Make sure you check out the Wineries page for a complete listing of the Haw River Valley wineries and their hours. The trail, as well as each winery, holds different events throughout the year, so check for events that may be happening soon. Select a route you want to take, keeping in consideration the hours of operation. Plan to spend around 30 to 60 minutes per winery to give yourself time to enjoy the tasting and the tour.
Designate a Driver. Although you may be sampling just a few different wines at each location (generally about a 1/2 oz per serving), you'll want to designate a driver who will not be imbibing. Treat your driver to lunch or save a few bottles of wine for him/her to enjoy later!
Bring a List. Plan ahead for family and friends for whom you would like to buy gifts. North Carolina wine, accessories, and gift baskets make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other special occasions.
Learn While You're Having Fun. Since you are sampling wines, try ones that you haven't tried before - you may be surprised! Compare the different styles side by side, taking notes on a tasting sheet to remember your favorites. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Most tasting room personnel are eager to chat about their wine, how it is made, and food pairings.
Include Time for a Meal. Don't forget to include lunch in your schedule! A few wineries offer cheese and crackers, but asking about local places to dine is also a fine option. Most wineries have picnic areas on site. Consider packing a picnic lunch in a cooler that can be used later to store any purchased wines. Remember, wine should never reach temperatures above 80 degrees F.
Groups are Welcome. The Haw River Wine Trail is a great place to go with friends and family. If you have a large group (10 or more) planning a tour, you should call ahead to let the wineries know the group size and your approximate arrival time. They will want to be sure to have enough staff on hand to accomodate your needs.
Time of Year Matters. Each season offers different experiences. Spring in the vineyards is beautiful! The vines come out of dormancy with their brilliant green leaves and numerous "baby grapes." Late summer and fall are ideal times to plan a wine tour and tasting outing. The grapes will be ripening as the the harvest comes in and the next round of wine making begins. Winter is a quiet time, and the winery personnel will most likely have more time to spend with you, adding a more personal touch. No matter what time of year you travel the wine trail, there is always something to see and do!