North Carolina wineries now number more than 100 and span roughly 550 miles from coast to mountains. Yet one doesn’t have to go very far to purchase wines from about a third of those wineries. Drive just five miles south of Pittsboro to unWined and wine lovers will find representation from several regions (including some close to home in the Triangle) in a single stop.
The wine shop and favorite local weekend “hang out” had a past life as a country store and gas station along what was once the main route of travel from New York to Florida. Owners Joni & Ray Pavlik converted the remains of the old brick store structure to the wine shop pictured above, digging out a wine cellar, and incorporating steel pipe and beam remnants of other commercial business and structures. They opened the shop in November 2011, selling exclusively North Carolina made wines.
Wine lovers themselves, Joni & Ray have traveled the state visiting the wineries represented in their shop. They vet each ensuring the wines are made with North Carolina grown grapes. As Joni talked with me about the bottles lining the shop walls, her knowledge of wine varieties as well as the individual wineries became evident. Years working at the family restaurant and wine shop in the New Orleans area played a significant role in that education process. I noted a Raffaldini Montepulciano and asked her opinion. Not only did I get a recommendation, Joni shared the history and significance of the geographic location of the Raffaldini NC vineyard in relation to a sister vineyard in Italy. As we continued to explore the wine shelves, I was surprised to learn of an organic winery, Carolina Heritage, found in the Yadkin Valley viticulture region. My visit to unWined enlightened me about North Carolina wines and I didn’t spend a weekend touring wineries (though some day I will get around to that trip 😉 ).
unWined opens on weekends (Friday through Sunday) offering a tasting course, as well as wine for purchase by the glass or the bottle. The warm interior of the shop welcomes visitors to take a seat inside on cooler days (and purchase some of the “lagniappe” to nibble while sipping), while the outdoor terrace invites guests to enjoy the peace and quiet of “Deep Chatham”. Once a month (or sometimes twice) Pittsboro’s Bella Donna Restaurant serves their oft raved about grilled pizzas. Scheduled live music performances add to the unWined experience (full details about special events can be found at the unWined website). unWined is well worth a visit to experience the quality wines North Carolina producers offer, as well as to unwind with the gracious shop owners and a few of their favorite customers.