Owner(s): Charlie and Ed Shelton
Open to Public
Mon-Sat 11 to 5; Sun 12 to 5
286 Cabernet Ln, Dobson, NC 27017
phone: (336) 366-4724
Shelton Vineyards Profile
Written by Brian—Mar 25, 2018
The Yadkin Valley is arguably the best-known wine-producing region in North Carolina. Despite the regional notoriety, there was only a handful of wineries that I knew by reputation. Shelton Vineyards is one of them. So on my initial expedition of NC wine country, I made it my first stop.
Entering the property through the main gate, I immediately got the sense that I had arrived in wine country. Shelton is one of the state’s largest growers. The ninety acres of vines spread out across the estate’s rolling hills creating the illusion that they extend almost to the horizon.
The grounds around the tasting room are meticulously manicured. A narrow stream flows under bridges and down to a small pond at the base of the hill. Buds were already breaking on some of the flowering trees.
The tasting room has the look of a visitor center with flagpoles flying US and NC flags on either side of the walkway. Despite this, the building itself blends well with its background and does not look at all out of place.
Inside, visitors are greeted by a chalkboard bearing the names of recently released wines. A pair of retail counters are recessed on either side to accommodate the purchase of wine or other memorabilia. Just beyond, the room features a large, L-shaped tasting bar and an array of wine and Shelton Vineyards merchandise are arranged on the right side of the room. It is a space designed to accommodate a large number of visitors.
At the tasting bar retail manager Angela Hooker greeted me. She nimbly guided me through several of the Shelton offerings and was able to speak with some authority about all details of the wine, winery operations and estate history.
Brothers Ed and Charlie Shelton opened the winery in 2000 and the operation remains entirely family owned. I later learned that Shelton's success was a primary catalyst for the growth of fine-wine production in the rest of the region.
The ten varietals grown on the estate are used to produce 30,000 cases of wine annually. Based on my tasting, those wines are uniformly well crafted and all are worthy of note. Among the whites, I tasted a Sauvignon Blanc, a pair of Chardonnays and an off-dry Riesling. Balance and nice acidity were evident in each. The barrel-fermented Chard was the biggest surprise. The modest influence of oak really allowed the fruit to come through while simultaneously adding a bit of complexity.
I tasted three different single-varietal reds. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat both displayed nice fruit and complexity. The Cabernet Franc, however, was simply off the charts. With its ripe fruit and peppercorn finish, it was easily comparable to some of the best examples produced further north in the Mid Atlantic.
In addition to wine, there is a bistro next door to the tasting room. Shelton Vineyards also hosts a variety of food and music events throughout the year, so check their calendar and see if any of these align with you planned visit.
As a final analysis, I have to say that Shelton Vineyards was an ideal first stop and gave me a great sense of what is possible in the Yadkin Valley. This winery is a must visit for anyone exploring NC wine and will not disappoint any serious oenophile. After you stop in, I am very curious to hear your thoughts.