You may have long been curious about the wine scene here in Western North Carolina, and while some wine enthusiasts and aficionados may have a version of what they think it entails, the only way to know for sure is to take a guided tour and see for yourself. (There is more to the wine scene here than muscadine grapes!) With over 15 wineries within 50 miles of Asheville, you’ll have plenty to discover on a WNC Wine Tour with Van in Black–there are even some that are within driving distance to each other and perfect for a chartered tour for events such as bachelor and bachelorette parties, special occasions, holidays, or birthday trips.
Read about this intimate trip as you wine-hop your way to tasting the budding terroir of the region by way of a condensed, 4-winery tour starting in Flat Rock, NC, and ending in Tryon, NC.
Hitch a Ride With The Best: Van in Black
Dubbed the “Coolest Ride In The Carolinas” Van In Black and owner Ryan Watts, curates casual gatherings, group tours, and everything in between for folks visiting Asheville and surrounding areas. Whether you’re in town for a wedding, visiting family, or a local wanting to check out the growing wine industry in North Carolina, Ryan and his sleek, modern, fleet is packed with beverages and snacks to keep you happy and energized while touring each location. Plus, if you think you’ll want more than just a snack, you can opt to have the Asheville Picnic Company provide a cute and tasty, locally curated bagged lunch.
Your vehicle options range from a Luxury SUV with a TV, tinted windows, and leather seats, to 11, 12, and 14 passenger Mercedes stand-up vans, each with its own great sound system, tinted windows, and luxury amenities. Want to know more about the vans? Head on over to Van in Black’s website to decide which van will be the best for your group.
In addition to Van in Black, Ryan the owner has a sister company called Asheville Wine Tours. They provide a seamless experience from pick up to drop off. His guides will even throw in some wine knowledge of the wineries you’ll be visiting along with digestible, historical bytes appropriate for each winery. Each wine tour is custom to meet the group’s needs. And though it’s dubbed a wine tour, if your group wants to check out local cider houses or pubs, Asheville Wine Tours and Van in Black will do just that!
Though most tours focus on one region and will include stops at 3 or 4 wineries, if you have a different idea, let the team know and they’ll do their best to accommodate you. Van in Black will pick you up and drop you off so you don’t have to do any driving for your wine tour–oh and the best part is that you can drink on the van while en route!
There’s Wine In These Mountains
Marked Tree Vineyard | 623 Deep Gap Rd, Flat Rock, NC
As part of a group touring a few of the wineries in the area, we started off our WNC wine tour with Van in Black at Marked Tree Vineyard, a name which gives homage to marker trees indigenous folks used to navigate the trails–an early trail system for finding water, food, and gathering spaces.
Owners, Tim Parks and Lance Hiatt really honed in on the intimate feel of this modern space. Its clean lines, open structures, and welcoming vibe can be felt throughout the property. Their hope was to meld finding your own way through a convergence of meeting new people and growing wine. The spirit of this modern, well-designed, intentionally built winery is set along the Eastern Continental Divide providing an exceptional climate for growing grapes as the evenings are crisp and the days are warm here, especially between now and the Fall season.
They live on-site and hand-pick their grapes, giving new meaning to “labor of love” in each bottle they produce. Their popular Rosé is named after their sweet pup, Ellie Mae, and is the perfect wine to sip as you take in the views from every direction. They offer small bites and snacks with occasional food trucks on weekends. Head over to their downtown Asheville tasting room if you’re not able to make it to the winery.
What To Do While You’re There: While you’re sipping their seasonal selections, take a stroll over to the towering oak in the front of the property known as the oldest tree in Henderson County.
Parker-Binns Vineyard | 2275 Whiteside Rd, Mill Spring, NC
As we made our way through the Tryon Foothills on our WNC wine tour with Van in Black, we settled in with Karen and Bob Binns who, after living in the Jersey Shore and working the food and beverage industry, decided to take a plunge into the growing wine scene in North Carolina. They molded their family-run operation, Parker-Binns, into a comfortable outdoor setting complete with an on-site production facility.
Parker-Binns uses a “cold-dry” method in preserving their grapes, derived from their favorite Italian wineries–it’s a way of keeping the clusters in cooler temperatures and in plastic bins, before easing into production.
In addition to small, local bites, they have a Burger Barn that has burgers and shareables as well as sandwiches.
What To Do While You’re There: Visit the llamas and donkeys on their small farm just below the tasting room which frames the rolling vineyards in the distance. Check out the selfie spot for a quick pic to remember your visit.
Overmountain Vineyards | 2012 Sandy Plains Rd #8799, Tryon, NC
Another Tryon gem, Overmountain Vineyards is the epitome of balance between wine knowledge and love of art. Dad and daughter duo Frank and Sofia Lily are the backbone of this family-owned winery. The first thing I noticed when I entered this space is how lush and welcoming it is. There are plants everywhere and two friendly Great Danes that greet you as you walk up.
Sofia’s quick-witted energy flows through the place. From warm welcomes to stories of her Latin roots (her mother is from Cuba)–you can tell her love of wine and meeting new people is the glue that holds it all together. Their 70-acre farm vineyard is tended to by volunteers, family, and friends and their massive patio overlooks parts of the vineyard and is surrounded by lush greenery all around. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and their estate premium wine, Petit Manseng, is in the ground right now. There’s a U-pick blueberry patch and if you’re looking to extend your visit, check out their villas and stay awhile.
What To Do While You’re There: You’ll definitely want to take a quick peek at their wine bottles and art that hangs inside their tasting room. Most of their wine labels feature favorite artists that captured their attention over the years.
Mountain Brook Vineyards | 731 Phillips Dairy Rd, Tryon, NC
The last stop of the evening on our WNC wine tour with Van in Black was Mountain Brook Vineyards. It’s located on a gorgeous 72-acre vineyard with about 15 currently under vine that was acquired back in 2018. Now, under new owners, the property boasts a huge fire pit, a stage with lawn space for events, and covered patios and gondolas throughout which face rows of vines with some pretty epic sunrises and sunsets. During our visit we witnessed the beautiful light fading away behind the vineyards and it was truly a sight to take in. If you’re ever in Tryon, be sure to stop by!
Mountain Brook Vineyards offers various curated flights of what’s in season and they pair well with their menu options which include local farmstead cheeses and charcuterie offerings. If you have a dog, they have a pet-friendly policy and all dogs are welcome to hang out.
What To Do While You’re There: Their covered stage area is perfect for events such as live music and seasonal outdoor movies.
WNC Wine Tour with Van in Black Recap
Now that you’ve got a taste of the local wine scene just outside of Asheville, where will you go first? Wherever you decide to visit, you will be impressed by the quality of wines, amazing location, and hospitable welcomes by all who tend to the wines in this mountainous region.
Ready to book the best wine tour in Asheville? Hop on over to Van In Black’s website and schedule your visit. And if you need more info, check out their FAQ page or contact them here. Have you been on a WNC Wine Tour with Van in Black? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought! Please leave a comment below.
Not into wine? No worries, the Asheville area has plenty of other things to see, do, eat, and drink. Check out some of our other popular posts such as Asheville’s Best Outdoor Breweries and Bars and Best Brewery Tours in Asheville.
Originally from the Bay Area, California, Stephanie now resides in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina with her 4 children and husband. She is a content creator during the day, and continuing education student at night. When she’s not reading, she is planning the next camping trip with her family. Her love of the outdoors and sharing those moments with people from different walks of life aligns with her continued growth in racial justice and equity in her community.