Experience a true taste of the coastal Carolinas by sipping some locally-made wines and enjoying a day of fun and festivities at La Belle Amie Vineyard in Little River, SC. Located just 15 miles north of Myrtle Beach on 38 acres near the Carolina border, this small family-owned winery offers an extensive list of wines, ranging from all the traditional favorites to unique wines made from locally grown grapes and other fruits.
Winery well-hidden, but worth the search — Photo courtesy of La Belle Amie Vineyard
Visitors can take self-guided tours of the scenic property, which is surrounded by coastal forests and wetlands, on Mondays through Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Guided tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am. Reservations for guided tours are required.
The highlight of the tour is sampling some of the 20 or so wines offered by La Belle Amie. A quirky South Carolina law prohibits any business from giving away free alcohol to customers, so the vineyard issues a small fee for wine tastings.
Wine tastings are available Mondays through Saturdays from 10 am to 5:30 pm for only $5, which includes a souvenir wine glass. Tastings are half price on Wednesdays.
The tasting room — Photo courtesy of La Belle Amie Vineyard
One of the best ways to enjoy La Belle Amie in all its glory is by attending one of the many music and cultural events hosted by the vineyard. Bands play on an outdoor stage before intimate crowds in a relaxed setting, and festival attendees gather around the bonfire while sipping on house wines and microbrews.
From winter bonfires to music festivals, La Belle Amie knows how to put on a shindig. These family-friendly festivals are held every other Saturday during the summer and fall seasons before starting back up in February. Festival-goers should bring a blanket or lawn chair for comfort.
The remainder of the 2012 events include Sept. 22 (Dog Days Blues & Jazz Fest), Oct. 13 (Rock Back The Clock Music Festival), Oct. 27 (Autumn Big Band Celebration), Nov. 10 (Island Fever Music Festival), Nov. 17 (WineStock) and Dec. 8 (Winter Blues Festival).
After taking a January break, La Belle Amie's 2013 lineup begins Feb. 23 (Winter Parrot Head Fest), March 9 (Remember When Oldies Fest), March 23 (Blues & Jazz Fest), April 6 (Fools Rush In Oldies Music Fest), April 20 (Spring Swing/Big Band Fest) and May 4 (Key West Music & Wine Fest). Admission fees vary and all are subject to the weather.