Roaring River Vineyards becomes local "must-visit'" destination
When Tom and Josephine Silvey saw the property on which Roaring River Vineyards now sits in 2001, they knew it was “the one.â€
The couple initially planned on building a weekend cottage for family getaways, but after considering adding a few grape vines and attending a one-day course on viticulture and enology at Surry Community College in Dobson, their plans changed. The Silveys immediately got to work making the Wilkes County destination what it is today: a French-inspired winery and restaurant complete with lodging and event spaces on the banks of the Roaring River that attracts locals and tourists alike.
“This piece of property had everything we were looking for,â€ Josephine says. “It had the river, the hillside, lots of trees and plenty of acreage, plus a little history; it included what was left of the Brewer Mill gristmill and sawmill [built by German immigrants around 1870] and the Miller’s House. It’s absolutely beautiful, and it actually reminds me of where I grew up in France.â€
Labor of Love
Located in Traphill, Roaring River Vineyards took approximately 15 years – and plenty of hard work – to come to life.
As they were beginning to turn the 50-acre property into a vineyard and winery, the Silveys were living in Charlotte and then Orlando, but they returned to Wilkes County often until they permanently relocated here over the course of 2011 and 2012. The couple and their team of local craftsmen and specialty contractors cleared and prepared the land, planted the vineyard, remodeled existing structures and built new facilities, including an outdoor event venue called The Gathering Place that features a stage and dance floor.
The Silveys also built a restaurant and a wine tasting room, and they created several short-term rental properties as well as hiking trails and a private beach on the river.
“All of our buildings are located along the river, and that’s the real beauty of this place – it’s all on the water,â€ Josephine says. “The sound of the water as it makes its way down from Stone Mountain and passes by is so beautiful, and it creates a wonderful, unique environment.â€
Opening the Vineyard
Although the Silveys’ vacation rentals have been available for several years, Roaring River Vineyards’ tasting room and restaurant officially opened to the public in the summer of 2016, completing the visitor experience. To say it has become a must-visit destination is an understatement.
Today guests can sample several wine varieties and try the selection of beers on tap, and they can enjoy small plates or a full meal at Chez Josephine, which serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Visitors can participate in outdoor activities like fishing, bocce ball, horseshoes and croquet, and the property’s beach includes zero-gravity and Adirondack chairs. Josephine says it’s the perfect place to relax with a book.
“Visiting Roaring River Vineyards is a very restful experience,â€ says Linda Cheek, president of the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce. “You can sit outside while you’re eating at the restaurant or drinking wine and watch and listen to the river. It’s so peaceful and relaxing, and it’s a gorgeous place to be.â€
Roaring River Vineyards visitors also have plenty of places to stay overnight on the property, with two three-room suites, a four-bedroom space with wrap-around porches and a private cabin. Those accommodations, combined with the destination’s event spaces and picturesque scenery, make it a top spot for parties and large gatherings as well as for those in search of a quiet retreat.
“We are a full-service resort in the Yadkin Valley, which is drawing more and more people who love wine and the experience of visiting wineries,â€ Josephine says. “Along with serving delicious food and drink, we offer tours and host rehearsal dinners, weddings, corporate events and more. There’s nothing we won’t do, and we are happy to accommodate our guests’ needs. Whatever it takes, we will make it happen because the customer experience is our No. 1 priority.â€