A short drive up the mountain from Greenville, South Carolina, will find you on the side of a mountain in rural Cleveland. However, when you round the curve and spot a Chateau on the side of a mountain you may think you have been magically transported to France. You will soon be happily eating a Brȗleé-crusted cheesecake and sipping fresh, delicious Sangria!
Victoria Valley Vineyards is home to the Jayne family’s winery, their French-inspired Chateau, and an intimate mountaintop café. It is a beautiful drive, particularly if you use the back roads. VVV is located between Table Rock State Park and Caesar’s Head State Park, so on a road trip from Greenville in search of beautiful views, Victoria Valley is the perfect location for lunch!
Large windows in the dining areas and an outdoor covered terrace overlook the vines, growing in neat rows on the terraced hillside. In late fall the autumnal colors of the surrounding hills will make you smile. It is the perfect escape from the bustle of the city.
Location: 1360 South Saluda Road, Cleveland, South Carolina
Menu: Victoria Valley Vineyards boasts a modest café, with both indoor and outdoor dining. The Jayne’s youngest daughter, Brittany, manages the vineyard’s tasting bar and café. They have appetizers of fruit and cheeses, from Brie to Asiago to Goat, or you can order fresh focaccia bread with an olive oil dip. For the second course, select from soup or chili, and for the main course, you can pick from salads or Paninis of turkey, ham or even a classic Reuben. They also offer a vegetarian Panini, as well as kid-friendly choices such as grilled cheese or a ham and cheese, served with chips, fruit, and a juice box.
All the dishes come in generous servings and are priced reasonably. You will be satisfied, but not miserably stuffed. You should have just enough room left for dessert. Pair your food with their tasty wine selections—be sure to try the Sangria! The Great Wall 7-Layer Chocolate Cake will tempt, but who can turn down cheesecake? Local sources the provide desserts, which include the chocolate cake, cheesecake, and Double Chocolate Truffles (only $1 each!). The YUM-worthy Brȗleé Cheesecake has a lightly caramelized top drizzled with a delicate raspberry glaze and is served with fresh raspberries on the side!
Thoughts: We love the mountains, back roads, and wildlife so we were excited to find this café close to our favorite route. Their delicious wine is a real bonus!
There is a warm, intimate feeling in the Chateau, provided in part by the rich polished wooden bar in the tasting room. The spiral staircase leading down to the cellar showcases owner Les Jayne’s carpentry skills, as does the handmade bar. The staff is friendly, helpful, and welcoming. They have a unique way of marking your table for food service, too. When you place your order, the hostess gives you a bud vase, complete with a fresh flower, which is hand-painted with a number. Placed on your table, it signals servers with your order number so that when a server arrives with food, they have no doubts about where it belongs.
We had the Goat Cheese appetizer which came with grain crackers, cranberries and almonds and a bowl of Chicken Salsa Chili, served piping hot, with chunks of feta cheese melting on top and crisp chips on the plate. We shared a Black Forest Ham Panini oozing with warm Baby Swiss and topped with sautéed onions, diced tomatoes, and Dijon Aioli. All sandwiches come with a fresh vinaigrette slaw and chips. The Victoria Valley Vineyard Sangria, made from the vineyard’s Merlot mixed with dark fruit juices and a splash of citrus, complimented our lunch perfectly. Dessert was generous enough for two—the Brȗleé Cheesecake, of course! The meal was a perfect lunch for two travelers.
You can do a bit of shopping in the VVV gift shop, where you will find a number of wine-related items, as well as unique foodie gifts. Pick up a couple of truffles for the road—you’ll be glad you did!
At the end of your visit, when they say “Y’all come back,” they mean it!
Price Range: Appetizer choices run under $5, with a combination platter offered for $11. Soups are $4/cup or $6/bowl. Main courses are under $9, and the kid’s plates, less than $7. Of course, the Victoria Valley Vineyard wine selections are available by the glass or by the bottle, with prices starting at $7 for a glass, or $13 for an entire bottle. Desserts choices are $7-$9.
For Pinterest: Save this to your favorite winery or road trip boards. You know you’ll want to stop off for lunch.
Author & Photographer bios:
Jo Clark is a full-time business teacher, freelance travel writer, photographer, food, and wine lover from South Carolina’s Grand Strand. She loves history and learning about the culture of travel locations, including the local flavors unique to each spot, always seeking places that are off the beaten path. She is a member of the ITWPA (International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance.)
Dr. Darrel Mellies is also from South Carolina’s Grand Strand. He is a retired chiropractor, full-time security officer, and photographer. He loves to read and study photography techniques, and loves to travel and is always ready to go. He has often said, “I’d rather travel than eat when I’m hungry!”