Rabun County's Stonewall Creek Vineyard – New North Georgia Winery and Vineyard

Have you thought how wonderful it would be to travel to the south of France or to Tuscany this summer to enjoy the wines and the beautiful countryside? You can save yourself the airfare by visiting Stonewall Creek Vineyards, Rabun County’s newest vineyards and winery.
Set in what was once an orchard (4 miles west of Tiger off Bridge Creek Road), the vineyard is one of the most beautiful spots in North Georgia. The setting is incredible, reminiscent of the pastoral paintings by French artists. The vineyards and winery are situated in a beautiful mountain valley with immaculately groomed grape rows ending with traditional rose bushes, a locavore vegetable garden, a classic old barn set in the pasture next to a gurgling Stonewall Creek and spectacular views of near-by Glassy Mountain.
Carl and Carla Fackler, owners, vignerons, vinters and bottlewashers, have long enjoyed visiting friends in Rabun County. Before retiring as a surgeon, Carl was a partner in Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic in Atlanta with two of our neighbors and friends. While visiting them and tasting our ’98 vintage basement wine, the Facklers were hooked and they started the search for just the right property for their vineyard. They purchased the Stonewall Creek property in 2004 and planted their first vines in 2005. Following this they worked for several years with Tiger Mountain Vineyards.
The vineyard is planted with classic red Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot) as well as with Tannat and Petit Manseng. The winery’s first vintage wines are Boriana, a Petit Manseng varietal and Yukari, a Cabernet Franc rose.
Both wines are named after Fackler daughters-in-law, Boriana who is from Bulgaria and Yukari who is from Japan. The Fackler’s three sons and their families have all been very supportive of their father’s jump from the world of medicine into the world of wine.
The Facklers are an international family. Boriana and Ben, their youngest son who is a partner with a Manhatten hedge fund, are wine enthusiasts and have offered advice on blending and bottling. Their middle son, Nate, is a lecturer in English and Musica at Bilgi University in Istanbul and plays lead guitar with the Wingmen. Yukari and the Fackler’s eldest son Martin, who is Tokyo Bureau Chief for the New York Times, live in Japan. Martin was named runner-up for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for his bureau’s coverage of last year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan.
It’s seems obvious that Martin’s journalistic talent was inherited from his mother who has two journalism degrees. Carla is currently serving her 15rh year on the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors and will co-edit the ARCS newsletter for the third time. She has also served as Atlanta Symphony Associates President, Atlanta Symphony Ball Chair and Hospice Atlanta Gala Chair. Carla’s journalism background and special events experiences make her a natural to promote Stonewall Creek Vineyards.
Prior to becoming a Rabun County winemaker, Carl was a doctor for the Atlanta Braves for 16 years. He is a Past President of the Georgia Orthopaedic Society and the Atlanta Orthopaedic Society. For 20 years he was a volunteer doctor for crippled children clinics in Georgia, including the Gainesville clinic that served Rabun County. Carl says that he’s advanced to becoming a member of the world’s second oldest profession: that of a vintner.
Both Carl and Carla have farming roots. Carla’s Great Grandfather came to Iowa from Germany as a twelve year old orphan. He was taken in by a farm family and grew up to make wine on the family farm in Iowa. As a youngster, Carl helped his father make wine in their basement. Later as a surgical resident in Boston, Carl won a pile of manure at a Fourth of July celebration by coming closest to guessing the correct weight of the pile. The manure led to a bumper crop of tomatoes!
Carl says that their goal is to produce fine wines from European grapes that express our Rabun County terroir. The Facklers’ winemaking preparation has included “research” trips to wineries in California, Europe and Argentina. Carl has also taken extended courses at U.C. Davis, California’s premier teaching institution for viticulture and enology.
Focusing on “It’s about the wine”, the Facklers want to emphasize the process of winemaking at Stonewall Creek Vineyards. The winery’s “Tasting Corner” is inside the retro industrial style winery itself so that visitors can see where and how the wine is made. The Facklers look forward to meeting and exchanging ideas about grapes, vines and wines with visitors to the winery.
Carla says, “A tradition we’ve especially enjoyed is hosting post harvest luncheons with friends and neighbors featuring wines made from the grape varietals picked that day. Nothing compares to a leisurely meal with wine overlooking the vineyard!”
Skip your trip to Europe and visit the Facklers at their incredibly beautiful vineyard this summer. The winery tasting room will open from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays in time to celebrate the July 4th weekend. Directions are available on the website at
www.stonewallcreek.com.
Leckie Stack