The History of Wine in North Carolina

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1524

1524

The Scuppernong, our nation’s first cultivated wine grape, discovered in the Cape Fear River Valley by French explorer and navigator Giovanni de Verrazano.

1835

1835

North Carolina’s first commercial winery is founded by Sidney Weller in the community of Brinkleyville
in Halifax County.

1840

1840

Weller’s Vineyard, renamed Medoc Vineyards,
leads the country in wine production.

1850s

1850’s

North Carolina boasts 25 wineries and
numerous vineyards.

1860s

1860’s

Civil War devastates North Carolina’s thriving
wine industry.

1890s

1890’s

North Carolina once again moves to the forefront of the nation’s wine industry, as farmers are encouraged to grow grapes as a solution to the depressed economy.

1900

1900

North Carolina wines win medals at the
Paris Exposition.

1904

1904

Virginia Dare white and red wines, created in
North Carolina, become the leading selling wines in the nation and win grand prize in the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition.

1909

1909

North Carolina enacts a statewide prohibition on alcohol, crushing the state’s wine industry.

1933

1933

Prohibition is repealed.

1947

1947

Remaining 13 North Carolina wineries close when counties vote dry, making the production
and sale of alcohol illegal.

1950s

1950’s

Vineyard planting boom begins in North Carolina to meet out-of-state demand for grapes.

1965

1965

To support the state’s growing wine industry,
Senator Carl Vitners of Onslow County introduces
a bill appropriating funds for grape and
wine research and grower education.

1972

1972

The state legislature, in order to stimulate the development of new wineries, reduces the annual winery license fee and cuts the state tax on native table wine. Numerous wineries open soon after.

1985

1985

The Biltmore Company opens a $6.5 million
state of the art winery to the public on the
grounds of the Biltmore Estate.

1986

1986

The North Carolina Wine & Grape Council is established to stimulate the expansion of North Carolina’s
grape and wine industry.

1999

1999

The Golden LEAF Foundation created to help North Carolina transition away from a tobacco dependent economy. The foundation gives farmers monetary incentive to switch from tobacco to grape growing.

2002

2002

The North Carolina Wine Festival attracts
11,000 people.

2003

2003

Yadkin Valley, in northwestern North Carolina, officially designated as the state’s first
American Viticultural Area.

2005

2005

North Carolina has 48 wine producers in 28 counties.

2008

2008

Swan Creek, in northwestern North Carolina,
is officially designated as the state’s second
American Viticultural Area.

2009

2009

Haw River Valley, in central North Carolina,
officially designated as North Carolina’s third American Viticultural Area.

2010

2010

North Carolina is home to more than 90 wineries and ranks 7th in the United States in wine production.