Nestled in a valley about 35 minutes from Mulberry Gap is a local gem, The Cartecay Vineyards. As you pull into the gravel parking area you are greeted by rows of endless grapevines, an inviting stone paved patio with an original 1800s brick fireplace, a gazebo overlooking vast rows of vines and a quant bridge on a small creek that runs along one side of the property. You park in front of the rustic 1890s Tasting Barn which has been refurbished using most of the wood from it’s original days. The lower level of the barn is where you start the tasting. The upper level has a comfortable deck where you can stand and admire the vineyard from one side of the property. The barn has a very warm and cozy feel, with the walls covered in local art, adorable locally made jewelry, and the Vineyards apparel. The wine tasting is $10 dollars for 5 samples and they have the option to add a delightful platter of cheese and summer sausage for an additional $20.00. There is a great selection of in-house wines to choose from and the staff are very knowledgeable of all the varieties, along with the best food to pair with your wine. If you are looking for a relaxing day trip, Cartecay Vineyards is a great place to sip some wine, kick up your feet and relax.
Beyond Cartecay’s vineyard is The Chateau Meichtry, offering beautiful mountain views and an excellent selection of Muscadine wine. The Chateau Meichtry is a family owned and operated winery with the main residence above the winery itself, inside of a breathtaking multi-story home, with the entire lower level devoted to the passion of wine making. A cosy tasting room lies on the edge of the lawn, facing beautiful mountain ridges that lay across an open valley of cattle. The inside is equally beautiful, with flowers and a large portrait of the family matriarch who originally introduced the family to wine making. The tasting for this vineyard was 7 dollars for 5 glasses. They had several varieties of Muscatine wine, which is exactly what I was looking for during our visit. The hostess was hospitable and friendly, and we sat and chatted with her about the pressures of modern life. The music was relaxing; she shared with us the history of her family’s vineyard and provided us with some background of the area, which led us to our next destination during our days adventure.
Mountain Valley Farm
We followed windy backroads which offered breathing taking views on the mountains and various small family owned farm operations. After a few miles we pulled up to Mountain Valley Farms, a general store with a couple friendly cows, munching on corn stalks in an adjacent pole barn. Joy and Goofy were their names and they seemed happy to have us.
We ventured over to pet the numerous different types of goats, while bunnies hopped around the property freely. Shaded pens almost completely surround the parking area, where a variety of traditional farm animals wait to greet you. The store sits among the shade as well and offers homemade Ice cream and gourmet snacks to help ease the discomfort of the summer heat. It does the trick, and even if you’re already feeling the burn of the southern heat, the spicy mustard and hot sauces for sale and for sample are a delicious way to pass the time and explore your taste buds further.