9 essential wines for a spring wine tasting


9 Essential Wines for Spring Tastings

The first day of spring is March 20, but these sweet wines turn any time before, during or after the season’s official start into a Spring Break Party.

But these wines also have an effortless elegance that elevates Easter and Mother’s Day brunch or feels at home on that first warm evening when a honeysuckle scent renews your soul.

Mix and match from the list at the end of this post or save yourself the trouble and get all of them, plus snacks, in the Duplin Winery Spring Wine Tasting Kit. The package is only available for a limited time and has everything you need for a tasting party (wouldn’t Mom love that this Mother’s Day!?!). You get cheese straws, coconut wine slushie fixings, the salsa you need to make Duplin’s famous cheese dip and a pretty tea towel to dress up your table.

Cute spring flowers decorate the kit’s tasting sheet, which you can copy for friends to take home. Or show them where to download the tasting sheet right to their phones. Use the video above to guide your tasting event, saving you the trouble of being super host. 

How to taste wine like a Duplin pro

See. Swirl. Sniff. Sip. Savor. Use this 5-step system for each wine on the tasting sheet included in your kit. Here's how. 

See: First, hold a glass of wine up to a light and look at the color. It will allude to the variety of grapes used and what the wine will taste like. Is it Scuppernong? Nobel? Carlos? Another? Color also indicates flavor. A bright, saturated hue often means a more intense flavor. See if you can guess the grape and flavor before you sip.

Swirl: Consider the wine's body next. Swirl the wine in your glass to determine if it is light or heavy. You're looking for the viscous streaks running down the side of the glass after you swirl. They're called "legs." Sweeter wines will leave streaks to cling or move slowly. That means a heavier body.

Sniff: After you swirl, really dip your nose into the glass and inhale the aroma, which wine pros call the "bouquet" or "nose." Pausing to experience the bouquet heightens your senses and anticipation of the first sip. Think about what you are smelling. Is it fruity? What kind of fruit? Berries? Ripe banana? Musky honeydew melon? Pure grape? Are you getting floral notes like honeysuckle or gardenia? See if you pick up unexpected smells like pine or fall leaves. Describe the bouquet and discuss it.  

Sip: Take a sip slightly larger than normal and hold the wine in your mouth for 3-5 seconds. Let the wine coat the tongue and the inside of your mouth. Wine releases more flavors as it warms on your taste buds. Before swallowing, purse your lips and breathe in gently, allowing the air to travel across the wine in your mouth to get the full flavor profile.

Do the flavors you're experiencing match the wine's nose? When and where are you tasting those flavors? Are you getting, say, banana bread on the first sip and then astringency or acidity at the end, which is called "the finish." Where do flavors hit you? On the tongue? On the side of your mouth.

Think back to the wine's body. Compare the texture of different wines, how they feel in your mouth. Light as water or heavier, like the texture of sweet iced tea? If you're sampling a sparkling wine, do the bubbles feel fine or medium in size. Compare your experience to the wine's description and see if it matches.

Savor: As you continue sipping, note how the sensation is slightly different from what you experienced when the wine was resting in your mouth on the first sip. This is the point when you taste and feel the wine's finish. As you continue tasting, note how the wine pairs with the Duplin Gourmet crackers and Muscadine Pineapple Habenero dip. See which wine you like best with those snacks and others you may be enjoying during your at-home or virtual tasting. Cheers!

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Spring Tasting KitSpring Tasting Kit

Spring Home Wine Tasting Kit

Spring Home Tasting SheetSpring Home Tasting Sheet

Spring Home Wine Tasting Sheet

Now, let's begin your wine tasting!



Carlos Williams, a N.C. State University professor and his team developed the namesake grape in Magnolia. The grape is named after Williams’ hometown, Magnolia, N.C. This semi-sweet, fruity wine in 1989 earned Duplin its first international prize. In 2006, Martha Stewart Living magazine billed it as one of the summer’s best wines. Note the medium body, sweet start and clean finish. Magnolia might remind you of riesling. It pairs really well with spicy foods.



New World explorers of the 1500s couldn’t believe so many wild grapes grew along the shore of what would become North Carolina. That same century, someone on Roanoke Island planted what has been named the Mothervine, a Scuppernong thought to be America’s first cultivated grapevine. Duplin acquired cuttings from the nearly 450-year-old vine in the early 2000s and released this sweet, fruity wine in 2008. With just one vineyard of Mothervine grapes, Duplin releases a limited amount of this wine.

Muscadine MoscatoMuscadine Moscato

Muscadine Moscato

Three years in the making, Muscadine Moscato sent our winemakers on a search for the finest moscato wine to meld with Duplin's famous muscadine. "We're the first to do this, and no one can do it like we can," Dave says. "Muscadine Moscato is the best wine we've ever made, hands down.”

Smooth and sweet, with the Muscat grape’s natural hints of nectarine and white peach, Muscadine Moscato is beautifully sophisticated yet at home in any setting. Lightly chilled or ice-cold, this wine pairs with everything from filet to fried chicken.

Beaufort BayBeaufort Bay

Beaufort Bay

One of our estate wines, Beaufort Bay is made from Duplin’s Estate Scuppernong grapes. After the first sip, many customers remark how it reminds them of sitting underneath their grandparent’s grape vines, eating the fresh harvest while staring at the beautiful blue Carolina sky.

With a strong, fruity bouquet taste, this white estate wine is sweet and well loved in our coastal region.

Bald Head RedBald Head Red

Bald Head Red

Inspired by the beauty of Carolina's Bald Head Island and a few bald heads around our winery, Bald Head Red is a blend of carefully selected native grapes blended with Pink Catawba grapes. 

Delight your palate with this light-bodied blush wine with a mellow start and floral finish with a hint of citrus.

Sangria RoséSangria Rosé

Sangria Rosé

So delicious fans call it “God Bless America.” This blush is thanks to Heritage Club members who told us time and again how they blended Duplin Red Sangria and White Sangria at home to create a delicious new wine. Fruity, mellow and just sweet enough, with a hint of citrus, Sangria Rosé is refreshing poured into a pitcher full of frozen strawberries. Pair it with late summer/early fall dishes such as steamed shrimp, chilled oysters, grilled salmon, butternut squash soup and spicy barbecue chicken sandwiches.

Sweet PoppySweet Poppy

Sweet Poppy

Sweet Poppy is fun, fizzy and blooming with a hint of peach. The first sip is full of harmonious fruity flavors followed by a satisfyingly fizzy finish. How do you think the bubbles affect the flavor of the wine? Also, ponder the story behind that beautiful red flower on the bottle. Red corn poppies have long been a symbolic tribute to our troops. Duplin put a red corn poppy on the wine’s label to honor service members, past and present.

Sweet CarolineSweet Caroline

Sweet Caroline

The ruby-hued sweetest of our sweet wines blends Pink Catawba and Niagara grapes for a velvety start and floral finish. The essence of Southern hospitality, Sweet Caroline is the wine for lingering after dinner. Try it with a slice of our Chef Tabatha’s Famous Cheesecake.

Peach Cotton CandyPeach Cotton Candy

Peach Cotton Candy

Cotton candy plus peach is finer than sugar on a funnel cake. Fruity notes of peach and vanilla pirouette smoothly around sweet berries. Make Cotton Candy Peach ice cubes to float in a glass of this delectable wine. Barbecue night is better with a cold glass of half Cotton Candy Peach and half sweet iced tea, plus a little ginger. Try a beautifully layered Cotton Candy Peach & Blueberry Wine Slushie made with frozen peaches and blueberries.

Piña Colada SweetzerPiña Colada Sweetzer

Piña Colada Sweetzer

Jump on the all-things coconut trend with this frosty treat that fits the mood. It’s a splash of pineapple that adds extra island flair. Blend it with Duplin's Magnolia wine.

Savannah Grace Taste of the Bay Cheese StrawsSavannah Grace Taste of the Bay Cheese Straws

Savannah Grace Taste of the Bay Cheese Straws

Savannah Grace Taste of the Bay Cheese Straws are the traditional flavor cheese straw and are lightly dusted with Old Bay Seasoning. The pairing is unbelievable. If you like the flavor of this original seasoning you will have to try these!

Savannah Grace Traditional Cheese StrawsSavannah Grace Traditional Cheese Straws

Muscadine Pineapple Habanero Salsa

Our Muscadine Pineapple Habanero Salsa mixed with cream cheese creates a scrumptious cheese dip that pairs perfectly with our wine tastings. Between wines, eat a few crackers with the dip to help cleanse your palate. This tasty recipe is super easy to make and even better to eat! 

Duplin Tea TowelDuplin Tea Towel

Duplin Tea Towel

Perfect for tea or wine time, these Duplin tea towels can be useful to have on hand. Excellent souvenir for the Duplin wine lover.

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