A taste of rusticity
On the banks of the Roaring River in Traphill, a little slice of French-German heaven is nestled not far from Stone Mountain State Park. Roaring River Vineyard is a combination mountain resort, vineyard and restaurant inspired by co-owner Joséphine Silvey’s childhood home in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. Joséphine and her husband and co-owner, Tom, fell in love with the property and bought it in 2001. Once occupied by Brewer Mills, this historic site dates back to 1870 with the tasting room and restaurant built on the foundation of the gristmill that once stood there and burned down around 2000. Standing on its cantilevered deck, you can see the ruins of what was once a sawmill across the river, and along either side of the banks stand the remains of the dam that was destroyed in the great flood of 1940. Initially planning to turn the site into a family retreat, the Silveys’ vision changed when they decided to plant a few grapes after attending a viticulture seminar at Surry Community College.
The Silveys next acquired a partially finished house alongside the mill site that they renovated into upscale lodging space. Able to accommodate up to 14 people for events, the rooms and suites are available to rent through VRBO. Guests have access to loads of amenities including an outdoor fireplace, decks on the river, a private beach and some of the best trout fishing in North Carolina. A multipurpose event space features a Pavilion, Party Place and outdoor wedding pergola, all on the river. The Pavilion is a large covered dance floor and stage with the Party Place providing a small, intimate indoor facility. The small cottage near the wedding site serves as the perfect honeymoon suite. This picturesque place officially opened in 2016.
Chez Joséphine’s occupies the same space as the tasting room and offers a fusion of American and French-German foods. Enjoy cozy indoor seating complete with a fireplace or eat — or just have a glass of wine — outside on an expansive three-story covered deck overlooking the river.
The grapevines occupy the top of a hill, where the Silveys live, along with their three vineyard dogs. The first vines in this boutique vineyard were planted in 2009 on the 50-acre site and as you enter the beautiful ivy-covered stone entrance, you can see them covering the hillside: chardonnay, viognier, traminette, merlot, chambourcin, cabernet sauvignon and Norton. Before the manicured vineyards occupied this spot, Catawba Indians once trod this land; remnants of their presence occasionally appear in the form of pottery pieces and arrowheads. Tucked away in the woods are the ruins of a moonshine still, one of many that dot the hillsides. Added to Tom’s patient cultivation of truffles — which he anticipates harvesting any day now — one wonders what kind of vintages this varied and historically rich terroir might produce. — Lynn Donovan
Roaring River Vineyards, 493 Brewer Mill Road, Traphill; (336) 957-2332,