Highly recommend for Food, Wine and Atmosphere.
I'm not involved in the restaurant or winery in any way, but I've had many meals there and tastings. So, full-disclosure: As I frequent the restaurant whenever I can, I do have a vested interest in promoting it because I want it to thrive and stay around forever for my benefit. :)
As a neighbor, I watched the winery construction take place over several years. Big Woods isn't just the stand of trees around the restaurant - it is the restaurant itself! The building was constructed with huge timbers cut from the trees on the site and joined masterfully together without any nails - just notches and pegs like the timber-frame construction of old. The high vaulted ceiling with decorative timber flourishes creates a beautiful and spacious atmosphere, while the warm colors of the wood and floor make it feel cozy at the same time. In the Winter time, there is always a fire greeting you when you come in for a meal or tastings. In the Spring, Summer and Fall, you can choose to dine outside on the restaurant's huge wrap-around porch and deck that overlooks the woods and a small pond and gazebo. In short, the atmosphere is awesome.
The dishes on the menu are always made from super-fresh, often organic ingredients grown locally - and prepared in innovative ways. You'll just have to check out the current menu on their website to see what I mean. The crazy thing is how affordable there food is despite the fine-dining atmosphere and the high-quality ingredients and preparation. There isn't a dish on the menu over $10! Most are $8 or $9. I understand that is because they want to make their restaurant affordable for their rural neighbors. That's very admirable considering they could easily make more money by running it as a high-dollar, exclusive, destination restaurant for foodie and wine-loving urbanites.
One nice thing about the affordable food prices is that it leaves more room in one's eating-out budget for enjoying their wine. I don't know if there is another winery in NC that has won as many medals for its wines in so short a time. They've got some bottles at their tasting bar that look like they might break under the weight of the medals hanging around them. Tasting the wines is always a lot of fun as their staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. In fact, the farmer who started the winery and still grows all its grapes is often there pouring the wines! Even though I've tasted their wines many times, I'll often do a tasting just for the fun of running through all the varieties and chatting with the staff.
I hope you will visit Big Woods and find that you enjoy it as much as I do.
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