Best known for hiking, countless waterfalls, the eponymously-named Blue Ridge Mountains, and being the home of Appalachian State University (go Mountaineers!), the particularly verdant corner of Appalachia near Boone, North Carolina, is home to endless incredible natural sights — and delicious wine.
Much to the surprise of many non-locals, Boone wineries produce an astounding assortment of grapes, with everything from Reisling and underappreciated Marquettes to Cabs and regional fruit wines such as Muscadine.
Highlighting the best of the best, three fantastic wineries comprise the Boone Area Wine Trail. While it’s one of the newer and slightly lesser-known North Carolina wine trails, it’s quickly being discovered.
Nestled among rivers, mountains, valleys, and lush rolling hills, the vineyards and wineries near Boone NC have the ideal environment for sampling to your heart’s (and tastebuds’!) content. Best of all, once you’ve had your fill, you can head to the nearby mountains to take in breathtaking waterfalls, mountain lakes, more epic views, and four-season recreation. There’s even skiing in the winter!
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Best Time to Visit Wineries in North Carolina
All three Boone wineries are open year-round and offer unique experiences in each season. April through October are the optimal months to enjoy the vineyards’ beautiful outdoor settings in some of the best weather of the year. Harvest season starts in mid-August and goes through October, with many wineries in North Carolina hosting special harvest events during this time.
Don’t discount a Boone wineries visit in the winter, though — there’s a special cheer in sampling wines during the holiday season. North Carolina’s famous fruit wines make for a soul-warming drink when it’s cold, plus they’re the perfect aperitif before picking out a Christmas tree from the same vineyard!
The 3 Best Boone Wineries
In such a naturally fertile environment, it’s no surprise that grapes grow abundantly here. Fun, totally unrelated fact: North Carolina also leads the nation in producing sweet potatoes and tobacco. The more you know!
We’re exploring the three best Boone wineries, with details on why you should visit and when, plus what to get and much more.
Grandfather Vineyard & Winery
- What makes it unique? Set along picturesque Watauga River at the base of the towering namesake mountain
- Type of wines produced: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Marquette, and several hybrid varietals
- Standout wine: Viognier and Big Boulder Red, a blend featuring unique NC hybrids
- Tastings/tours: Open for drop-in tastings daily; flights available Monday through Thursday; no tours offered
- What’s the food situation? Charcuterie and small bites always available and a food truck on weekends from May through October
Tucked at the foot of dramatic Grandfather Mountain, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery has rockier terrain than other wineries in North Carolina – as well as especially dramatic scenery! The higher elevation, nearly 4,600 feet at its tallest, and a steep angled slope produce a unique flavor profile and enable the vineyard to produce less-common grape varietals.
Sample Grandfather’s efforts through exceptional wines like the Appalachia Red, containing Marquette and Chambourcin grapes, or the White Rhone blend made with Viognier and Marsanne varietals.
Most of the vineyard’s offerings are on the drier side and it offers a seriously impressive selection! With nearly 30 options available by the glass (far more than most other Boone wineries!) including bubbly, sangria, and even wine on tap, you won’t have trouble finding something to your liking.
The vibe is ultra-casual and this winery is both family- and dog-friendly. We love relaxing in the Adirondacks near the river or claiming a table on the terrace when a local band is playing.
Speaking of local bands, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the winery’s fantastic live music lineup, featuring performances almost daily. It doesn’t get much better (or distinctly Appalachian!) than sitting riverside, listening to a bluegrass or country band, glass of North Carolina wine in hand.
Foodies will find plenty of options: there’s always a decent selection of charcuterie and on weekends from May through November, there’s also the Eleven80 food truck onsite serving sandwiches and other goodies.
A short and scenic 15-minute drive from Boone, visiting Grandfather Vineyards is super easy. Open year-round (including all holidays except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day!), the winery is open seven days a week from mid-May through November and only closes on Tuesdays in the winter, with hours from noon through early evening.
While you’re there, don’t miss the short hike up the hill through the vineyards!
Linville Falls Winery
- What makes it unique? It’s also a Christmas tree farm (really!) and located less than five minutes from the popular Linville Falls waterfall hike
- Type of wines produced: Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the owner’s personal favorite, Reisling, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot, and local fruit wines
- Standout wine: Cascade, a fruit-forward Pinot Gris blend, and Cab Sauv
- Tastings/tours: Drop-in tastings and bar service 7 days a week; guided tastings and walking vineyard tours on weekends
- What’s the food situation? Frequent food trucks on weekends, small bites and cheese boards always available, and visitors are welcome to bring their own snacks
Set in a stunning, sprawling Tuscan-style house, Linville Falls Winery serves exceptional award-winning wines in postcard-perfect, yet casual, surroundings.
The pet- and family-friendly environment features ample table seating and expansive grass lawns for picnicking, all sprinkled among fields growing Christmas trees and berries alongside the grapes. You certainly won’t find that at other Boone wineries!
Linville Falls’ tasty wines stand out from other wineries near Boone NC, with non-native offerings and several yielding to the sweet side. The winery is widely known for its Riesling, which is carefully grown to yield a complex, tropical flavor profile.
Cabs are also popular at Linville Falls, despite the fact that the grapes don’t grow well in western North Carolina (the winery partners with a grower in Washington’s Columbia Valley to import the grapes, then produces the wine onsite). Owner and head winemaker Jack’s favorite wines are the signature Cab Sauv and the Brandy Barrel-Aged Cab, so either is a solid choice.
For oenophiles with a sweet tooth, don’t miss sampling Linville Falls Winery’s fruit wines, including Blackberry, Blueberry, and the rose-colored Pink Lady apple wine, fortified with brandy. All of the winery’s offerings are available from the bar by the glass, in a tasting flight, or in bottles to go.
Local bands and food trucks are frequently set up from Thursday through Sunday, creating a distinctly laid-back, welcoming vibe unique among many wineries in North Carolina. To that point, Linville Falls even encourages guests to bring their own food, in spite of the fact that it has light bites and charcuterie available for sale.
Linville Falls Winery is a breeze to visit, open seven days a week year-round and just 40 minutes south of Boone. With advance reservations, you can enjoy a guided wine tasting or a walking vineyard tour and tasting (NC winery tours offered on weekends in the summer and fall).
Whereas many Boone wineries experience a slow season during the winter holidays, this may actually be the best time to visit Linville Falls. In December, you can pair your wine tasting with picking out your Christmas tree right off the farm!
The winery also hosts several other harvest events throughout the year, including a grape stomp in August and an October barn concert throwdown.
Nearby, namesake Linville Falls and Linville Caverns are both worth checking out in the spring, summer, or fall.
Banner Elk Winery & Villa
- What makes it unique? One of the highest elevation wineries in the country, plus onsite rustic-luxury accommodations
- Type of wines produced: Sevil Blanc, Marechal Foch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, blends
- Standout wine: Sangria and the semi-sweet Heirloom Blend
- Tastings/tours? Drop-in tastings and flights
- What’s the food situation? Light snacks available
Sitting at an elevation of 4,500 feet, Banner Elk Winery is the highest-altitude vineyard in the Eastern U.S.!
The scenery is fabulous: rolling hills stretch around the property, complete with postcard-worthy ponds and blueberry patches. You can even spot Beech Mountain Ski Resort from the vineyard — a perfect add-on for a winter day trip or weekend getaway.
Just 30 minutes from Boone, Banner Elk Winery’s tranquil environment is perfect for slowing down and savoring. To that point, you can even stay on property overnight, an offering you won’t find at other Boone wineries!
The Tuscan-inspired 8-suite Banner Elk Villa (reserve individual suites or the entire villa) evokes Old World luxury, and two standalone multi-bedroom lodges can be rented for large groups.
Opened in 2006, Banner Elk Winery is one of the oldest wineries near Boone NC. The head winemaker researched the region’s viticulture, discovering that conditions are on par with the best wine-producing regions in Europe.
Because of that, Banner Elk highlights several grapes not commonly found at wineries in North Carolina, but instead tailored for Europe. The winery painstakingly sources the best varietals for the Blue Ridge’s climate and soil, introducing North Carolinians and visitors to the non-native wines.
Sample Banner Elk’s Marchel Foch, a French-American hybrid included in the award-winning Barrel Elk Red Blend. Another unusual finding is the potent blueberry ice wine made with grapes partially frozen before harvest. For more traditional wine drinkers, the Merlot and Cabs are also delicious.
We love visiting Banner Elk Winery for a more traditional, old-school vineyard vibe. The picturesque grounds make you feel like you’re having a glass of wine in a friend’s backyard, and it’s significantly quieter than other Boone wineries because it’s just a bit further off the beaten path.
It’s family- and dog-friendly, and the winery often hosts live music on weekends. There’s tons of casual seating, both lounge chairs and picnic tables, plus shaded pavilions, near the ponds and creek. Insider tip: bring some crackers or bread to feed the trout!
Banner Elk’s staff is also super welcoming and knowledgeable, always happy to offer up details on the wine-making process. The wines are available in flights, which have four 2-ounce pours, or tastings, which feature eight wines, one ounce each.
To accompany the wine, Banner Elk has cheese and crackers available — but no full meals, so plan accordingly! Planning a visit is easy: the winery is open seven days a week from 12-6pm year-round and offers tours on weekends from May through October.
Things to do Nearby
There’s a lot more than wine in this magical slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Check out these natural attractions, a short distance from Boone wineries.
- Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge – America’s highest elevation suspension bridge (yep, way higher than the Royal Gorge in Colorado!) spans an 80-foot chasm and offers jaw-dropping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Extraordinarily accessible, the bridge no longer swings (though it does creak and sway slightly in the breeze!), so there’s no need to stress about bringing the whole family! Visitors are required to book tickets in advance.
- Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway – Spanning 550 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, this absolutely spectacular road follows the winding spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering one mind-blowing viewpoint after another. The parkway was designed to take advantage of the scenery, so take your time — the speed limit never exceeds 45mph and commercial vehicles are banned. You also won’t find many roadside developments like fast food or large hotels en route, making the drive much more immersive.
- Julian Price Memorial Park – Known locally as “Price Park” and nestled right beneath Grandfather Mountain, there’s an outdoor activity for everyone at this beautiful preserve. Fish or kayak on Price Lake, hike its perimeter, or explore a more secluded trail. There’s also a large campground (the largest on the Blue Ridge Parkway, actually!) and a series of interpretive programs and guided walks in the summer months for a deeper dive into the area’s natural beauty.
- Visit Linville Falls – The town, winery, and waterfall are all worth a visit, but especially the iconic cascade! One of the Blue Ridge’s most famous falls, Linville Falls tumbles 150 feet down four drops with an impressive volume. Easily reached via an accessible 1.5-mile hike, it’s a breathtaking spot well worth a few hours of exploration!
- Explore the town of Blowing Rock – Although home to just 1,000 people, Blowing Rock boasts lots of activities! Wander the quaint downtown, window shop, and stop for a bite and a brew at Blowing Rock Alehouse (we’re all for visiting Boone wineries, but it’s good to switch it up now and then!). There’s also fantastic hiking nearby — the eponymous Blowing Rock is a dramatic cliffside viewpoint, and the 2.7-mile round-trip Glen Burney Trail leads to three beautiful waterfalls.
Where to Stay to Visit Boone Wineries
Trust us, you’re going to want to stick around when you come to town to check out Boone wineries. We recommend basing yourself out of Boone itself, because of its proximity to not only several wineries, but the Blue Ridge Parkway as well. Plus, Boone is absolutely adorable in its own right!
Here are a few great accommodation options:
- The Horton Hotel – This historic boutique hotel is in the heart of downtown and adjacent to the App State campus, plus a super scenic drive to the Boone wineries. Highlights include chic rustic-luxe decor, complimentary hot breakfast and parking, and a wildly popular rooftop bar with firepits.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Boone – For a more traditional hotel experience, the Hampton Inn & Suites offers a complimentary breakfast buffet and parking, plus an indoor pool.
- The Inn at Crestwood – Tucked between Boone and Blowing Rock, this rustic mountain resort is authentically Blue Ridge. Enjoy fantastic views, an indoor lap pool, and rooms with fireplaces and balconies.
- Glamping Unplugged – If you’re looking to sprinkle some adventure into your Boone wineries experience, consider glamping! The glamping domes are situated right along a river and offer a rustic, truly disconnected experience, as the name implies.
With gorgeous family-friendly settings, affordable prices (almost shockingly affordable if you’re used to Napa Valley prices!), and uniquely Appalachian offerings, you’ll undoubtedly find something you love at Boone wineries.
Comment below to let us know your personal favorites, and which other wineries in North Carolina should be on our list. And be sure to pin this post for planning your Boone wineries trip later! Cheers!