"Danny Johnson, of Johnson's Orchard & Peaks of Otter Winery, the first and biggest winery in Bedford, was immeasurable help to us in setting up a production winery. We would not be as successful as we are today without the assistance of the Peaks of Otter Winery along the way. Danny taught us to "row together" as cooperative Virginia Wineries instead of fighting each other for customers. By engaging local officials, tourism boards and county agencies to embrace wineries in the area years ago, all Bedford's wineries owe him a debt of gratitude. The Johnson's paved the way for us with foresight, wisdom and kindness. Thank you Danny."
rrow are Roanoke natives and the owners of Hickory Hill Vineyards & Winery. The Furrows have ties going back to the very beginnings of Smith Mountain Lake, with his father helping build the dam and raising a family around it for over 40 years. They achieved a life-long dream by retiring to the lake winery.
Roger's passion for wine first began in the 1960 when as an Air Force officer he was put in charge of an Officers Club. He was fascinated by the various wines and began to learn more. After he left the Air Force his job as an engineer let him travel to Europe and the fascination for wine grew. Eventually their interests in grape growing and wine-making began in the 1970’s with California juice and a tiny backyard grape vineyard.
During the early 1980's, hobby wine-makers Roger and Judy got more serious and planted the experimental, 250 vine "Hickory Cove Vineyard" on the banks of Smith Mountain Lake at the home of Alberta Furrow, Roger’s mother.
In 1991 the couple purchased the nearby Tobe Scruggs farm and expanded the vineyard onto the second, or "Hickory Hill Vineyard". The hobby became a 5 acre commercial vineyard supplying Stonewall Winery in Appomattox. They continued to research and learn wine making, including developing the recipes of the now popular "Lake" label blends.
In 2001 Hickory Hill became the 75th commercial winery in Virginia with their first vintage under the Hickory Hill Vineyards label.
In 2005 Hickory Hill began it's "Sunset Saturday" summer music concert series, now in it's 9th season and a favorite with both locals and lake visitors.
By 2007 Hickory Hill Vineyards had grown into a successful business, with the new winery expansion, 2 generations of winemakers, distribution of their wine to stores & restaurants in the region and winning the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce's "Small Business of the Year" award.
In 2010 Hickory Hill began to expand the vineyard, adding more plants.
In 2011 Hickory Hill was honored with the Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce's 2011 Award for Agri-Tourisim.
In 2012 production increased to 15000 bottles per year.
In 2013 we were able to cut back on the number of festivals, increasing our Sunset Saturdays to 14 to more than make up the difference. Production increased again to 18000 bottles a year. No wonder my corking arm is sore.
For more information about the Furrows, family and history of the area & the vineyard, follow the 3 links below.