By Guest Blogger Janet Fulp

Although the weather has been hot (hello summer!!), it is always a touch cooler if we head up towards the mountains. On a recent weekend day, my husband and I drove up to Pilot Mountain and enjoyed a wine tasting and lunch at JOLO Winery and Vineyard.

Getting There

From the Triad, JOLO is about a 30-40 minute drive up 52. Once you arrive at the entrance to JOLO, you begin to understand that it is a special place. The property was formerly a family home that has been renovated by owners JW Ray and his wife, Kristen. JOLO is named for the owners’ two sons, Joey and Logan. My husband and I are big Wolfpack fans, so we enjoy the fact that JOLO is the namesake of two NC State football players.

As you pull down the long driveway, the main house, deck, and lake come into view with Pilot Mountain providing a gorgeous backdrop. This was not our first visit. In fact, we have enjoyed the winery so much that we became members of their wine club. The membership makes a great gift, especially if you give it to your spouse so that you can enjoy the benefits together!

Wine Tastings

We started our afternoon with a wine tasting in the tasting room. Because I am a member of their wine club, I decided to take advantage of a complimentary wine tasting that is a part of our membership.* Our membership allowed us to enjoy free tastings for our party of four, as well as receive a $40 gift card that we used for our lunch.

Every time I have gone to JOLO, I have been impressed with their employees. Levi presented our tasting and provided information on each selection that was both informative and entertaining. Many times at other establishments I felt like I had to wait for each new selection. Or I sometimes felt rushed. However, at JOLO the atmosphere was relaxed. We had time for questions and conversation as we enjoyed our wine.

Delicious Lunch Options

Following the tasting, we stepped outside to enjoy lunch on the patio. End Posts is JOLO’s house restaurant. They are open Thursday – Sunday and require reservations. While they do provide indoor seating, I have always loved sitting outside and enjoying the view of the lake and Pilot Mountain.

As always, the food did not disappoint. I had a fried goat cheese salad topped with grilled salmon that was cooked to perfection, matching my request to have it rare. My husband’s dish was Frutti di Mare (translated as fruit of the sea) that had salmon, shrimp, and scallops in an incredibly light olive oil lemon sauce. Our friends enjoyed the chicken alfredo and beef sliders. Some of our favorite dishes from past visits include pomme frites, flatbreads, risotto, and salmon scampi.

Wine Club and Friends

We always love heading up to JOLO. I already have a summer lunch with girlfriends on the calendar and my next wine club event is in July. Another great tip for the wine club is to convince your friends to join! As a part of the wine club, JOLO organizes pick-up parties that include a sit down meal when we come to pick up our quarterly order. We coordinate with friends in order to enjoy the outing together. It’s always a great time!

Note: JOLO is not set up for small children. They ask that you be 21 or older to attend. However, I know from experience that they will not turn away your 17 year old son who has accompanied you to lunch. It also allows service animals only. They set out to provide a refined “grown-up” experience!

*JOLO wine club memberships are offered at different levels and benefits vary.

~ Visit TMoM’s directory of local wineries HERE for more vineyard options.
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