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Yadkin Valley Wine Bar  –  Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)

For those who travel regularly, you may have noticed the growing trend of airport wine bars which seem to be popping up in most major airports.  Vino Voloappears to be the largest with locations at Baltimore (BWI), Philadelphia (PHL), Dulles (IAD), Seatack (SEA) and JFK and a few other locations that I haven’t been to.  Dallas (DFW) has two La Bodega Winery tasting bars and Charlotte International has the Yadkin Valley Wine Bar which is sponsored by the Yadkin Valley Wine Growers Association and only offers wines from that region.

I connected through Charlotte yesterday on my way back from Orlando so I spent some time at this friendly haven from the masses at the food court and Nascar bar.  The Yadkin Valley Wine Bar is located in the main corridor between concourses E/D and concourses A/B/C.

The following North Carolina wineries were represented:

  • Shelton Vineyards
  • Round Peak Vineyards
  • Hanover Park Vineyard
  • Westbend Vineyards
  • Stony Knoll Vineyards
  • Rag Apple Lassie Vineyards
  • RayLen Vineyards & Winery

Despite the dismal state of air travel and economic unknowns, the number of airport wine bars is growing and always appear busy when I’m there (maybe it’s just because I’m there?).  In general, the staff at the the ones I’ve been to ‘know’ wine and are willing to share their wine knowledge and provide education regarding the wines they sell.  The staff (two) at the Yadkin Valley Wine Bar are especially helpful  and have a wealth of knowledge about North Carolina wines.

If you’ve never had North Carolina wines, and you find yourself in the Charlotte airport, I would encourage you to stop by for a visit – and be sure to try both the red and white flights to get a ‘sense’ of NC wines.  Since I’ve been here many times, I went with two of the offerings that I’ve never had:

Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc, 2005


$7/glass.  Blend of Cabernet Franc (96%), Tannat (3%) and Syrah (1%).  13.9% alcohol.  Very light mouth feel.  Brickish plum color.  Picked up leather and definitely that pepper on the finish.  I liked this wine, but did feel as if the complexity was on break.

Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

$7/glass.  Cabernet Sauvignon (95%) and Cabernet Franc (5%).  13.5% alcohol.  Nice, dark purple color.  On the nose I found currant, plum and cedar aromas.  I picked up a good amount of blueberry in the mouth along with more cedar.  Soft tannins, weak finish. 

From the Shelton brochure available, the vines have been in the ground since 1999.  Like Virginia wines, North Carolina has great future potential (hard for many west coast wine addicts to believe), but do need more time to develop.  I appreciate the fact that these wines are not as fruit forward as many over ripe west wines and liked the fact that the alcohol levels were not over-the-top.

If you are ever passing through CLT, be sure to stop by the Yadkin Valley Wine Bar!