• Jamie Killian

Wine Tastings, Crafts and Dinners — Take your friends and treat your palate at these local stops

We are rounding out 2020 which means the days are shorter and the temperature is dropping. One major silver lining of the end-of-year is no doubt wine season. Nothing says cozy like a glass of red wine with friends, enjoyed close to home.

Holiday travel looks a bit different this year which makes it a great time to discover what is going on right in your own backyard. Bring your holiday guests to one of these events and hang around to experience what our downtowns have to offer — from beautiful holiday lights to delicious bakeries and original murals.

Downtown Gastonia - Photo Courtesy of GarlandBurks

Direct-to-consumer wine clubs have become a trend in 2020 but for most, tasting a few wines with the help of a wine expert, and without the commitment of several bottles, can be a rewarding and fun experience. In fact, this can be a great gift for the person in your life who has everything! The local landscape of wine offerings has greatly expanded and Gaston County has several wine-centric events ahead!

Whether you take your social bubble out to dinner or get ahead of your holiday shopping while creating something unique, these are great opportunities to safely enjoy a social event and learn some more about your favorite local wineries or wine vendors. It's all a great way to sample unique, seasonal menus or try a new skill, with special COVID precautions being taken*. Make a plan and get your tickets for these awesome December events!


AR Workshop - Wine Down Wednesday


Photo Courtesy of AR Workshop Belmont

AR Workshop, 65 Glenway St., Belmont

December 2, 16, 23 & 30, 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.


Gather up your friends for a night of DIY and wine. For this event, you will bring your own wine — a great way to swap favorites and discover something new. At AR Workshop, you can choose from projects ranging from a blanket ladder to a cake stand, so there is something for everyone. Create your project with the help of an instructor. Projects range from $55-75 and reservations should be made within 72 hours of the event. AR hosts the Wine Downs (almost) every Wednesday. Book your spot here. Seating is limited.


Sprouts Café - Steele Winery Wine Dinner


Sprouts Café - Chandler West, Gaston Outside

Sprouts Café, 1012 S. New Hope Rd., Ste. B, Gastonia

December 3, 6:30 p.m.


Enjoy a five-course meal with wine pairings at Sprouts' December Wine Dinner. The ravioli is the perfect cozy winter dish. Featuring special guest Glenn Stryker, certified specialist of wine, this will be an event to learn about and enjoy several wines from Steele Winery. Steele Winery specializes in minimally-invasive winery techniques and creates many small-batch wines. Tickets are $65/person and can be purchased here. Seats are limited.


Grape & Barley - Orin Swift Wine Tasting


Grape & Barley Wine Selection - Photo Courtesy of Grape & Barley

Grape and Barley 1933 Hoffman Rd., Ste. 4, Gastonia

December 3, 6:30 p.m.


Looking to learn a little more about wine? Head to Grape and Barley for a wine tasting in a class setting! Try six different Orin Swift wines and learn from an Orin Swift representative. Groups will be seated at tables of four. Tickets are $50 per person. Reserve your spot today by phone (704-864-2718) or email info@grapeandbarley.com.

String Bean - Annual Holiday Wine Tasting


String Bean - Chris Rodarte, Gaston Outside

The String Bean, 106 N. Main St., Belmont

December 7, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Drop in and grab glass at The String Bean’s annual holiday wine tasting event. There will be 60-70 wines to sample and $30 gets you a glass. You can choose your favorites to take home or grab some for gifts.

String Bean - BranCaia Italian Wine Dinner


Photo Courtesy of BranCaia

The String Bean, 106 N. Main St., Belmont

December 14, 6:30 p.m.


The String Bean has been recognized by the Wine Spectator organization on numerous occasions for its extensive collection of wines which makes it a great place to bring both those new to drinking wine and those who might be looking for something specific! Their dinner on December 14 will feature wines from Tuscan winery, BranCaia, The String Bean will serve an Italian dinner with a holiday feel. After dinner, browse over 900 wines and 200 beers in their marketplace so you don’t leave empty-handed. Tickets can be purchased by calling The String Bean at (704) 825-3636 or by emailing Morgan@Stringbeanmarket.com.

Gaston Pour House - Winter Wine Dinner


Menu Courtesy of Gaston Pour House

Gaston Pour House, 170 S. South St., Gastonia

December 17, 7:15 p.m.


Enjoy three courses paired with Klinker Brick wines at Gaston Pour House’s Winter Wine Dinner. Klinker Brick wines are named for clinker bricks, a particularly heavy and dark brick. The vineyard aims to cultivate a similar richness and complexity in their winemaking. At $58 per person, this is a great date night option or a chance to socialize safely with friends. Pro tip: don't forget the blackberry lavender soufflé. For tickets, email GPH@gastonpourhouse.com.