The High Country of North Carolina has always held great talent in the wine and spirits industry. Did you know that at the beginning of the 20th century, North Carolina produced more wine than any other state in the Union? It wasn’t until prohibition, and the title “Moonshine Capital of America” was given to Wilkes County, that our talent at cultivating grapes into wine was forgotten.
During the 1920’s the High Country became known for the hollows that could hide moonshine “stills” and the characters that created them. The winding mountain roads that allowed the still operators to lose the police in high speed chases, led way to the birth of NASCAR in Wilkesboro.
These days, you can have the best of both worlds. Talented individuals are opening wineries and microbreweries throughout the High Country. While you are driving here, you can imagine the still operators speeding up and down our country roads with their finest spirits.
The High Country is home to numerous wineries. Our region is known for our international award winning wines and some of the friendliest winery owners in the business. And with our beautiful mountain vistas to take in during a tasting, you can’t go wrong with a winery visit while you stay in our slice of heaven.
For a long weekend, you might want to come up for the Blowing Rock Wine & Food Festival, which features wines from North Carolina and around the globe. And if you are looking for a beautiful drive through the countryside followed by a relaxing glass of wine, visit the Thistle Meadow Winery in Laurel Springs or Banner Elk Winery.
With the national recognition Appalachian State University (ASU) in Boone has received around the new class Honors Chemistry: Intro to Beer Brewing, the High Country is starting to become an ideal location for microbreweries to get their start. In fact, Ivory Tower Brewing, ASU’s own brewing company, hosted the first and sold out BrewFest in 2012. With the foodie culture already brewing in the High Country, it naturally makes sense for our local restaurants to offer our local brews, with special taste pairing events and beer flight options always popping up.
The High Country bars and taverns are full of character and history. The Divide Tavern, named after its location on the continental divide in Blowing Rock, is located in the historic Green Park Inn and first opened its doors in 1891. You can have a drink and imagine the days when famous guests such as Annie Oakley and Calvin Coolidge frequented the Inn. Newer bars, such as Peppers Bar, have the look of an old tavern with barn wood walls and a cozy atmosphere, but showcase the latest selection of North Carolina and international brews.
Highlights & Trivia
- The Original Wine Country– At the beginning of the 20th century, North Carolina produced more wine than any other state in the Union
- Moonshine Capital of the World– Wilkesboro gained the title “Moonshine Capital of the World” during prohibition
- International Wine Tasting Award Winners– High Country wineries have won international wine awards and awards for the friendliest operators
- Blowing Rock Wine & Food Festival– The Blowing Rock Wine & Food Festival is a great way to taste a wide variety of North Carolina and international wines
- Our University is Brewing– Appalachian State University offers a class on beer brewing and operates its own brewery
- Brewfest-Brewfest is an annual sold out event that features beers from North Carolina and around the world
- Step back in Time-The Divide Tavern at the Green Park Inn has served historic names such as Annie Oakley and Calvin Coolidge
- Moonshine Stills-See a moonshine still at the Appalachian Heritage Museum at Mystery Hill and Ashe County History Museum
- Surprise, Surprise-New microbreweries and wineries are becoming the norm in the High Country