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“Friendly staff _ Decent SD Wines = Worth a Visit” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Stone Faces Winery

Stone Faces Winery
12670 Robins Roost Rd, Hill City, SD 57745
(605) 574-3600
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Ranked #5 of 12 Activities in Hill City
Type: Wineries, Food & Drink
Attraction details
Bend, OR
Top Contributor
147 reviews 147 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
181 helpful votes 181 helpful votes
“Friendly staff _ Decent SD Wines = Worth a Visit”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

If vintners are going to do the hard work of making wine in South Dakota, I'm going to honor their hard work through the fun of tasting it. That's how my hubby and I ended up in Stone Faces' hip, friendly (and loud) tasting room when we were visiting the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. We'd go back and drink their wines again if we were in the area.

THE FACILITY
Newish and medium sized, they weren't serving food (as Prairie Berry Winery up the road does) at the time of our visit although it appears that may be in future plans. Friendly and hip interior design but the almost dance club loud music was distracting. That's the one thing I'd change here. Then again, maybe that is just a more mature (aka aging), oneophile (aka wino) perspective. Otherwise, there was a great vibe and energy among the staff in this room.

Wines are not made at this facility, but at the winery on the other side of the state in Vermillion. Given it makes sense to put the tasting rooms where the tourist traffic is, this Hill City location is a great one to capture the tourists on Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park trips. And appropriate to do given this IS a South Dakota winery.

THE TASTING SET UP
Tasting had no fee as I recall and we could choose a certain number of tastes from a list of roughly five (dry to medium) reds and eight (off dry to sweet) whites. On the day of our visit, our tasting experience was all the more fun because a relative, nephew I think, of the owner poured for us. This delightful guy was knowledgeable not only about his family's wines but wine making in general. He made our hour in the tasting room well worth the time.

THE WINES
As with tasting rooms for three other South Dakota wineries we visited, we found many fruit other than grape based wines here and a few that were from wine grapes. Between my husband and me, we were able to taste most of the wines on the list.

We suspended for the time we were in South Dakota our "wine snob" orientation and found we enjoyed several wines we tasted in South Dakota, including several here, and leaned more to liking the fruit wines than the grape varietal wines. In particular we enjoyed "Tickle Me" rhubarb wine, which was amazingly off dry in character in spite of 7% RS due to the nice acid balance from the fruit, and my hubby appreciated the Artisan red which was a blend of Cabernet grapes (from CA?) and a South Dakota grown varietal.

The winery has some whimsy in wine naming, like Full Throttle (red) with a nod to the motor cyclists that take over the area at the Sturgis rally each year. Labels follow the whimsy of the names. As in the Tickle Me rhubarb which has a childhood photo of the owner along with snippets of his report card on the label.

One of the happiest surprises in all of our South Dakota wine tasting was sampling a wine made by Stone Faces from the wild grape varietal Vitis Reparia for which they actually harvested grapes in the wild. No longer making this wine given the cost to do it and the price point they need to charge for a bottle (as I recall around $50), the tasting room host opened a bottle for us to try. We liked it a lot and had the price point been 15% lower, we would have bought a bottle or even two to travel with us. I've since learned that Vitis Reparia is the wild root stock that Vitis Vinifera was grafted to for much of American wine making. So that makes it doubly fun, after the fact, to have tasted wine made from the wild grapes.

Bottle prices ran from as little as roughly $13 to as much as about $30 with only one more than that, in the $50 range. We walked away with a couple of bottles.

THIS N THAT

1) ACCESSIBILITY: Newish building, it is level in the entry and all on one floor in the tasting room. However, an inexplicable fail is that although this is a new parking lot as well, they have no designated accessible - aka ADA van accessible - parking as has been required by both Federal rules and SD State Codes for almost 23 years. Stone Faces needs to fix this error.

2) SUMMER HOURS: Mon - Sat: 10a - 8p. Sun: 10a - 6p.

3) ANOTHER ONE TO VISIT: If you have time for only one wine tasting experience in this area, choose Prairie Berry Winery just up the road. But if you can fit in two, then Stone Faces is definitely worth the stop.

4) ONE TO AVOID: Oregon vintner Naked established a tasting room nearby. Irksome. Who wants to drink vino from a (marginal) OR winery when in SD? Apparently tourists who are entertained by the "tee hee" double entendre of wine names like "Orgasmic" and "Foreplay" and "Dominatrix" and...well, you get the bad idea. If the wine were better either they would not need this schtick or I could overlook it.

Visited June 2013
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26 reviews from our community

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English first
Union Center, South Dakota
Top Contributor
149 reviews 149 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

1st and last stop for both of us. A plethora of Sturgis Rally named wines. Woo hoo. All the wines are supposedly made in Vermillion, SD (Eastern SD), and who knows where the grapes and berries come from- not SD. We did sample and neither of us were impressed. Flavors very heavy and what I'd call rough. And I'm not a wine guy, but the GF is a wine gal ;-) Tasting staff lady was professional & pleasant. Bought a T-shirt for GF at the checkout and was surprised that the touchscreen register had a suggested tip for purchasing a product, not a service!?# Kinda soured the wine the rest of the way for me.

Visited July 2013
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Tucson, Arizona
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Small, Quaint and Fabulous”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

I absolutely loved the wine tasting experience I had here. The ladies were incredibly sweet and knowledgeable. The wines were fabulous and the little gift shop was cute. Definitely worth a half hour of your time to stop and taste some awesome wine.

Visited June 2013
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Lincoln, Nebraska
Top Contributor
281 reviews 281 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 99 cities Reviews in 99 cities
179 helpful votes 179 helpful votes
“Nice tasting room and wines were very good!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

We really enjoyed our stop here. Very nice building and the staff were very smiley, friendly and knowledgeable. Most of the wines are actually from back in Vermilion. We really liked the wines. They were surprising good. The labels and names were neat...most were linked to the area thru the Sturgis rally, Mt Rushmore etc. Was a fun break!

Visited June 2013
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Kalamazoo
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Lovely wine shop”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

Very engaging staff, free wine tasting. Explained about wines, nice variety. Loved the set up, relaxed and friendly, crackers and/or chocolate to clear the pallet between wines. Nice gift shop. Bought 4 bottles and some accessories.

Visited May 2013
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