In January, when vineyards are dormant and the grapes have been picked and crushed and the juices are working, it is the time when those who work so hard to create the wines take a break. For Josh and Deb Jones and their pet pig, Pinot, that meant a trip from City Scape Winery in Greenville, South Carolina, to the Yadkin Valley wine region.
Pinot frequently greets guests at City Scape Winery. Deb Jones said he is a celebrity at the upstate destination, one of just 14 wineries in South Carolina. “He does tricks for customers, and he likes to hike and is very social,” she said.
“We never regret bringing Pinot to things. He brings so much joy to people,” Deb Jones said.
Pinot isn’t the only unique thing about City Scape, though.
With no glass recycling program in Greenville, the Joneses decided to offer a way for their customers to exchange their bottles and encouraging recycling of the wine bottles. Customers purchase the wine, take it home, drink it, then rinse the bottle and return it to the winery to get $1 off of the next visit.
“It keeps them out of the landfill,” said Deb Jones.
The vineyard wasn’t planted originally by the Joneses, who said they are the youngest winery owners in the southeast. They were 29 when they bought City Scape.
Wayne and Anita Tamme began City Scape Winery, and in 2009, the Joneses decided to take their boredom with life, so they began exploring their passion for wine, having both grown up near the Finger Lakes wine region in New York. “We were looking to get out of our cubicles,” Josh Jones said.
In researching, they found City Scape was local to their Greenville home. So, in learning it also was a winemaking supply store, they visited and spent time with the Tammes and purchased their first winemaking kit.
“There is no more appropriate way to learn about it than to start making it,” said Josh Jones, as the couple explained they met at a friend’s party in Rochester, New York, and bonded during a conversation about their mutual love of wine.
“We took 10 gallons of merlot juice home and made it.”
For six years, they made their own wine, even making 10 varieties of wine for their wedding in 2012. “Everyone asked when we were going to start making our own,” he said of going commercial.
“We learn so much from visiting other wineries,” Josh said of their decision to visit the Yadkin Valley area while on vacation. “We are curious to see what others are growing.”
Through the years, they’ve traveled to Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Willamette Valley, Spain, Portugal and Italy to study and learn about wines.
Prior to purchasing City Scape Winery two years ago, the couple had converted one of their guest rooms into a makeshift wine cellar with floor-to-ceiling wine racks and a separate heating and cooling system.
Deb said the many varietals being grown in the Yadkin Valley are what brought them to the region, and the couple’s love for hiking and being outdoors.
Some of City Scape’s wines include a semi-dry Pineapple Reisling, Carolina Nights which is a local red muscadine and blackberry blend, Blackberry Merlot which is a blend of merlot and fresh South Carolina blackberry wine and wines featuring tastes of coffee and caramel and other more traditional wines and fruity sensations.
The couple plans to still be in the wine industry in 30 years and said they look forward to seeing how they can continue to grow the budding industry in South Carolina.
“It is very rewarding to be pioneering,” Deb Jones said.
City Scape Winery can be found online at cityscapewinery.com or on the map to visit the tasting room Thursday through Sunday at 589 Dunklin Bridge Road, Pelzer, S.C.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.