The Silver Dew Winery is a historic winery located on Daufuskie Island in Beaufort County. The small building dates back to 1883 and originally served as a wick house (a building used to store the lighthouse lamp and wicks) for the Bloody Point Lighthouse.
The Bloody Point Lighthouse guarded the southernmost tip of the island until the early 1920s, when it was decommissioned and sold at a private auction to Francis Keenan. Former lighthouse keeper Gustaf Ohman purchased it from Keenan in 1924, only to sell it two years later to another former keeper, Arthur “Papy” Burn.
Papy loved the island and was very active in the small community. In the early 1950s, Papy began making scuppernong wine in the old wick house. By 1953 the brick building had been dubbed the Silver Dew Winery, and Papy was making wine out of grapes, elderberries, pears, and other fruits. The winery was made famous when South Carolina author Pat Conroy mentioned it in his 1972 autobiographical novel The Water is Wide:
The beach road began about a quarter of a mile from the school. It was a dark and brooding part of the Island, very wild and uninhabited. Purple and yellow wildflowers grew in profusion. The first time I walked the road I was shocked to find two odd-looking brick structures on a curve in the road. There was a sign on one of the buildings that read Silver Dew Winery 1953.
The wick house is included in the Daufuskie Island Historic District:
Daufuskie Island Historic District includes the geographic entirety of this South Carolina sea island. Accessible only by boat, Daufuskie contains 5,200 acres of mostly high dry land. The district’s character is defined by eighteen properties of particular historic and/or architectural note, and fifty-six contributing sites or structures. Wooded tracts account for another 167 contributing properties. Most of the buildings consist of folk housing, which is concentrated in two building complexes, both on the island’s western side. They were constructed from 1890-1930, but reflect a much earlier building technology. They are significant architecturally as a survival form. The buildings also include educational, religious, and public buildings which serve the whole population. The design of Daufuskie’s two lighthouses has architectural significance in its structural combination of a functioning lighthouse with living quarters. Other areas of significance are historical in nature. Military engagements of note during the Yemassee and Revolutionary Wars took place on Daufuskie. In addition, buildings, sites, and structures represent Daufuskie’s antebellum plantation society based on the cultivation of long staple cotton as well as the history of the island in the early twentieth century when life revolved around the oyster industry, logging, and truck farming operations. Daufuskie’s cultural resources illustrate a three-century long history (ca. 1700-1930) that has evolved with a minimum of outside influence. Listed in the National Register June 2, 1982.
More Pictures of Silver Dew Winery