Island Winery of Hilton Head Island

My Bride and I have not been great travelers, but we are slowly attempting to at least try a wine now, from every state that we visit.  So, we have just visited and tasted our sixth state winery, we have been to more states, but this is relatively a new desire of mine.  As of 2023, forty-eight states produce less than eleven percent of the total United States’ wine production.  Living in Michigan, which has about one-hundred-forty wineries, we are seventh in production (0.319%) and fourth largest grape growing state.  I have empathy for the wineries in other states.

Island Winery is a labor of love for Loren and Georgene Mortimer who met while students at Ithaca College in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine region of New York State.  After college and a wedding, they opened up Westfall Winery in Montague, New Jersey in 2000.  The winery was a seasonal business and they would spend the winters on Hilton Head Island and in 2006 they opened up Island Winery and for ten years they divided their time between the two; and finally got it down to one winery.  All grapes are shipped fresh to the winery. They have an automatic crusher/destemmer machine.  They do small batch fermentation and select yeasts for certain desirable traits for the batch of grapes and lasts from one to two weeks.  Fruit wines and their white wines are aged in Stainless Steel tanks,  the fruit is aged for a couple of months and the whites for about a year.  The red wines are aged in a mix of French and American Oak barrels for eighteen to twenty-four months.  Then the labels are affixed by hand, six at a time, and most of the labels are designed by local artists.

When we were there, they were offering three whites, three red and four fruit wines and you could do a tasting of six wines for ten dollars.  I was told by the lady at the counter that there was no AVA for any of the wines.  We started with the Harvest White Sweet Muscadine NV, a grape grown on the island.  A pale straw colored wine with notes of muskiness and on the palate notes of sweet tree fruit and a sweet finish.  Next, we had Riesling 2021 from the Rattlesnake Hills of Columbia Valley, Washington.  A soft straw color with notes of ripe pears and citrus.  On the palate ripe pears right through the finish.  The last white was Sea Island White NV which was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.  A soft golden color offering notes of melon and honeysuckle while on the palate, a nice crisp dry wine with tones of citrus through the finish.  The first red was the Grenache 2020 a dark rose color wine with notes of berries, and on the palate red fruits, very light and vibrant with no tannins and a fruit finish.  The Vintner’s Blend NV was a Rhone style with a blend of Washington State Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.  A deep garnet wine with notes of red fruits and spice.  On the palate tones of red cherries, raspberries and truffles, soft tannins and a short finish of fruit.  The last red wine was Joe’s Reserve with a blend of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Verdot and Viognier.  A dark garnet wine with notes of dark fruits and spices.  On the palate tones of black cherry and black plums with medium tannin and nice finish of fruit. An interesting place to visit and they even encourage that you bring a lunch and picnic on the grounds.            

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
This entry was posted in Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.