About Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery
A Great History
In the early 1920’s John Hanes of the Hanes Hosiery Mills Company bought a one-room cabin on over one thousand acres of land surrounding a small stream called Grassy Creek, just outside of Elkin, North Carolina, in today’s Yadkin Valley. Hanes’s sister, Lucy, married a second generation principle of the Chatham Manufacturing Company, Thurmond Chatham, in the mid-1920’s. These two influential and wealthy families began converting the cabin and property at Grassy Creek into a stylish retreat for vacationing and hunting – the Klondike Cabins.
The Chatham family later bought Klondike Farm from the Hanes family. The Log Cabin became the official guest house for Chatham Manufacturing Company. Thurmond Chatham became friends with an avid dairyman Mr. J.C. Penny, and Klondike Farm became a working dairy farm known for the “best chocolate milk in the world.”
Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery
A New Chapter
Building on the history of the Klondike Cabins is a new chapter: Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery. Founded in 2003 by Derrill and Lori Rice, and Jim and Cynthia Douthit, the two couples realized that they had a unique opportunity to combine a love for the local history and a passion for wine. The historical grounds and buildings are situated in one of the United States newest and most exciting wine-growing regions, the Yadkin Valley.
Yadkin Valley – An American Viticulture Area
Yadkin Valley was designated as a federally recognized American Viticulture Area (AVA) in February 2003 by the US Treasury Department. Like other, more famous AVA’s such as Napa Valley or Sonoma County in California, Yadkin Valley in North Carolina possesses unique climates, terrain, and soils that combine to create distinctive, world-class wines.
The Yadkin Valley AVA consists of 2,212 square miles (1,416,600 acres) that are significantly different from north to south, and east to west in soil composition, rainfall, and temperature ranges that justify the designation as a unique grape-growing region. The AVA covers all of Wilkes, Surry, Yadkin and parts of Stokes, Forsyth, Davie and Davidson counties, defined by most of the upper Yadkin Valley drainage basin. Towns in the AVA include Advance, Boomer, Booneville, Clemmons, Dobson, Elkin, Jonesville, King, Lewisville, Lexington, Mocksville, Mount Airy, North Wilkesboro, Pilot Mountain, Pinnacle, Ronda, Wilkesboro, Winston-Salem, and Yadkinville. Currently there are roughly 15 or so bonded wineries, as well as several that will open within the next few years. The focus of most vineyard plantings and the subsequent wines have been with varietal grapes, including the most popular types of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, viognier, riesling, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sangiovese, and syrah.
The Birth of a Vineyard and Winery
Vineyard planting at Grassy Creek began in April, 2003, near the Klondike Cabins, and continues to this day. Varietals being planted include cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, sangiovese, syrah, viognier, pinot grigio, grenache, and others. Besides the estate vineyard, Winemaker Jim Douthit is using grapes from his own personal vineyard for Grassy Creek wines. The first wine bottled was from the 2004 vintage, our Red Barn Blend released to the general public in 2005.
Besides the famous Klondike Cabins, the historical grounds host a lovely old red horse barn. The Red Barn is a classic farm building with symmetrical wings flanking the main section, large sliding white doors for farm equipment to pass through, and a chipped, white cupola on the slate gray roof for ventilation. Inside, horizontal, 2″, natural wooden slats for wall coverings create a warm interior. The Red Barn is two floors high, and has a loft for the storage of hay or grains in its past life. Situated picturesquely among the trees facing the estate vineyard and the Klondike Cabins, the Red Barn has been renovated into the winery’s tasting room for the public to visit. Tours and tastings are available to the public by appointment. Our wines are also available for purchase in our store.
Adjacent to the Klondike Cabins (on the approach in) is an historical, majestic white barn that was an operating dairy farm for many decades.
Recognizing that the winery owners were seeking to preserve the beauty and history of the region, and protect it from over-development or ruin, the White Barn now functions as the Grassy Creek winery. Working with experienced winery architects, Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery are further renovating the White Barn for more efficient winemaking operations, preserving the history and heritage of the interior and exterior while creating a new chapter in its long history.