Attorney plans Orangeburg winery


A prosecuting attorney from Savannah is planning to open a winery on family land Orangeburg.

Harrison Pratt has purchased 4.46 acres of family property on Watersprings Road in Orangeburg with the intention of building a moderately sized winery and vineyard on the lot. Watersprings Road is located off Columbia Road.

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His plan is to construct a 2,500-square-foot to 3,000-square-foot winery building and a 2-1/2-acre to 3-acre vineyard where there will be a fully functional vine-to-bottle operation.

Grapes will be harvested and processed into wine on site, Pratt said.

He anticipates making 20,000 to 30,000 bottles of wine annually.

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If all goes well, Pratt expects to be able to open to the public in the summer of 2027, depending on zoning, permitting and funding. Pratt estimates the winery will employ about five to six people.

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Pratt’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side, Charles Harrison Hubbard, was a farmer who passed down his land to his children and then grandchildren.

“One of his children, Robert Hubbard, built the first Hubbard Vineyard in Orangeburg back in the late 80s/early 90s,” Pratt said. “In his vineyard, he grew muscadine grapes and eventually began to make wine and share it with family and friends.”

“After his passing in 2015, the wine making had stopped, but his vineyard still lived on,” Pratt continued. “I was lucky enough to try some of his wine before he passed, but had no idea the small tasting at his house would set me down a path to build my own vineyard and winery.”

In the summer of 2017, Pratt moved to Orangeburg while studying for the South Carolina Bar exam.

“While living out in the country, I got to spend a lot of time in my great-uncle Robert’s vineyard,” Pratt said. “I was curious if I could learn to make wine just like he did.”

His first attempt at winemaking in 2017 was a success.

Through reading books, watching instructional videos and doing hours of online research, Pratt developed his own process for making wine.

“My wife (Lindy Pope) and I decided to turn my hobby into a business in 2020,” Pratt said. “Our company’s name is Hubbard Vines – named after my mother’s side of the family from Orangeburg and paying homage to my great uncle Robert.”

Since starting the company, they have planted over 150 vines on slightly over one acre on his mother’s (Ann Hubbard Ogden) land.

Currently, he and his wife grow Riesling grapes, Touriga Nacional (Portuguese grapes that make Port wine) and four varieties of muscadine: Noble, Triumph, Supreme and Pineapple.

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Pratt said the vineyard is hitting full maturity through over a year’s growth.

“We anticipate using all of the different varieties of grapes to make wine, but intend to focus the business on muscadine wines,” Pratt said.

The land for the planned 4.46-acre winery is located within 400 feet of the couple’s existing vineyard.

“It will help supply our future winery with additional grapes without transportation issues,” Pratt said. “We are a small business and are incrementally growing to determine how the business will do in the area.”

Pratt’s dream came closer to reality April 1 when Orangeburg County Council unanimously gave first-reading approval to the rezoning of 4.46 acres of the 14-acre property from commercial general to forest-agriculture to allow the winery to proceed.

The entire property has been zoned commercial general and has been undeveloped.

Under the commercial general designation, growing crops is not allowed.

Currently, Pratt and his wife do all the vineyard maintenance, harvesting and wine making.

“In these past three years, we have seen a significant increase in demand of the wine with friends and family, which has pushed us into creating a larger and more efficient wine-making facility,” Pratt said.

Pratt envisions different sale methods for the wines, such as on-site tastings and sales; selling the wine to local vendors or shipping wine directly to consumers from online sales.

“At this stage, nothing is off the table for how we may best get our product out for the public to taste,” Pratt said. “As we get closer to the building of the structure, we will have a more clear view of which method will be our primary source of sales.”

In addition to purchasing the Watersprings Road property, last year, Pratt also purchased 26 acres of family land on Red Bank Road near Exit 145 on Interstate 26.

Looking long-term, Pratt said if all goes well, his intention is to develop the 26 acres into a fully functional vineyard and winery capable of producing 250,000 to 500,000 bottles annually.

“I would like to see the business get to the point to where it is a major attraction for Orangeburg County and hopefully drive a lot of tourism off of the interstate to visit one of the hidden gems of the South,” Pratt said. “I can envision the vineyard/winery being a place for community events, weddings, graduation parties, etc. on top of its traditional use of wine tastings and wine sales. Time will tell what the future has in store.”

In other business at the council meeting:

• Council read a proclamation related to the Orangeburg County Emergency Communications Center. The week of April 14 through April 20 is National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week.

The proclamation cites the importance of 911 officers in ensuring the safety of first responders by relating accurate information.

Councilwoman Janie Cooper-Smith requested, in addition to a proclamation, that the county have an outward show of its gratitude for the officers. She said the emergency response officers were helpful when she had to work with them when her husband was ill.

“Every time I called, they got here as promptly as they could,” she said. “They were everything you would expect them to be.”

“Words cannot say how much we appreciate you all,” Orangeburg County Council Chair Johnnie Wright said. “We thank you all so much for all you do.”

As a retired law enforcement officer, Orangeburg County Councilwoman Latisha Walker thanked the 911 officers personally.

“You all are oftentimes the deciding factor as to whether or not the officers go home to their families,” Walker said. “Y’all relay the information that is crucial when you are going into locations that are unseen and just relying on what you guys tell us. You are very valued and greatly appreciated.”

• Council gave unanimous first reading to the repeal of the current county business license ordinance and replacement with a restated county business license ordinance. There were no substantive changes to the ordinance, according to County Attorney D’Anne Haydel.

Contact the writer: [email protected] or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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