Stonewall Creek is probably the smallest winery in Georgia. Carl and Carla Fackler, the owners, were drawn to the Northeast Georgia mountains by the cool climate, clean air and relatively easy access from their home of 30 years in Atlanta. They visited friends many times over the years at Lake Burton and Lake Rabun, both Georgia Power lakes created by a series of dams in the early 1900s to run Atlanta’s electric streetcars. During a visit at the Tiger Lodge in the late 1990s, they stopped by a neighbor’s house for a barrel tasting of local wine. On their next visit, they tasted Tiger Mountain Vineyards’ 1999 Rabun Red. It was a well-made wine from local vinifera grapes and showed the region’s potential.
The Facklers purchased land in 2004 in what was an old apple orchard four miles west of Tiger. They began their plans to plant grapes and a garden. On the recommendation of John Ezzard at Tiger Mountain Vineyards, they chose Malbec and planted the first 150 Stonewall Creek vines in 2005. Over the next three years, they planted more grapes and experimented with different clones and rootstocks–Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Tannat, Petit Manseng and more Malbec. The sold their first three harvests to the Ezzards.
In 2012 they released their first white, “Boriana,” a Petit Manseng, and their first rosé, “Yukari,” both named after their daughters-in-law. Their first reds include a Cabernet Franc, Three Eagles (Malbec blend) and Glassy Red (light rosada). In the 2016 Georgia Wine Trustees Challenge, their 2014 Boriana, a dry Petit Manseng wine, named for their Bulgarian daughter-in-law, was voted Best Dry White Vinifera (100% Georgia Grown), and their 2014 Cabernet Franc was named Best Dry Red Vinifera (100% Georgia Grown). The white went on to take Best of Competition.
On their second label, Standing Deer Cellar, wine made from grapes that are sourced from other Georgia vineyards, they currently offer Norton, and Whitetail (Petit Manseng). The Stonewall Creek Vineyards label is reserved for wine made from grapes grown on site.
Winemaker Carl points out that “Stonewall Creek grapes are mostly European varieties, but our winemaking is new world. At Stonewall Creek we’re working to produce wine that is clean, well-balanced and pleasant and goes well with local foods.”