Wine Tasting: Childress Vineyards

Winery/Producer: Childeress Vineyards; Lexington, North Carolina

Appellation: Yadkin Valley, North Carolina

Tasting Room and Location: Exit 89 off state highway 52. (At the crossroads of Highways 52 and 64 in Lexington, North Carolina)

Grape Variety Tasted:

    Sauvignon Blanc
    Reserve Chardonnay
    Cabernet Franc
    Reserve Malbec
    Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
    Starbound (Port-style dessert wine made from blueberries)

Tasting Price: We were guests of friends who were Childress Wine Club members (club members receive free tastings). The normal tasting price is $15.

Knowledge and Helpfulness of the Person Pouring the Wine: Allison, our tasting hostess was enthusiastic about the Childress wines. She had the basic information about the wines she was serving down pat but did not appear to know much about wine or wine tasting; nothing new, and similar the our California wine tasting experience.

Comments: The Childress Vineyards is the largest winery in North Carolina and is owned by Richard Childress, famous for his NASCAR racing team (including the late Dale Earnhardt.) The 35,000 square-foot winery at Childress Vineyards has become a tourist destination and is a magnificent setting with it’s Tuscan architecture nestled in the rolling hills of grape vineyards. We have attended a party in the Barrel Cave and frequently have lunch in their Bistro restaurant. There is also a very nice store stocked with gourmet foods, gifts, wine accessories and 36 Childress Vineyards wines. We were there on a Saturday afternoon for our tasting and it was a beehive of activity. It’s a large well organized winery and I would say operating at about full capacity.

Childress Winery is one of our favorite places to go in the spring, summer and fall because of the fabulous vineyard view from the enclosed veranda where you can dine. We don’t go for the food or the wine but the ambience is outstanding. The tasting experience was similar to the large commercial winery tastings we have done in California. For example you may be disappointed in both the quality of the wines and the quantity of the “taste”. Childress serves such small tastes that you have to drink the whole sample to swirl it around in your mouth, so you only take a tiny sip and hardly get the experience. The Childress wines aren’t bad and a good time can be had especially if you are with some good friends. The restaurant menu now changes weekly so the dining experience may be greatly enhanced and we look forward to our next visit to Childress because we know for sure that we can count on a fabulous view and wonderful ambience with our wine and lunch.

All the wines we tasted were good for North Carolina wines (and not bad compared to California wines) except the Starbound (and it was recommended as syrup to pour over ice cream or pancakes so the tasting was not really appropriate). We didn’t purchase any of the wines we tasted; however, we did get two bottles of the 2009 Reserve Syrah. And, in the past we have bought the Signature Chardonnay, Meritage and Cabernet Sauvignon and found them to be quite good.

With all that said, we did have a very enjoyable afternoon wine tasting experience…and because it’s a GREAT local winery, we will drink many more bottles of Childress wines in the future, and will throughly enjoy them on the winery veranda with the “to-die-for” view!!!