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Westbend Vineyards
by
K.L. Sullivan

Summary: Westbend Vineyards is the oldest vineyard in Yadkin Valley. The Kroustalises were the pioneers of growing vinifera grapes in Yadkin Valley and North Carolina.

Westbend VineyardsThe paved driveway with vintage style streetlights ends in a large parking area from which visitors observe several buildings. A red brick sidewalk leads to the tasting room. Just outside the tasting room is a large covered pavilion. At the time of our arrival, the staff was preparing the area for the Annual Harvest Festival.

The Westbend name is in reference to the Yadkin River that bends toward the west nearby. The Kroustalises were interested in wine and thought the Yadkin Valley would make for a great place to grow grapes. They decided to plant vineyards in 1972. The Kroustalises persevered even though others said they could not grow vinifera grapes in this area.

They were the first to plant vinifera in the Yadkin Valley as well as the first in the state. They sold grapes to other wineries for a few years until they started their winery. In 1988, the winery became bonded and in 1990, Westbend released its first wines.

Westbend VineyardsToday the vineyards consist of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chambourcin and Pinot Noir and others. There are 60 acres of French vinifera grapevines onsite. Westbend produces 5000 to 7000 cases each year.

The tasting room has a variety of items for sale. These include ceramic pitchers, a ceramic canister set featuring apples and grapes and wine towels. A sign for a raffle benefiting Brenners Children’s Hospital was displayed along with the grand prize of a basket valued at more than $375. The basket contained four Tiffany wine glasses, Westbend’s select wine and a variety of wine accessories.

 

Westbend VineyardsWestbend VineyardsWe tasted several wines with Pat. The 2006 Viognier was a pale yellow. The nose had hints of floral, vanilla and strawberries. The taste was smooth with a taste of apple and pears. The finish had fruit yielding to minerals and was crisp. Yadkin Fumé 2006 was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Vidal Blanc with a color of yellow to gold. The nose had grassy notes and pear. The taste was smooth and fruity. It had a crisp long citrus finish yielding to pear. Carolina Cuvée non-vintage was a blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin. It had a dark red color with a nose of plum and cherries. The taste was fruit forward with a hint of sweetness. The finish was crisp with mild tannins. The Les Soeurs Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 had a dark red to purple color. The nose was black cherries with a hint of earthiness. The taste was black cherries and the finish was fruit forward with tannins. Les Soeurs means “the sisters.”

Westbend VineyardsNearby is the Joel Benjamin Hauser house built in 1850 that has been renovated. The house is next to some of Westbend's vineyards and only a quarter of a mile from the Yadkin River. In Fall 2008 the Joel Benjamin House will open for winery and private party events.

Traveling to Westbend Vineyards gives the visitor a chance to taste wines made from mature vineyards. The winery offers a pleasant respite to relax and enjoy the environment with your favorite Westbend Vineyards wine.

Westbend Vineyards
5394 Williams Road
Lewisville, North Carolina

GPS: N36° 08.894' W080° 50.069'

 


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