Dreaming of a trip to Napa Valley, but waiting on the pandemic to (finally) end so you can head west? Never fear – this weekend, you can hop on the three-stop Alabama Wine Trail, where wine enthusiasts will find themselves delighted with the Birmingham region’s robust offerings of vineyards and wineries. It goes without saying – make sure there is a designated driver alongside you, because you won’t want to stop tasting wines with flavors like peach and muscadine, made from local fruit.
Stop No. 1: Corbin Farms Winery, Calera
Close to us in Birmingham is the family-owned Corbin Farms Winery in Calera, established in 2005 and set on five acres. Corbin Farms is open Thursday through Sunday, and the staff recommends reservations, especially during these uncertain COVID times. In addition to a vast selection of wines, Corbin Farms also has a full menu of food to enjoy – everything from a standard cheese and fruit plate or spinach and artichoke dip to salads, croissant sandwiches, and key lime cake. You can get your wine by the glass, the bottle, or as part of a wine-tasting flight – four wines of your choice delivered to your table for just $10. The team at Corbin Farms are experts at pairing the right wine with your dish, and there’s always an exciting event happening at Corbin Farms for the public to enjoy. In addition to just dropping in, Corbin Farms also hosts weddings, private dinners and events, rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, and corporate meetings. And, in addition to wines made from grapes and fruits grown in Alabama, Corbin Farms also sources from places like California, New York, Virginia, and Oregon. We recommend sitting on Corbin Farms’ patio on a beautiful, crisp fall day, listening to live music and admiring the beauty surrounding you.
Stop No. 2: Ozan Vineyard and Winery, Calera
Also located in nearby Calera is Ozan Vineyard and Winery, which is open every day but Monday. (To be safe in these precarious times we live in, we recommend always calling ahead just to make sure anywhere is open.) Ozan has been family-owned and operated since 2001. It’s impossible not to be awed at the beauty of Ozan as you drive up to the winery – you’ll certainly feel like you’re closer to Tuscany than to Birmingham. It prides itself on its Tuscan setting, where you can sip wine and spirits and enjoy food from the café. On a gorgeous day, we enjoy sitting outside under the shade and working our way through Ozan’s deep wine selection. In October, you can hop aboard Ozan’s Pumpkin Patch Train on select Saturdays and Sundays – keep in mind you must be 21. Ozan is also a popular place for weddings, but if you’re just looking to enjoy yourself for a day, we recommend booking Eat Drink Al Fresco at Ozan, where you can take part in a wine flight tasting outdoors, nosh on a wine-inspired lunch option like an Italian BLT panini or chicken salad, and truly feel like, at least for the day, you’ve escaped to Tuscany.
Stop No. 3: Morgan Creek Vineyards, Harpersville
In 2000, the idea for this family-owned winery originated, and since then Morgan Creek has become a go-to spot for weddings, tours, and tastings. Morgan Creek’s specialty is muscadine and fruit wines – think semi-sweet to sweet – but the winery also offers dry wines in both red and white. Morgan Creek offers complimentary tours and tastings Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – again, just to be on the safe side, call ahead before traveling to Harpersville – and we love the winery’s tasting room, which, combined with the stunning scenery and the magnificent vineyards, you’ll be swept into a world away, even if just for an afternoon. Morgan Creek also offers grape stomps for the whole family, where you can kick off your shoes and help stomp grapes while you listen to live music and dine on barbeque. Remember that classic scene from I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel stomp grapes? Well, Morgan Creek even offers a Lucy-Look-A-Like Contest at this event, where winners can take home cash prizes! If that’s not enough, Morgan Creek is also a great place to spend holidays, surrounded by seasonal décor, treats to pair with your tasting, and, of course, some of the best wine around.
Lead Image: Morgan Creek WInery