May 07--THURMOND -- Hundreds of enthusiasts packed an all-day activity Saturday at one of the Yadkin Valley's newest wineries.
Jones von Drehle Vineyards & Winery, 964 Old Railroad Grade Road, celebrated its grand opening festivities amid sunny skies, food, live music, featured wine, and even a surprise helicopter landing.
"We started off with a helicopter landing in the morning," said proprietor Chuck Jones. "A local person flew in, saw the tents, and just landed in the parking lot. I thought someone was cutting the grass. You can't make this stuff up."
According to Jones, the noon chopper landing set a grand tone on a vibe that would last for the next eight hours. Countless numbers of spectators made way to the winery.
"We did paired tastings and had eight wines that paired with food from Heaven Scent of Elkin....It was incredible. Each item was so delicious. People really loved the food and wine."
According to Jones, about 1,000 visitors made way to the free winery festivities.
"They gave so much away," said Will Cantel from New Hampshire, who was visiting the region. "I'm here with my wife and was touring other wineries. They kept feeding us. They poured all day. The music was fantastic. We picked a great week, didn't we?"
Dancing on the grass was popular. People were observed waving hands in the air, singling along to popular tunes, forming conga lines to the rhythm of The Pizazz Band of Raleigh.
"It didn't matter where you were standing. We started the music about 1 p.m. We kept it going until the end," said Jones. "I believe what we did here today reaffirms our commitment. We're here. We're part of the fabric of this community. We're standing behind the region."
"I think the wineries here are more friendly. This is my third winery. I think it's the southern style," said Barbara O'Lague, formerly of the Napa Valley, California, who indicated that wineries in Napa have become too commercialized.
"That's my mother. She's a riot. Don't let her kid you," said Stacey Webb of Mount Airy. "It's three generations of us. My daughter (Amy DeBorde) is here, too. We came out to make a day of it."
Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.
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