Banner Elk Winery and Villa
What We Love
- Rate includes daily gourmet breakfast
- Sipping on award-winning wines beside the tasting room’s large stone fireplace
- The extensive in-room spa treatment menu
- The deluxe concierge services, such as a private bonfire and s’mores picnic
- The dramatic backdrop of the lush mountain range
- Sweet-scented Molton Brown bath products, including a handy mini lip balm
What To Know
- Between North Carolina’s Beech and Sugar Mountains, it’s a winding 90-minute drive on mountain roads from the nearest city or airport
- The winery is a short walk from the villa
- Although well-appointed, some rooms are small
- No on-site restaurant; a private chef prepares daily breakfast and can cook private lunches and dinners with advance reservations
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Opened in 2006 by co-owners Dick Wolfe and Angelo Accetturo, Banner Elk Winery and Villa uncorks rustic romance that can be enjoyed year-round. In a rustic Tuscan-style barn, the Banner Elk Winery is the estate’s main draw with multiple vineyards, a pick-your-own blueberry orchard and a tasting room that’s open almost daily. There’s also a catch-and-release pond with a firepit that’s perfect for evening bonfires and seasonal marshmallow roasts.
Bed and Bath
Up in the hilltop villa, the eight lavishly appointed rooms are named for the owner’s favorite wines, from the Bourdeaux Suite to the Pinot Grigio. Starting at a petite 156 square feet, the cozy rooms have wooden four-poster beds, luxe white linens and elegant country decor that mixes well with the mountain views. Bright bathrooms are equipped with plush towels, bathrobes, travertine marble tubs and high-end toiletries that smell like sugar cookies. Need room to spread out? Opt for the basement-level Fireplace Suites, which have living areas with gas fireplaces and doors that lead to charming outdoor patios.
Although the property lacks an on-site restaurant, daily gourmet breakfasts and monthly farm-to-table dinners are served by the firepit on the outdoor deck, and there are inviting common rooms and living areas for afternoon lounging. A large kitchen is always open for light snacks and drinks, and, should the mood strike, you can pick up a bottle of wine anytime to enjoy in the privacy of your suite. Whether you plan to schuss down snowy Blue Ridge terrain, kayak calm rivers or traverse a wildflower-freckled mountainside for a tasting at the winery, there’s no bad time to visit.
In the Area
From arranging private tasting tours and horseback riding to picnic lunches and couples massages, the staff at Banner Elk is quick to customize and prepare any experience. Or go it alone and take the short and scenic 15-minute drive down to nearby Valle Crucis, where the original Mast General Store operates in the same building as it did 130 years ago. Don’t miss the by-the-pound self-serve candy bins or a Pepsi and a Moon-Pie on the back porch, where you might catch locals playing fiddles. On the foodie front, channel your inner chef with a cooking class at the Kitchen at Little Pond Farm. Its Farm Kitchen Program offers weekend cooking classes with local chefs; you’ll learn how to sharpen knifes, can plum butter and prepare an elegant meal like grilled beef tenderloin with espresso sea salt and sun-gold tomatoes. Alternatively, head to the 50-seat Artisanal Restaurant for hearty local fare in a rustic setting.
How to Get There
We stayed 2 nights at the villa and visited the winery. The grounds are very pretty and well-maintained. The winery is dark and not terribly inviting as another reviewer had indicated. Staff behind the bar were kind but did not seem to know a lot about wine. The villa itself is very nice and the rooms are spacious. Our bed was very comfortable. I am in hospitality and I noticed several items that should be addressed. The door to our patio had a handle that was missing and the lock did not work. They were lightbulbs out in the bathroom and only one roll of toilet paper provided. The hot tub outside of our room was not functioning but no sign of apology etc. Also, I found it strange that being a winery that sells their wine, there was no mini fridge/offer of a wine bucket with ice, wine glasses or corkscrew in the rooms. That seems counterintuitive. The furnishings are nice but a little bit out of place considering that a lot of the Art, etc had palm trees, pineapples etc. The villa staff is nice but not super professional ( dressed in t-shirts and shorts).
I do feel we will probably return at some point and spend a night or two. It was a nice experience but I just feel they are liking the attention to details.
We stopped by late July 2019 during a weekday. The grounds are very pretty, being western NC that's not to hard to do. The tasting room was dark, uninviting and dull. there were no stools to sit on at the tasting bar. The enthusiasm from the server was nonexistent and the wines were average at best. Souvenir glasses were not included and they are very nice. I asked if they were for-sale and he said no even though they had 100's hanging on glass racks. Go to Parker-Binns in Mill Spring if you want a fun friendly vineyard to visit. One visit for us was enough.
We had our wedding here and it was incredible. We stayed in the villa and my girls and myself got ready in the villa. The rooms are spacious and the shared spaces are even more spacious not to mention the whole house is gorgeous. Lisa went above and beyond to make our stay incredible. The views from the villa are breath taking and the breakfast served in the morning is delicious. We will defiantly be back next year for our first anniversary trip.