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  • Writer's pictureCheré Dastugue Coen

Passports to Fun

We hardly need a reason to visit breweries, wineries and cideries, but it doesn’t hurt to have incentives.

Something to Wine About

Take Yadkin Valley, for instance, a region in northern North Carolina that’s bursting with great spirit destinations. The Valley is offering a “passport” for visitors that serves as a guide to 14 wineries, three breweries and one distillery in the North Carolina wine country, says Jessica Roberts, director of the Tourism Partnership of Surry County.

The passports are valid through March 27, 2022, with passport holders receiving either one or two tastings at participating locations, as well as a keepsake stainless steel wine pump that preserves the freshness of opened bottles of wine. Another perk of the passport is discounts at several accommodations, restaurants and retail locations.

“It’s both a convenient and an economical way to experience wine country,” Roberts said.

Wineries new to the passport are Golden Road, Hidden Vineyard, Pilot Mountain and Serre Vineyards. Returning wineries are Adagio Vineyards, Carolina Heritage, Elkin Creek, Grassy Creek, Haze Gray, Roaring River, Round Peak, Shelton Vineyards, Slightly Askew and Stony Knoll.

Three craft breweries are included in the passport — Angry Troll, Skull Camp and Thirsty Souls — along with Mayberry Spirits Distillery.

“People love the passports. Many come back year after year or give them as gifts to family and friends,” says Pat Colwell of Carolina Heritage Vineyards. “It’s really just the idea of having something fun to do for a weekend in winter.”

The passport costs $95 for individuals and $145 for couples. The estimated value of each passport is $350. To learn more about the Winter Wine & Beer Passport, visit or call (336) 526-1111.

Raising the Bar

Athens, Georgia, is home to the University of Georgia Bulldogs, the B-52s, R.E.M. and other famous musicians, and a hot food and arts scene. It’s also one of the best places in the South to drink beer, thanks to its many craft breweries.

Which is why Athens tourism began the Athens Beer Trail, a collection of six craft breweries and dozens of pubs. Pick up an Athens Beer Trail Guide at the Historic Athens Welcome Center at 280 E. Doherty St. between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays and visit the breweries, who will stamp your guidebook and pour you a local brew.

You can also use the handy guide to take note of the beers you imbibe, plus read about beer styles, beer glasses, other trails to visit while in town, and much more.

When you acquire all six stamps within your guide, return the book to the Welcome Center to receive a keepsake item to remember your spirited travel through town.

Cheers for Beers...and More!

You can taste your way through Virginia’s Blue Ridge’s local breweries, wineries and distilleries on Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail. Sign up for the Cheers Trail Passport Program to receive exclusive special offers and have the opportunity to win prizes.

Passports are free and may be accessed via email and text message that’s sent directly to a phone. Use the passport to check in or to redeem an offer at participating breweries, wineries and distilleries along the Trail. Once you’ve visited five different locations on the Cheers Trail you’ll receive a free Virginia’s Blue Ridge Cheers Trail T-shirt. (The shirts are mailed out quarterly, so be patient.)

Some of the Cheers Trail participants are A Few Old Goats brewery; Beliveau Farm Winery located on a 165-acre farm; Hammer & Forge Brewing Company that honors everyday hard working people; Twin Creeks Distillery in the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills; and Well Hung Vineyard, founded by three women “who recognize the value of a good joke as well as a great glass of wine.” And there’s many more!

For more information, visit Or text “Cheers” to (540) 253-4311 to have the passport delivered directly to your mobile device!

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