“Because it’s your soul.”
That’s how owner of Stony Knoll Vineyards, Van Coe, responded when asked why being a Century Farm made he and his family proud.
Stony Knoll Vineyards is in the foothills of the northeast Blue Ridge Mountains, nestled in between the Fisher and Yadkin Rivers, in the heart of North Carolina wine country, and it has a history as rich as the wine it now produces.
The land on which Stony Knoll lies first became a farm in 1896. Back then, the land was used as farmland to sustain and provide for the family who lived on it. Beginning in the 1940s, tobacco became the main crop, and in the ‘80s, the farm began to grow hay and became home to cattle. Today, the land is a neatly landscaped winery, and the family must concern themselves with both the farming of their land and the manufacturing of their products.
The farm has been a winery for the last 21 years and is currently owned by Van and Kathy Coe, the fifth generation within their family to inherit the land. Owning a historic farm with their family has taught their family volumes about loyalty and gratitude.
“We learned how to appreciate everything. Every growing organism is important. Every movement of the soil, every rotation of the fields, and the slope — the way they face the sun — and the way the sun comes up and affects the plants, even the frost, which we despise. Even in your darkest hour, there’s a beauty.”
This deep interconnectedness between people and land is evidenced by the way the Coe family cares for their land and their business. The family is proud of their farm’s heritage and is determined to also leave a legacy for generations to come.
The Coe family is motivated to preserve this land because of the generations that came before them. Not only did they inherit a farm from their ancestors, but they inherited a love for the land, a desire to work hard, and to do so alongside their loved ones. The current generation is determined to not let the labor of their ancestors be futile by not giving the family business their all.
“The people who worked on that property was a legacy. And their labors and their efforts are not to be discounted by future generations,” said Van Coe.
You can visit Stony Knoll for a wine tasting or a stay at their wine lodge, a recently renovated heritage log home built in the 1860s. You can also become a member of their wine club to be invited to special tour and tasting events as well as receive first access to their newly released wines. Van Coe extends a warm invitation to everyone and anyone.
“I invite anybody to come visit, bring a picnic, and enjoy a glass of wine. Enjoy many generations of heritage and work.”
You can learn more about Stony Knoll Vineyards, their wines, their tasting events, and their lodge on their website.
2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the NCDA&CS Century Farm Program. Century Farm Families will gather at the 2021 N.C. State Fair for a reunion. Less than 2,000 families across North Carolina can say that they have operated a family farm for 100 years. Applications to join the Century Farm and Bicentinial Farm programs are online: https://www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/century/index.htm