MORGANTON – Burke County’s tourism director sees the county becoming a tourist destination for wine aficionados. One of the stops for what Ed Phillips is calling the Catawba Valley Wine Trail opens Saturday.
Silver Fork Vineyard and Winery in Morganton, which is owned by Jennifer Foulides and Ed Wisnieski, is the sixth to open in the county and could become a stop on what will be marketed as the Catawba Valley Wine Trail.
“It’s going to be one of Burke County’s new destinations and I think people will come to Burke County just to see that winery,” said Ed Phillips, Burke County Tourism Development Authority director.
Phillips hopes to start the tour before the end of the year.
“This tour operator would bring folks out here going to various wineries and enjoy an evening meal here before they head back to Charlotte or Mooresville,” Phillips said.
The owners of Silver Fork didn’t take a traditional path to the wine-making business.
“We were both in corporate America and we both kind of had it with the pace,” Foulides said. “Both of us are very spiritual…God wants you to be where he wants you to be.”
Foulides has a background in chemistry and is working as owner and wine-maker while Wisnieski works as the vineyard manager of operations.
“We had this dream to start this business of our own in Western North Carolina,” Wisnieski said. “It was a combination of where we wanted to spend our lives personally and where would be a good place to start a business.”
The two moved to the area in 2010 after finding the property at 5000 Patton Road in Morganton online. They bought the property from Larry Kehoe and began an apprenticeship in grape growing and wine making.
Silver Fork Vineyard and Winery’s opening will feature a tasting room, completed by local construction teams.
“It’s all local guys,” Foulides said.
The grand opening Saturday is from 1 to 7 pm. and will feature many of the varieties of wine produced at the winery.