Embracing My New Surroundings

Having lived in North Carolina since 1996, I have become accustomed to having wineries at my finger tips.  The wine industry is alive and well in North Carolina with almost 120 wineries in their repertoire now.  I live within 15 minutes of some great wineries and could easily run out on a Friday afternoon and hang out with good friends and sip on some of NC’s finest wines.  That’s not so easy here in South Carolina.  The weather here is not conducive to grape growing because of the sandy soil and extreme humidity so there are only 12 (yes, I said 12) wineries in the whole state.  😦

But I have decided to embrace the wine culture here so I started by visiting my first South Carolina winery, Island Winery on Hilton Head Island.  I was pleasantly surprised!

pulled from Island Winery website.

pulled from Island Winery website.

Island winery has quite the wine list, ranging from whites like Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio to red wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Carmenere.  They also carry some sweeter Southern favorites.  My suspicions were confirmed – the grapes are sourced and delivered to the winery immediately for crushing.  They come from some of the best wine regions around the globe.  Riesling is sourced from the shores of Lake Michigan to the upper regions of Lake Ontario in New York.  They get Zinfandel from Lodi, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the Suisun Valley and Sangiovese from Amador County – all part of northern California.  They also get Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Carmenere from the Curico Valley in Chile.

IS wines 1

The winery is owned by Loren and Georgene Mortimer.  If you recognize the name, the Mortimer’s also own Westfall Winery in Montague, New Jersey.  The vineyard at Westfall Winery was first planted in the fall of 2000.  The Mortimer’s spend the hot summers in New Jersey and then head South to Hilton Head for the winters.  Some of the same wines are sold at both wineries.

Island Winery offers fun evenings for locals and tourists alike.  Each evening Monday through Thursday they have Happy Hour starting at 4pm where they serve wine flights consisting of three different wines along with a cheese plate.  Every Friday they offer a barrel tasting featuring two different wines during the tasting along with your choice of a glass of wine and a cheese plate.

The winery also has a selection of “Lowcountry Specialty Wines” consisting of their own blend of Sangria called Southern Passion and Peach on the Beach – perfect for mixing with prosecco to make a drink similar to a bellini.  But my favorite is their Margarita Wine.  It tasted just like a margarita, all I needed was some salt on the rim and a lime.  What a great, refreshing summer drink!

Friendly couple tasting along side me

Friendly couple tasting along side me

I have had homemade Margarita Wine before, but had to get creative and make a Sangria Styled Margarita with it.  I couldn’t drink it “straight.”  But this wine is delicious.  Something tells me it will be one of those fun items on the menu at Latitude Wine Bar!

I wan to say a special, “Thank You,” to Linda Biersack for guiding me through my tasting and for all the great tips regarding the South Carolina wine lifestyle.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. the winegetter
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 18:27:35

    I think it is always worth at least checking out what is going around us when it comes to wine…good call!


  2. Fine Wine Glasses and More
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 21:35:41

    I’m gonna have to check out the Jersey Winery. I think it’s great that you want serve local wines in your wine bar, it’s important to support our local businesses.


  3. April
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 11:31:25

    I am glad you are fitting in nicely. Can’t wait to check it out with you on our next visit.


    • Red Wine Diva
      Jun 28, 2013 @ 18:53:13

      I have met some really nice people and everyone is so encouraging about the wine bar. It just feels right! Can’t wait for you guys to come see everything, but we need to actually get some work done and get closer to opening.


  4. Cliff
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 11:52:45

    We’ll have to check out the winery when we move to SC next year. We visited one of the SC wineries in Newberry, Enoree River, last year. They also made sweet wine from local grapes and imported grapes from Chile for their dry wines.


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