Foothills’ Latest Winery Takes Root at Established Vineyards

MORGANTON, N.C. – Silver Fork Winery, newly opened in the rolling foothills of Western North Carolina, offers wine aficionados the best of both worlds.

That’s because the well-appointed facility itself is brand new, while the vineyards supplying grapes for its eight Bordeaux-style wines are more than two decades old.

Owners Jennifer Foulides and Ed Wisnieski opened the winery April 6 in a bucolic setting at the confluence of Silver Creek and White Fork Creek. The 32-acre parcel includes five-plus acres of established vineyards planted and maintained by former owner Larry Kehoe.

The new owners relocated to Morganton from the Northeast, leaving the hectic life of New York City to cultivate second careers in North Carolina’s burgeoning wine industry.

The couple acquired the property three years ago during an exploratory trip to the area. They responded to a listing for Kehoe’s property, saw its potential, and purchased it on the spot.

“We just had a good feeling this was the place,” says Wisnieski. “And things couldn’t have come together any better. The vines have been here for 21 years and Larry is still with us today. He comes by once a week. We couldn’t have done it without him.”

With guidance from the former owner and a lot of hard work on their part, Foulides and Wisnieski have succeeded in the first phase of their new venture.

A rustically elegant tasting room was built as the centerpiece of the operation, offering indoor and outdoor seating, a lounge area and expansive views of the vineyards.

Meanwhile, an aging structure was gutted and repurposed into the winery, while the cellar to the main house was converted into a conventional wine cellar.

Foulides, a chemical engineer by trade, handles most of the winemaking. Wisnieski leads the way on the viticulture side.

“We had to divide and conquer,” he says.

Silver Fork Winery’s first vintage includes eight varietals. There are two Chardonnays, plus a Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chambourcin, dry Rosé, and a blended red wine.

“We’re doing all dry wines – no semi-sweet or sweet wines,” Wisnieski says. “All have been very well received. The response has exceeded our expectations.”

The winery also offers a full slate of activities. There’s a regular schedule of live music, food pairings catered by local restaurants, and even a summer movie series under the stars.

Tasting room hours are: noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; and noon to 6 p.m. weekends.

For info on Silver Fork Winery, call (828) 391-8783, or visit: