One Giant Leap … coming soon

Have you ever worked on a project and received a great deal of satisfaction from one specific accomplishment tied to that project? We have had one of those moments in the NCWineHopper app. All of the APIs are properly feeding our data and it is time to set up the cross-platform app and add an excellent user interface to the app.

The end result will be a truly unique app for the wine connoisseur which is available for both Android and Apple users. Coming soon …

Duplin Winery, Our First and Most Memorable Winery Experience duplin post

We all have a first – first kiss, first time on a motorcycle, and first winery visit tour and experience. That first time tends to set a memorable, high standard for others to strive for. In our case, that was Duplin Winery and Bistro in Duplin County.

We started with a most interesting tour of their wine producing facilities. One highlight of that tour included the science and facts behind the health benefits of our local muscadine wines. We saw their multiple 40,000 gallon storage tanks, and I believe they use even bigger storage tanks now.

Our tour guide’s name was Kay, and she followed that up with a truly memorable tasting. We were regaled with the stories behind the specific wines, the near destruction of the original mothervine located on Roanoke Island and the social responsibilities assumed by the Fussel family

Most of the wines are on the sweeter side, and they are available in many of your local stores. I would have to say that one of our favorites is Sweet Caroline. It has an excellent medium sweetness and leaves you with the satisfaction gained from partaking of a good North Carolina muscadine wine.

If you truly want satisfaction, buy a few bottles of Sweet Sox. You can get these in red and white. These bottles stand out from the rest because of the shelter dogs pictured on the bottle.  Shelter dogs? Yes, that was the original home of the dogs used for the yellow and black dogs on the labels. Your wine purchase benefits those dogs and many others. The following paragraph is quoted from the back of a Sweet Sox bottle.

Help us help them. The animals are in dire need of financial assistance to maintain the housing of our homeless animals as well as assist with the cost of spaying and neutering. With the purchase of this delicious bottle of wine, not only will you heal your heart, you will also heal your soul.

Our visit at Duplin winery ended at The Bistro. Try an awesome reuben sandwich, grilled pimento cheese or a hefty crab cake and be sure to pair it with their suggested wine. Finish off your meal with a heavenly piece of Tabatha’s cheesecake or bread pudding. You will truly enjoy your Duplin Winery and Bistro experience.

Lots Of Fun In An Out-Of-The-Way Place – A Secret Garden Winery secret garden post

The experiences of life are shaped by the people and animals involved. We visited A Secret Garden Winery in Pikeville and were delighted to see Linda Wall-Hall and her beagle, Lady.

First, we hopped on the golf cart and toured her vines, koi pond and Martin homes. Next up was our tasting. The wines here a fully organic; which means, among other things, that there are no sulfides added at the end of the production process. The result is a wine that continues the fermentation process after bottling.

My favorite wines at A Secret Garden are made from fruit. I am sure that we have all experienced wines that are “fruit infused.” Adding peach juice to a bottle of semi-sweet white wine gives a hint of flavor and an enhanced wine drinking experience. Let’s consider the pleasure that can be experienced with a wine fully made from peaches. No infusion here, this is the real deal. The usual offerings are strawberry, blueberry and peach depending on season and availability. As Linda said, you can make wine from almost any fruit so additional fruit wines may occasionally be available.

How do you like your wine – sweet, semi-sweet, dry? All of these types are offered at A Secret Garden. We tasted different vintage years of varietals such as Mary Rose Red, a wine that has won competition awards. We also tried Golden Harvest in variations ranging from sweet to dry.Do you watch Flavor NC on your local PBS station? If so, you may have seen the winery edition that included A Secret Garden Winery and the poem that Linda wrote. You can view their winery episodes on our site.

It’s A Soap Opera Mystery At Duplin Winery duplin post

Yes, we enjoy attending events at Duplin Winery, as should all patrons of the arts. If you have never been to a Duplin Murder Mystery presentation, make plans to go and purchase the tickets months in advance. This will become the standard to compare all others against.

The title for last night’s event was “Fan Of The Soap Opera” and the setting was a cast rehearsal for “All My Days And Restless Nights On The Edge Of Oblivion.” Yes, it was truly fun to listen to many of the cast members roll that full title many times throughout the play. For the dimwitted character, Tiffany Topaz, it was only “Oblivion” because she could never remember the name of the show that she was on.

You get to name your detective agency, our was “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and win a prize of your team is the first to solve the mystery with the correct suspect and motive. Our table approached this with a plan and exacted our revenge by winning the prize – Duplin’s “Going Coastal.”

The acting troupe presenting this is called It’s A Mystery out of Raleigh. They have at least twelve different mysteries, all written by Suzanne Arrington who played Charlotte Queensbury last night. The best part of the experience is that all of their presentations are original to that venue.

Want to attend the next Murder Mystery presentation at Duplin? Sorry, it’s sold out. This is April and the July presentation in three months is sold out. For those who are ready to get in on the action as soon as possible, you can attend tastings prior to July 28 and a bus group may happen to have cancelled and released some tickets. Then again, you can go ahead and purchase tickets for the show in August or two in October while they are still available.

Noni Bacca Winery – Award Winning Wines and They Teach You To Make Your Own noni bacca post

I am fairly certain that we have all experienced good and bad winery visits. Many of the things that create the type of experience include personality, knowledge and atmosphere.

At Noni Bacca, they have all of this which combined for an excellent wine tasting visit. The descriptions given were “mostly dry other than the fruit and dessert wines. I guess the adjective “dry” applied to a wine is based solely upon individual taste.

I would describe the wines we tasted as leaning more toward “semi-sweet” than dry. We tasted their Riesling, Sangiovese, Cucidati, Peach Splash, Cherub and Porta Caffe Coffee Port. All of those are medal winners as shown below (with their descriptions).

  • Riesling (Chilean grape) Bronze
  • Sangiovese (California grape) Silver and 8x Bronze
  • Cucidati (Italian Fig Cookie wine) 2x Silver and 3x Bronze
  • Peach Splash (Chardonnay with peach) Gold, 2x Silver and Bronze
  • Cherub (Pinot Noir with Black Cherry) Bronze
  • Porta Caffe Coffee Port (Coffee flavored dessert wine) Double Gold, Silver and Bronze

Depending on which timeframe their material is from, you will see an award count in the range of 150s to over 180. That is an impressive display of medal winners, with over sixty varieties of wine offered in their winery.

Do you want to make your own wine? Yes, they will teach you how to do it at home or in their store. You can even create a custom label to give your vino creation as gifts to friends and family.

Occasionally you will come across a winery owner who is skilled in other areas. Noni’s “other job” is painting. She has quality paintings available at the winery and we purchased the sunset painting shown above. Yes, the price was right!

I would highly recommend stopping in to visit Noni Bacca winery any time you are close to Wilmington. If you would like to contact them to verify hours or set up your own wine making class, their web site is and they are available on Facebook.

Their Facebook page and Instagram (no posts)

Coming soon in our app

Information for wineries, restaurants and shops. You will have the resources gathered in one place to plan your winery hopper trip and research the chosen destinations. This research includes the reviews and opinions of other visitors from social media and review sites.

How many NC Wineries are there?

As of March 2019, there are 132 registered with NCWine and the NCWineHopper also includes restaurants and shops that carry wines from the wineries of North Carolina. Want to plan a vacation while staying in a cabin located on winery property? Our NCWineHopper app will help with that plan.

Welcome to WineHopper.App header

We are creating a state-based series of Wine Hopper mobile apps starting in our home state of North Carolina. We will have a listing of wineries by county, the restaurants and stores carrying NC wines, and a trip planner to guide you from winery to winery starting at a central location.

WineHopper.App is owned and hosted by Link Em Up LLC