Owner(s): Raffaldini Family
Winemaker: Chris Nelson
Open to Public
Wed-Sat 11 to 5; Sun 12 to 5; Mon 11 to 5
450 Groce Rd, Ronda, NC 28670
phone: (336) 835-9463
Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery Profile
Written by Brian—Apr 15, 2018
Viewed in the aggregate, the Swan Creek American Viticultural Area (AVA) at the southern end of North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley is a stunning region. On closer examination, a hierarchy of beautiful venues begins to emerge. At the very top of that pecking order sits Raffaldini Vineyards.
The large Tuscan-inspired tasting room rises out of a ridgeline above the estate’s 42 acres of vines. It is impossible to be unimpressed as you make your way up the drive toward the prominent structure. You will note, even before reaching the top that this property offers an even more awe-inspiring view of the mountains on the far side of the broad valley that spreads out below. I have commented on many amazing winery views over the years, but there are few that compare to this one.
I must quickly add that the mountain vista is not the only amazing characteristic. The Raffaldini wines far surpass the quality of the view. The winery’s trademark is “Chianti in the Carolinas” and this is a reference to their line of Northern-Italian inspired wines.
White wine makes up a very small part of the 6500 cases produced annually. While the Moscato d’Asti-style sparkler, Pinot Grigio and Vermentino-based blend are all worthy of note. I am told that the first two will be replaced by new offerings, which will undoubtedly be equally spectacular. In any case, Raffaldini’s reds are the main event.
Much of the Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Sagrantino and Petit Verdot grapes grown on the slopes below the tasting room are racked and dried in an Appassimento method. If you are unfamiliar with this term, it is a drying process used to concentrate the sugars. The resulting raisin-like fruit is then pressed and fermented to make big, rich, elegant wines. The Northeastern Italian Amarones are perhaps the most widely known example of this style.
e result of Raffaldini’s use of Appassimento is nothing short of spectacular. Their Sangiovese Classico along with the Montepulciano Riserva and Grand Riserva are reason enough to visit this winery. All are full-bodied and complex. They are decidedly world-class wines that highlight the type of quality possible in the Yadkin Valley.
On top of everything else, Raffaldini has a professional, customer-oriented tasting room staff. Every element of the the experience seems crafted so that visitors will walk away with the very best impression. All things considered, this winery sets a high bar for other local producers.
In short, if I were going to recommend a single North Carolina producer, it would be Raffaldini. The venue, customer experience and wine all conspire to make this one of the best wineries on the east coast. You simply have to check this one out and, after you do, please let me know what you think.