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Whit Winslow

North Carolina Wine and Grape Council

Telephone(919) 707-3108

Emailwhit.winslow@ncagr.gov

North Carolina Wine Industry Facts

Updated August 28, 2017

  • North Carolina is home to 186 wineries. More than 525 individually owned grape vineyards on 2,300 acres are spread across the state.
  • At just over 1.1 million cases per year, the state ranks ranks 11th in U.S. wine production.
  • Our wine industry has two focuses — native muscadine grapes and European-style vinifera grapes.
  • According to a recent study, the annual economic impact of our wine and grape industry is $1.97 billion with more than 10,000 jobs supported.
  • Commonly planted vinifera grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. They are planted in the western and central regions of the state.
  • Scuppernongs and other native muscadine grapes are relatively pest-resistant and thrive in the hot sandy conditions of the coast. Muscadines contain high levels of resveratrol and other health-enhancing antioxidants. Some wineries even sell grape skins to nutraceutical companies.
  • Duplin Winery, the largest and oldest winery in the state, is the world's largest producer of muscadine wine.
  • Asheville is home to the Biltmore Estate Winery, which receives more than 1 million visitors annually and is the most-visited winery in the U.S.

History

  • The scuppernong was the first grape cultivated in the United States and is the official fruit of North Carolina. The Mothervine in Manteo on Roanoke Island, a nearly 500-year-old scuppernong vine, is the oldest known cultivated grapevine in the nation.
  • Medoc Vineyard in the town of Brinkleyville in Halifax County was the first commercial winery established in North Carolina and led the country's wine production in 1835.
  • At the turn of the century, 25 wineries operated in North Carolina, making it one of the nation's most productive wine states. The industry closed with the onset of Prohibition.

American Viticultural Areas (AVAs)

  • Yadkin Valley (est. 2002), located in northwestern North Carolina and home to approximately 400 acres of vineyard
  • Swan Creek (est. 2008), a sub-region of the Yadkin Valley AVA and home to six wineries
  • Haw River Valley (est. 2009), located in central North Carolina and home to six wineries
  • Upper Hiwassee Highlands (est. 2014), situated in two counties and home to five wineries in southwestern North Carolina
  • Appalachian High Country (est. 2016), comprising five counties and six wineries in the North Carolina mountains