Grape Escape

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented drinking

Stone Ashe grapes in season.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

The only self-guided tour in the state — maybe even the whole Southeast — to showcase four different kinds of craft beverages, The Cheers! Trail of Henderson County lures visitors to nine breweries, six wineries, two hard cideries, one meadery, and additional independent tasting rooms. These 20-odd stops include established attractions such as Sierra Nevada’s world-class facility in Mills River, Bold Rock Hard Cider (the top hard cidery in the country), and relatively recent arrivals like Stone Ashe Vineyards. Profiled in Bold Life in September, Stone Ashe sources root stock straight from Bordeaux, France, and is determined to go back to the Old World roots of winemaking. 

Some of the Trail is scenic and rural — it is apple-orchard country, after all — and some of it is walkable (downtown Hendersonville alone has six breweries), but all participating drinkers will be rewarded this season by the just announced Cheers! Trail Passport, a $10 guide to all the “tasting experiences” on the route that yields custom Cheers! Trail merchandise after 12 venues have been stamped. Though the giftable Passport is released to coincide with the holidays, it’s available all year long.

(Blue Ghost Brewing Company, 125 Underwood Road, Fletcher; Dry Falls Brewing, 425 Kanuga Road, Hendersonville; Guidon Brewing Company, 415 8th Ave. East, Hendersonville; Mills River Brewing Company, 336 Banner Farm Road, Mills River; Oklawaha Brewing, 147 1st Ave. East, Hendersonville; Sideways Farm & Brewery, 62 Eade Road, Etowah; Sierra Nevada Brewery, 100 Sierra Nevada Way, Fletcher; Southern Appalachian Brewery, 822 Locust St., Hendersonville; Triskelion Brewing Company, 340 7th Ave., Hendersonville; Burntshirt Vineyards, 2695 Sugarloaf Road, Hendersonville; Chimney Rock Tasting Room & Bistro, 438 Main St., Chimney Rock; Marked Tree Vineyard, 623 Deep Gap Road, Flat Rock; Point Lookout Vineyard and World’s Edge Meadery, 408 Appleola Road, Hendersonville; Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, 588 Chestnut Gap Road, Hendersonville; Sawyer Springs Vineyard, 124 Sandy Hill Lane, Hendersonville; Stone Ashe Vineyards, 736 Green Mountain Road, Hendersonville; Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery, 731 Chestnut Gap Road, Hendersonville; and Bold Rock Hard Cider, 72 School House Road, Mills River. For more information on the tour and the passport offer, see cheerstrail.org.)

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