< Back to Oral History project: Wine in the South
Mary Ann Hardaway
Persimmon Creek Winery
Persimmon Creek, under the direction of Mary Ann Hardman and her husband Sonny Hardman, a pathologist, is perched at 2,100 feet, in the mountains of northeastern Georgia, not far from the Tallulah River Gorge. Their intent was to grow vinifera grapes in a region where moonshine had long been the favored alcoholic tipple.
On the estate they grow riesling, merlot, cabernet franc, and seyval blanc grapes. The Hardmans make single variety bottlings from each, and sell their goods to tourists exploring the mountains, as well as, more recently, white tablecloth restaurants in Atlanta and other markets, in search of vinifera wines with a taste of locals or regional terroir.
In 2000, the Hardmans bought land in the Persimmon Valley with the idea of starting a vineyard, then a winery. Two years later, they bottled their first white. In 2003 came the first red. Today, production at the 110-acre Persimmon Creek Vineyards has increased markedly, and reception, especially of their seyval blanc, has been warm, thanks in some part to the persistence of Mary Ann’s marketing efforts.