When people think of traditional wineries, they envision rolling hills and romantic vineyards that seem to sprawl on for miles. What can certainly be said about the Silver Dew Winery on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, however, is that it’s no traditional winery. This off-the-beaten-path attraction is a truly unique spot with a special history. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about this enigmatic spot. If you’re searching for even more hidden gems to check out on your getaway to the Lowcountry, be sure to access our Bluffton Vacation Guide!
What You Need to Know About the Mysterious Silver Dew Winery
Off-the-Beaten-Path Daufuskie Island
Daufuskie Island bears a unique story that ties into that of the Silver Dew Winery. This tiny island is just a ferry ride away from Old Town Bluffton and Hilton Head, but feels worlds away. Stepping onto the sandy banks of Daufuskie Island feels like stepping back in time. Here, you’ll find dirt roads, quaint homes, and some of the most pristine Lowcountry beaches.
Until the 1800s, Native Americans inhabited the island. Thousands of years ago, the Yammacraw tribe gave the land its name. “Daufuskie” translates into “point of an arrow.” In the 1500s, the island fell into the hands of the Spanish, then English planters in the 1600s, then Union forces during the Civil War. After the Union soldiers freed the slaves that inhabited Daufuskie, the island’s isolation allowed their culture, now called Gullah, to flourish. These historic roots still bear noticeable significance here on this enigmatic island, where time seems to stand still.
About the Silver Dew Winery
Though the unassuming building it inhabits is much older (c. 1883), the Silver Dew Winery was established in 1953 as South Carolina’s first winery. Originally a “wick house” meant for storing oil, wicks, and the lamp for the nearby Bloody Point Lighthouse, this spot has stood the test of time. Daufuskie resident Arthur “Papy” Burn converted the tiny structure into a winery when he began growing grapes there in the 50s. The first mention of Silver Dew was when famous author Pat Conroy wrote about it in his novel, The Water is Wide, in 1972. Though it went many years abandoned, the pint-sized winery has recently started bottling wine again!
Note: You won’t find any bells or whistles at this tiny spot. It’s more of a history lesson than a Sonoma-style tasting experience. Come and see how wine was made 150 years ago!
Like the Church of the Cross, the Heyward House, and the May River itself, the Silver Dew Winery is an important part of Bluffton’s rich history. Like these spots, Old Town Bluffton Inn is a gorgeous Lowcountry landmark that incorporates our town’s unique history. Though our inn is new, we hope to create an experience that becomes part of Bluffton’s fabric for centuries. You’ll love our elegant, French Eclectic guest rooms and friendly service. Our family will ensure that you and yours experience a truly unforgettable stay in the heart of The Promenade. Each of our accommodations is named for the Lowcountry’s most influential figures. They feature plush beds, hand-picked decor items, and premium amenities. You’ll want to return again and again!