elk Creek Vineyards
Location: Owenton, KY
Located about 80 miles northeast of Louisville, Elk Creek Vineyards is deep in Kentucky’s hill country. Opened in 2006, Elk Creek was one 4 wineries in the state at that time. Today, there are over 70 different wineries operating in Kentucky. Elk Creek is a premier vacation destination for the region, with a spectacular venue for tastings, weddings, and more. The property includes a hotel and a spa, and there’s live music every Friday and Saturday. With over 30 acres of vineyards, they produced the first Estate Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Sangiovese wines in Kentucky!
11. Blenheim Vineyards
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Near Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Blenheim Vineyards is the cornerstone of Virginia’s viticulture scene. The grapes grow on Blenheim Farm, which dates back to the 18th century. Thomas Jefferson and his wife Martha were frequent guests at Blenheim Farm, and had dreams of turning the surrounding landscape into a premier wine region. Today, the winery is part of the historic Monticello Wine Trail, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2000, musician Dave Matthews purchased the farm and helped establish the vineyards. They’re signature grape is Petit Verdot, used in classic Bordeaux blends.
12. Williamsburg Winery
Location: Williamsburg, VA
Our next winery takes us from Charlottesville to Virginia’s Atlantic coast. The Williamsburg Winery started in 1988, with the goal of making fine wines with great character. Patrick Dueffler is the owner of the winery, and emigrated from Belgium with his wife Peggy. They purchased 300 acres along the James River, not far from where the original Jamestown colony was settled in 1607. Today the winery includes a hotel and two restaurants, and the buildings are reminiscent of Williamsburg’s colonial era architecture. The property received national attention, and was featured on NBC’s Today as a great last-minute vacation idea.
13. Black Ankle Vineyards
Location: Mount Airy, MD
About 40 miles east of Baltimore, Black Ankle Vineyards opened for business in 2008. The unusual name comes from Black Ankle Road that runs through the vineyards. There’s some debate amongst local historians as to the origin of the Black Ankle name. Some say it comes from the muddy feet and footprints that were left by people walking along the dirt road before motorized transportation. Others say it stems from an ancient Native American trail. Regardless, the proprietors Ed and Sarah O’Herron fell in love with the farmland and the surrounding countryside. The first grapes grew in 2003, and the first harvest occurred in 2006. Recently, they acquired two additional farms as part of their plans for expansion.
Like craft beer too? Check out our list of Southeast Craft Breweries!
14. Biltmore Winery
Location: Asheville, NC
Situated on George Vanderbilt’s historic 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate, Biltmore Winery is one of the main attractions of this impressive mansion. The Estate was completed in 1895, and the idea of planting vineyards took root in the early 20th century. However, it wasn’t until the 1970’s when the first grapes were actually planted by George’s grandson William Cecil. Since officially opening in 1985, Biltmore has won numerous accolades over the years. Their Cabernet Sauvignon won a gold medal at the Ashville Food and Wine Festival, and their Riesling and Pinot Noir are both highly rated. Of course, Admission to the estate includes a complimentary wine tasting!
15. Treehouse Vineyards
Location: Monroe, NC
Less than an hour from downtown Charlotte, Treehouse Vineyards has a unique backstory. Growing up on a farm in Eastern North Carolina, treehouses always fascinated Phil Nordan. In 1999, he built a treehouse for his wife Dianne on the farm that would eventually become their vineyards. What started as a secluded spot for them to enjoy wine, quickly turned into a private space for guests at the winery! The treehouse is 30 feet high, and comes fully loaded with a ceiling fan, an outdoor fireplace, and a huge porch with gorgeous views of the surrounding farmland. You can rent the treehouse by the hour, and it can hold up to 6 people! You can also spend the night in a separate treehouse built for overnight use.
16. Banner Elk Winery
Location: Banner Elk, NC
Nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains, Banner Elk Winery is known as “the jewel of North Carolina’s High Country.” Banner Elk was the first commercial winery to open in the region, and they’ve acted as a mentor to other winemakers who followed in their footsteps. Their wines reflect the unique characteristics of grapes grown in the Great Smokies, and they’ve won several awards since opening in 2005. At the North Carolina State Fair, they won gold medals in 2016 for their Rosé and Banner Elk Red, and in 2015 for their Cabernet Sauvignon. They also won two gold medals at the International Eastern Wine Competition in Sonoma, which was their first international competition.
17. La Belle Amie Vineyard
Location: Little River, SC
Just north of Myrtle Beach, La Belle Amie Vineyard is a small family vineyard run by the Bellamy family. Winemaking was always a tradition in the family, and was passed down through multiple generations. The current owner, Vicki, decided to start La Bell Amie after she moved to South Carolina to care for her ailing mother Berta. She was inspired by her Uncle Gifford, who was a local legend for his homemade wine. The first vineyards were planted in the mid-1990’s, but a succession of bad hurricanes devastated the land and almost derailed Vicki’s dream. They were able to recover, and opened in early 2000. Today, they’re a major tourist attraction for the region, and known for their collection of Twisted Sister Wines.
18. Victoria Valley Vineyards
Location: Cleveland, SC
In upstate South Carolina about 40 minutes north of Greenville, Victoria Valley Vineyards reminds you of the pristine vineyards of France and Italy. They specialize in European Vinifera wines, and their tasting room is modeled after a French chateau. The 47-acre vineyards were specifically chosen for their elevation and unique soil condition perfect for growing and producing Vinifera wines. They offer tours of the winery, and host live music and other special events. You can grab a bite to eat at their deli, and enjoy a glass of wine and a meal on their terrace. All while taking in breathtaking views of Table Rock.
19. Schnebly Redland’s Winery
Location: Homestead, FL
From South Carolina, we continue south to the Sunshine State! Schnebly Redland’s Winery is the southernmost winery in the United States, located in the Miami suburb of Homestead. Schnebly specializes in tropical fruit inspired wine, and they have a focus on dessert and sparkling wines. The winery has numerous amenities, including drive in movies on the weekends. In addition to the winery, there’s also a brewery and taproom on site for the beer lovers. If you get hungry, you can satisfy your cravings at the Redlander Restaurant, with delicious farm-to-table seafood, tapas, and more!
20. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
Location: Clermont, FL
Just west of Orlando, Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards is the largest winery in the state of Florida. The winery overlooks 80+ acres of vineyards, and produces over 100,000 cases per year! They grow all kinds of grapes, from the native Muscadine variety, to traditional Vinifera grapes. Lakeridge opened in 1989, under the careful guidance of founder Gary Cox. They offer complimentary tours and wine tastings that last about 45-50 minutes, complete with a video presentation and a guided walking tour of the facility. The also host several festivals and special events, including Weekends at the Winery, and the Summer Grape Stomp.