Souther Williams Vineyard offers tours & tastings at their beautiful grounds, just a short drive from Asheville, NC! This family-owned vineyard features an open-air tasting room.
When the husband and I decided to take a long weekend trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, we knew we'd be in for some great hiking and scenery.
But we were equally interested in the local food and drink scene.
After all, Asheville, North Carolina, is a reasonable drive from the eastern edge of the park, and it's got a ton of options for the traveling foodie!
As we started to plan the trip, Souther Williams Vineyard caught my attention.
Located south of Asheville in the town of Fletcher, NC, Souther Williams had just celebrated its grand opening in April 2022.
The grounds and facilities at this shiny new winery looked inviting, and the description of a "Hike and Sip" tour intrigued us.
So we booked our spots from the vineyard's website and hoped for good weather!
Souther Willliams Vineyard History
Our tour guide was vineyard owner Kenneth Parker.
Souther Williams is a 35-acre vineyard he's setting up on land that's been in the family for a couple of centuries.
The winery focuses on Eastern-European style wines, and (unlike many wineries in the Southeastern United States), does not produce overly sweet wines.
This was a big plus from my standpoint!
Grape growing began here in 2015, but the winery only recently went into full production.
The "Hike and Sip" Tour
We arrived at Souther Williams Vineyard about three weeks after it opened.
Our group for the "Hike and Sip" tour was tiny (only 4 people plus the guide), but we were told the maximum group size for the hike and sip is 12.
It was really nice to be part of a small, casual group.
The tour was about an hour long and began in the tasting room. There we were given wine to carry with us through the vineyard.
We started with their Riesling.
The tasting room was gorgeous and open-air. (It looks like it would be perfect for small events!)
During the tour, we walked through the vineyard while our guide told us charming stories about his family's history on the land, and about his goals for the vineyard.
We walked past one of their AirBnB cabins. Yes, you can rent a cabin and stay at the vineyard!
The tour walked us past the Spring House, the original water source on the land.
Next, we tasted their Vidal Blanc, a fabulously effervescent white wine that reminded me of a very dry pear cider.
The guide told us it should taste like a white peach (although I'm not sure I've ever tasted a white peach).
This white was absolutely fantastic, and surprised me since I normally prefer dry reds.
We also learned a little about the grape growing process, and how the ever-changing weather can make growing grapes for wine more difficult.
It was interesting to see the grapevines so early in the year, before the grapes developed. (We visited in early May.)
Our tour guide walked us past the gorgeous estate home that looks over the vineyard, as well as the Gruner Veltliner grapes growing on the hillside.
Souther Williams' Gruner Veltliner was fascinating, because it was as clear as water! But it definitely wasn't watery in the slightest. We really enjoyed its complex flavors.
When we booked this tour, I wondered how much actual hiking would be involved in a "hike and sip" tour.
It turns out, it's mostly just strolling through grassy vineyards. So, a pretty relaxing experience.
There was one hill to climb!
Our guide refilled our glasses with a robust, dry cabernet franc before we walked back down the hill.
Our tour ended back in the tasting room with a final sample, and we also had a chance to taste a splash of other wines that were available for purchase.
Of course, this is when we had a chance to purchase bottles of any of the wines we enjoyed on the tour.
Souther William's Hike and Sip tour was a fantastic tour with wine that exceeded my expectations!