Friday, July 8, 2022

Divine Llama Vineyards: North Carolina Winery Visit

Critters with four hooves steal the show at this North Carolina winery.

A Nice Glass Of Wine Plus Llamas To Boot

We were enjoying a nice lunch in North Carolina Wine Country when the Green Dragon (my wife) mentioned that she had heard of a winery with llamas. We’ve visited a good number of wineries in Yadkin Valley, but never Divine Llama Vineyards. A quick check of the map showed we were just a short hop away, so off we went.

Divine Llama, located at 4126 Divine Llama Lane in East Bend, has dual attractions. First, it has an enjoyable tasting room with great outdoor space for picnicking with a nice glass of vino. Second, it has llamas galore. We decided to explore the wine first and then visit the llamas.

We settled into the covered outdoor tasting area to enjoy a flight. There are a variety of seating areas: rocking chairs, picnic tables near the vines, sofas, and more spread around the grounds. We opted for the outdoor bar because it had ceiling fans and this was one of those humid North Carolina days.

Divine Wines

Divine Llama has a wide range of wines, including Traminette, Chardonel, and Chambourcin, three French hybrid grapes that do particularly well in the soil and climate of Yadkin Valley. Traminette has spicy notes akin to Gewürztraminer while Chardonel has many characteristics of Chardonnay. Chambourcin is a red wine that simply shines in North Carolina.

There is a wine for every palate at Divine Llama. Some are semi-sweet, some sweet, and some even have a touch of berry or fruit juice added. If you visit Divine Llama you’ll be served in plastic cups unless you buy glasses or bring your own – so come prepared.

For our flight, we opted for a nicely chilled Pinot Gris followed by the Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Chambourcin. The Pinot Gris was a great refreshing sip that dispelled our clammy summertime blues. It has flavors of pear and green apple. The Cabernet Franc was light-bodied but delivered scrumptious flavors. It gets 20 months of oak aging to develop added complexity.

Petit Verdot is a grape variety that has been crushing it (pardon the pun!) in North Carolina. This was a winner with nicely developed tannins and rich blackberry and cherry notes. For me, the Chambourcin was the highlight. The profile is fruit-forward with a healthy dose of raspberry and vanilla flavors. Each bottle we tasted was $24, except the Petit Verdot, which is $28.

Up Close And Personal – With Llamas

Fortified by wine, it was time to visit the llamas. The on-site Four Ladies & Me Farm is a family-run North Carolina llama farm and the largest llama farm in the Southeast. If you come only to visit the llamas and not enjoy the wine, there is a $10 charge. Otherwise, you can head down the gravel road to visit the featured guests.

If you are planning a visit, we suggest checking the weather first. While you can enjoy the wine tucked nice and dry in the tasting room, it is a 10-minute walk to the llamas. While we walked down, we kept one eye on a billowing thundercloud that luckily didn’t spoil our fun. The walk down the gravel road also won’t be fun in high heels or uncomfortable shoes.

Along the way, you’ll see ponies and a working farm. We found one friendly llama grazing near the fence, but most were concentrated in two buildings that had hay bales and fans to keep them cool. The Green Dragon was over the moon spending time with the llamas.

If you want to go “all in” with the llamas, you can do a llama trek. The treks cost $50 per person. You must make reservations and – unfortunately – they are not available in the summer. The treks are about two miles long and follow a path over rolling hills and along Miller Creek. About halfway it is time for a water break beside the creek. This provides a perfect spot for pictures with your llama while feeding them treats. Treks begin and end near the wine-tasting facility where you can finish your adventure with a bottle of wine. Allow about two hours for your trek.

Looking for a wine trip that offers something extra – look no further than Divine Llama.

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