by Dasha Morgan-
This weekend many fun events are planned in and around Hendersonville with an almost overwhelming choice of activities. It is time to enjoy yourself and be wined and dined! For a second year the Henderson County Tourist Development Authority is celebrating the growth of Henderson County’s producers and sellers of local cider and wine.
They are sponsoring another Cider, Wine & Dine weekend. Three years ago the TDA had a cider jam in the parking lot next to the downtown Tourist Center. This has grown into a jam-packed weekend of festivities. The second four-day Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend will be from Thursday, April 25 through Sunday, April 28. After all you are living in the heart of Apple Country in Henderson County, so why not enjoy the views of apple trees off on a hill, producing gorgeous, delicate, pink and white spring blossoms, as they wait for the bees to start pollinating them, while you enjoy a glass of local cider, wine or beer?
As a preview, the weekend will start with an Opening Gala at the Horse Shoe Farm where small plates will be expertly paired with cider, wine or mead. Alas, this event is already sold out. But not to worry, there are many more days and evenings of unusual activities—such as, a blind wine tasting, cooking your own dinner with wine, enjoying a giant Paella prepared by Chef Jeff “Rhino” Bannister at Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery, or drinking some sangria or a mimosa. Some events require tickets or reservations, which can be done by contacting the individual venue, but many are free.
Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery, located at 749 Chestnut Gap Rd., Hendersonville, features artisan hard cider, fresh ciders, apple brandy and apple products. They specialize in Normandy-style hard cider, pommeau and Calvados brandy. All of the apples are grown, pressed and bottled on site. Many of the trees were delicately transferred from the Normandy region of France. Alan Ward, owner of Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery and Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, renovated the old barn with a keen eye for preservation. The tasting room, with a well informed staff to serve you, is housed in this rustic, restored barn, situated in the middle of the 29-acre apple orchard. One can relax and enjoy the lovely view on the scenic back deck, which overlooks this beautiful hillside orchard, while the energetic youngsters play beanbag toss or apple sling nearby.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, a fresh orchard breakfast & guided farm experience at Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery is being offered. Breakfast will start at 9:30am; the tour at 10:30am; $5 for breakfast, tour free; You can enjoy a hot cup of locally-owned ShareWell Coffee Co. coffee or craft espresso, roasted on-site, with a country biscuit breakfast paired with local jams, jellies, and fresh sausage gravy. Then after breakfast, you can experience the farm with an intimate guided tour of the orchard and vineyards. From 12 – 7pm, $10 tastings/menu prices, there will be all day tastings of their six different Normandy-style ciders, spirits from the distillery and guest tap beer, all for $10. The price includes an Appalachian Ridge tasting glass. Saturday evening from 6:00 pm ’til 9:30pm you can listen to Lee Griffin Trio play blues music and watch Jeff “Rhino” Bannister, chef recently featured on Food Network, prepare a giant Paella for all to enjoy ($10/person).
Burntshirt Vineyards is joining in the fun too at both their Hendersonville (2695 Sugarloaf Rd., Hendersonville) and Chimney Rock (438 Main St., Chimney Rock ) locations. This well established vineyard run by the Oates family has won many awards for their fine wine. It has won the NC Winegrower of the Year award and offers an apple wine made from local apples. The property is quite impressive, and so you can see estate-grown wine go from vineyard to bottle they will be offering daily tours of the winery and barrel room. In addition you can meet Preston Thomas, the wine maker and can get your bottle signed. On Friday night Burntshirt Vineyards is showing a movie, “The Hunger Games,” under the pavilion in Hendersonville. On Saturday afternoon from 2 – 4pm Paul Schiro will entertain everyone with music dedicated to the Legend Frank Sinatra! On Sunday there will be live music with the Caribbean Cowboys from 2 – 5pm, which is free.
Many already regularly enjoy the ambiance of the Bold Rock Hard Cider and Tap Room, which is located at 72 School House Rd. in Mills River. This is the North Carolina facility of one of America’s leading hard cider producers and opened here in 2015. For this event on both Friday and Saturday they will be offering live music from the cider garden and food specials from their food truck, Bold Bites, which will have freshly prepared BBQ and other Southern fixings. On Sunday Fun-day Low Country Boil will be going on at Bold Rock Hard Cider from 12 – 5pm for $20 per person. You can come to an all-you-can-eat Low Country Boil on the porch and listen to live music, while you enjoy ice-cold Bold Rock hard cider.
Point Lookout Vineyards is one of the newest wineries in the area located less than 10 miles from downtown Hendersonville, just off Chimney Rock Road—located at 408 Appleola Rd., Hendersonville. The Vineyard is atop the southeast slope of Point Lookout Mountain with incredible 30-40 mile panoramic views on a clear day. The Sommelier and Tasting Room Manager, Justin Corriss said, “He believes in the wines of North Carolina and came here from New Hampshire to be a part of its future.”
Point Lookout Vineyards, will be having a Highlands Festival Friday from 12 – 9pm (free with menu prices). There will be a celebration of the Scotch-Irish heritage of WNC with Live Celtic folk music, Highland dancers, and serenades of bagpipes with multiple performances throughout the weekend. The Olive food truck will be serving meals. In addition, on Saturday 12 – 9pm, free with menu prices, the World’s Edge Meadery will release a new mead for tasting in the Cellar. You can sit at the Knight’s Table, experience a full selection of meads (along with their wines and local beers), and learn about mead and its history. Mountain Blues BBQ will be serving food at the Cellar. Check out Point Lookout’s Facebook page for their music lineup for the festival.
The Saint Paul Mountains Vineyard opened to the public in 2012 and is located at 588 Chestnut Gap Rd., Hendersonville. This is a family owned winery, located on acreage farmed for more than nine generations by the same family. Their tasting room includes both indoor and outdoor seating with spectacular views of the vineyards. Saint Paul Mountain wines are made from 14 varieties of grapes grown in two locations at elevations of 2,300 and 3,000 feet, the highest in Henderson County and some of the highest in the state. They will be having a Twist & Shout Dance Party with Cider, Wine & Wings from 6 – 9:30pm Friday with the music free but menu prices. You can dance the night away with music by “Sound Investment,” playing the best of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Wild Wings will be serving your favorite wing plate, while you enjoy a delicious glass of Saint Paul Mountain wine. On Saturday, A Taste of the Vineyard at Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards will be held from 11am until 7pm, Admission $10. You can enjoy a guided tasting of all of their award winning French Vinifera wines and take your glass home as a souvenir! Indoor or outdoor tastings will be on their patio overlooking the vineyard. No reservation required. In addition, a cooking with wine course will be held that night. The chef will lead participants to cook their own dinner using Saint Paul wine. Starting at 6 until 8:pm for $25 a person, you can participate in an educational, interactive fun event!
In downtown Hendersonville the Wine Sage and Gourmet at 416 North Main Street will be having the following events. This wine/bottle shop (formerly Sage Gourmet) has a wine bar and sells beer, cider and wine.
•Thursday, April 25th 5-7pm in The Wine Cellar – South African Wine Tasting with Zingo
• Friday, April 26th 4-7pm in The Wine Cellar – Special wine, cider and mead tasting
• Saturday, April 27th 2-4pm in the Wine Cellar – Jones Von Drehle Wine Tasting with Diane Von Drehle.
As you can see, many fun-filled events are scheduled for the Cider, Wine & Dine weekend. More than can really be mentioned here. For more information just go to https://www.visithendersonvillenc.org/latest-news/cider-wine-dine. Then make the appropriate reservations.