By Matt de Simone
The Showalter Farm in Troutville was once one of the many places in Botetourt County to find fresh tomatoes and wheat. Years later, the Showalter family turned four and a half acres of land into a working vineyard. They have established Stoney Brook Vineyards, which will soon house a distribution and event center that will host engagements for the entire family.
Jim Showalter and his wife, Judy, their daughters Traci Showalter and Carrie Vernon, and Carrie’s husband, Kevin Vernon, control the vineyard’s operations.
The vineyard held its grand opening celebration two weeks ago. A little over 200 people attended opening weekend to enjoy Stoney Brook Vineyard’s selections of nine different white and red wines from Cabernet Franc (a local favorite) to Petit Manseng and various red and white blends. Additionally, Stoney Brook offers peach and blackberry sangria as well. They also have a Rosé made from Viognier, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.
“The sangria went over well [at the opening],” co-owner Jim Showalter said. “I bet we went through 30 gallons of each that Saturday.”
The family meticulously arranges their vineyard to ensure the best product possible. For five years, Showalter Farm strictly grew grapes and sold them to wineries in Northern Virginia. Recently, the vineyard reached a “custom crush” agreement with Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery in Charlottesville to produce Stoney Brook’s wine.
“We’re a boutique winery,” co-owner Kevin Vernon admitted. “We take care of the vineyard.”
Kevin mentioned that the family would go through and remove “laterals” from the grapes to ensure there is less of a vegetable flavor usually found in Cabernet Franc. Customers enjoy their blend.
After several trips to Prince Michel to taste the product, Jim and his family discovered the right flavors for their brand. Currently, construction is underway for a distribution center on the farm. Soon, Stoney Brook Vineyards will make their wine. They plan for completion of the distribution center, tasting room, and event center by the fall.
Local visitors also enjoy the location of the vineyard. Stoney Brook hopes to bring in people around the Roanoke Valley for various events. This summer, the vineyard plans to host food trucks and live music with social distancing regulations in place. Kevin mentioned the design of these recent events is to “get their feet wet” with plans to host local artists and music for events in the near future.
On June 5 and 6, Stoney Brook Vineyards hosts the Island Wheels food truck based out of Covington. Saturday, July 3, they host the Ferguson Family Provisions seafood food truck. At the end of July, Lazy Bulldog Food Truck and Bistro will visit the farm.
For more information on Stoney Brook Vineyards, visit stoneybrookvineyards.com.