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Vacationers can experience a true taste of the Grand Strand by visiting La Belle Amie Vineyard in nearby Little River. Located on a 38-acre farm about 15 miles north of Myrtle Beach near the North Carolina border, La Belle Amie is worth the trip to sample house wines, tour the scenic vineyard and wine-making facilities, and celebrate at one of the many weekday parties or weekend festivals.
This small, family owned and operated vineyard's private label is Crazy Sisters, a reference to the relatives whose roots on the property date back to the 1800s. The founder and owner decided 20 years ago to transform the former tobacco farm into a sprawling vineyard producing native grapes for wine-making, although a rash of hurricanes delayed early production. Now La Belle Amie has three vineyards spread out over the premises, and on-site operations cover wine-making from the vine to the bottle.
Featuring more than 20 house-made wines ranging from reds and whites to dessert wines, La Belle Amie offers something for wine drinkers of all tastes. Visit the Tasting Room for a relaxing atmosphere to sample some of La Belle Amie's products. Regular wine-tasting sessions are held Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Due to South Carolina law, patrons must pay a small fee, in this case $3 for six wine samples, and you can pay an additional $2 if you want to keep your souvenir glass.
Gather at the bar with friendly wine-tenders and fellow visitors to take your taste buds on a tour of La Belle Amie's lineup. Experienced and knowledgeable stewards can introduce you to the five wine-tasting steps and teach you how to recognize certain characteristics of wines by aroma and flavor. Try a wide variety of wines and narrow your search down to a couple of bottles you can carry home as gifts for friends and family back home, or to add to your own private cellar or collection.
La Belle Amie's adjoining gift shop allows visitors to pick up bottles, accessories, apparel and more to remember their trip, and self-guided tours of the property and operation are available. Come to La Belle Amie on Wine Wednesday for half-price tasting sessions, or on Oldies Thursdays and Wine Down Fridays to enjoy a festive atmosphere featuring wine and song from 1 to 5 p.m. Enjoy wine on the outdoor lawn with live music on the stage and good food available from the grill and on the fruit and cheese trays.
La Belle Amie also knows how to throw a party, and it does so with a series of festivals held weekly or biweekly throughout the year. Guests pay a small admission fee to visit the property and experience the fun of relaxing on the spacious lawn in front of the outdoor band shell. Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket or beach chair for comfort, feast on barbecue and other cuisine, dance barefoot in the grass when they get the urge, and dress up and participate in the themed festivals.
The summer festival schedule includes the May 28 Memorial Saturday Music & Cookout ($3), the June 4 American Pie Oldies Music Fest ($8), the June 18 Summer’s First Saturday Cookout ($3), the July 2 Independence Saturday Cookout ($3), the July 16 Summer Parrot Head Festival ($8), the July 30 Mid-Summer Saturday Cookout ($3), the Aug. 6 Whole Lotta Shakin’ Oldies Music Fest ($8), the Aug. 20 Summer Breeze Music Fest ($8), and the Sept. 3 Labor Day Saturday Music & Cookout ($3).
After a fun day at La Belle Amie, catch a sober ride back to Ocean Reef and bring along a bottle or two so you can drink a glass on your oceanfront balcony before calling it a night. It’s just another way to enjoy your Myrtle Beach vacation experience at Ocean Reef Resort.