A few weeks ago we went for our second visit (the first time they were closed) to Firefly Distillery on Wadmalaw Island, SC, this time with a sweet Groupon in hand for a discounted tour and tasting at the distillery. Though initially we were most excited about finally getting to sample a few tastes of South Carolina’s own Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, it wasn’t until we walked around the grounds and through the Muscadine grape vineyards that we discovered there was much more to see than just the bottoms of our empty Firefly shotglasses. Of course, it helps that I’m a bit of a nature girl who can get lost for hours walking through vineyards and vegetable gardens while making new friends with the many goats, chickens, hogs and bull that were on display, but, I’d venture to say anyone with a thirst for sweet tea vodka or wine, and an appreciation of nature, can while away a few happy hours wandering the grounds of the distillery on a lazy afternoon.
The Firefly Distillery actually shares its grounds with Irvin House Vineyards, growers of about 4 (of 140 known) varieties of domesticated Muscadine grapes. Though the grapes taste great as a snack straight off the vine, Irvin House uses them to create some great tasting wines which are available for tasting right across the courtyard from the Firefly tasting room. On approach to the grounds, visitors are greeted with a view of this (watch out for gators!) lovely pond, with the vineyards in the background:
Having lived in California for 22 years and visiting Charleston nearly every summer, the scenic drive out to the winery was a nostalgic reminder of all those vacation days spent driving around the lowcountry with the windows down and the music turned up; in this case we drove up with the perfect musical backdrop of Darius Rucker’s “Charleston 1966” and were ready to whet our whistles with some downhome South Carolina moonshin…errr…legally distilled vodka after the drive from Mount Pleasant. I love the style of the barn that houses the distillery’s tasting room, not to mention it being surrounded by oak trees draped with Spanish moss. And, that little outhouse to the right just makes the whole scene perfect.
Inside the tasting room you’ll find a few relics of time past, as well as an assortment of Firefly beverages and products. Behind the bar you’ll find friendly Firefly tenders who take time to pour and explain the nuances of each Firefly beverage.
The Muscadine grape vineyards make for a great little walk to regain your sea legs after the tasting:
The other side of the property houses the vegetable gardens and petting zoo. Our hands sure were itching after walking through the gardens…our backyard is just screaming to get this kind of makeover (on a much smaller scale, of course):
We happened upon this goat standing atop the spiral staircase leading to nowhere…or was it?
Upon closer inspection we clued into what was going on, with the goat looking on to make sure we were doing things right:
The other goat on the ground got some loving (and kibble) from us too. Though their coats look kind of wiry, they are actually pretty soft, and their nuzzles are too!
“Hey! What are you doing taking a bath in my water bowl?!?!?”
We can’t wait to go back later this summer to taste some of the Irving House wines and check out the ripe Muscadine grapes and take another walk through the vineyards and gardens. Last year Firefly also held a large gathering with live music, so I sure hope they repeat that this summer…we’ll be there for sure!
You can check out more information about Firefly vodka, and get directions to the distillery at their website, http://www.fireflyvodka.com/