Wine lovers ‘juiced’ over festival’s return | Yadkin Ripple

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				                                Festival goers sip wines at the Weathervane winery booth at the Yadkin Valley Grape Festival in Yadkinville.

Festival goers sip wines at the Weathervane winery booth at the Yadkin Valley Grape Festival in Yadkinville.

The skies looked threatening early in the day but it was the perfect fall temperature and wine lovers were thrilled for the return of the Yadkin Valley Grape Festival in Yadkinville on Saturday.

Karen Nivens, from Charlotte, has made it a tradition to bring along her group of gal pals for multiple years running. The festival is a way for the friends, who hail from around the state as well as Georgia and Ohio, to reconnect and have fun. In addition to sharing wine together, they always come decked out in matching t-shirts. This year’s shirt featured the phrase “blame in on my juice” from the popular Lizzo song. Amanda Hallman said the minute she heard the song she knew it would be a great theme for their next wine fest shirt. Sadly the idea had to be on hold from 2019 due to the cancellation of the festival. The friends said they didn’t let the cancellation and pandemic shutdowns keep them down, however, some of them even participated in virtual wine tastings from home.

There plenty of wineries from Yadkin, Surry, Wilkes counties and beyond at Saturday’s festival, including some newcomers to the festival this year.

It was Haze Gray Vineyard’s first appearance at the Yadkin Valley Grape Festival or any wine festival for that matter. Haze Gray, located on Stony Knoll Rd. in Dobson, opened its tasting room in December 2019. Becky Muhlenberg, who owns the winery, along with husband Deane, said they were happy with the response at the festival.

“It seems like a good crowd. People are interested in our wines, and in interested in us,” she said.

From new wineries in the region to the first winery to open its doors in Yadkin County, Hanover Park Vineyard owners Michael and Amy Helton, said they were glad for the return of the festival this year.

Seeing old friends was one of the best parts of the event, Michael Helton said. The festival, though one of the smaller ones in the region, is known for its many returning participants each year.

“It’s nice that it’s smaller,” added Amy Helton.

Yadkinville Mayor Eddie Norman praised the work of Bobby Todd and the Yadkin Chamber of Commerce for organizing “a terrific event.”

“As they say, it’s a great chamber of commerce day. People are just enjoying themselves — family, friends. This is good for the town of Yadkinville,” he said.

“Folks are having a great time sampling a lot of great Yadkin Valley wines.” Todd said of the event, adding that organizers were pleased with this year’s turnout.

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-258-4035 or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @news_shewrote.

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