Stony Knoll Vineyards
We always reach out to winery owners before we visit for the first time. We like to introduce ourselves and explain what we do. Sometimes we hear nothing back. I understand this is harvest season and an extremely hectic time around the vineyard. When I emailed Jonah Hoosier, manager of Stony Knoll Vineyards, he immediately emailed me back. We made our plans to visit and we did a little research. The land that is now Stony Knoll Vineyards started out as a means to survive, growing food to feed the family in 1896. By the 1940s the land was cleared with hand tools and tobacco was planted. As most people know that during this time tobacco was the king cash crop and remained so until the 1980s. Some farmers started to see the decline of tobacco and moved to other crops. Within the next 10 years Van Coe would have a dream of growing grape vines on his rich tobacco land. By 2001 he planted 5 grape varieties; Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Niagara. A few years later the tasting room and winery opened and they began growing more varieties such as Merlot, Chambourcin, Viognier, Arandell and Corot Noir. One question I asked Jonah was regarding how the decades of growing tobacco affected growing grapes. His response was yet again learning something new. Tobacco is a nutrient hungry plant so a lot of effort went into maintaining a healthy soil. This process helped transition to grape growing, having a good foundation on which to start. Also farming techniques are similar in growing both crops. Perhaps the most underrated aspect is the 6 generations of farmers passing down knowledge and a commitment to understanding the environment and weather. This can’t be taught in a classroom. It’s that “gut” feeling.
You will not find a constant stream of food trucks or live music at Stony Knoll. Jonah’s vision of the winery is a place to gather with friends and family and enjoy wine. It’s not a concert venue. There are great spaces on the property to bring picnics. The tasting room is beautifully decorated and ideal for small events. It is spacious enough for several groups to socialize. The tasting room is open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-6pm.
When we stopped by we met his mom, Holly, who is the tasting room host. She is a delightful lady who guided our tasting. Their tastings are a flight of 6 wines for $12. She called down to Jonah who was working in the vineyard. He came up and sat with us as we worked through our tasting. He might be the most down to earth person I have ever met. He explained how he and his wife are the 6th generation on the property after deciding to leave the business field. He talked about his wines, bottling process and how this spring/summer rains affected his crops. It is easy to get caught up in the winery/tasting room experience and overlook the work required to create the product. Good crops don’t just happen there is trial and error and dealing with Mother Nature issues. I chose 2 whites, 3 reds and 1 sangria for my tasting. The sangria was made by Holly using their Red Table wine. I brought home their 2019 Stainless Steel Chardonnay. Charles enjoyed their private stock reserve tasting. He liked the Master Exquisite Black Oak Stick 2019 Chambourcin.
In 2007 they had to make a decision regarding the future of the original home place located on the property. Their choices were to tear it down, which wasn't popular with anyone in the family. Too many memories to destroy it. They decided on reviving it and converted it to an Airbnb, aptly named The Wine Lodge.
When planning your visit to Stony Knoll check their website for the latest details and cabin information. Click here visit their website www.stonyknollvineyards.com