Today’s Topic: Appalachian High Country is NC’s newest wine region

By on January 3, 2017

Todays-Topic

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

North Carolina has its fifth designated wine region, or American Viticultural Area. The newest AVA in the state is known as the Appalachian High Country.

Late last year, grape growers and wineries in the region could begin adding that distinction to their labels.

The AVA designation helps winemakers more accurately describe the origin of their wines, and it helps consumers identify wines they want to buy. The distinction also allows wineries in the area to market their products collectively, which can benefit the entire region.

The Appalachian High Country AVA is a 2,400-acre area spanning eight counties across three states. The North Carolina counties are Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell and Watauga. It also includes two counties in Tennessee and one in Virginia.

A total of 10 wineries and 21 vineyards are currently included in the AVA, and eight more vineyards are planned in the near future.

The climate of the Appalachian High Country makes it unique for grape growing. It’s a colder region, and there are fewer growing days with temperatures above 51 degrees. The area also has one of the highest average elevations east of the Mississippi River. Vineyards are planted at elevations between about 2,300 feet and 4,600 feet. More than half are at 3,000 feet or above. And more than half of the vineyards are planted on slopes with angles of 30 degrees or more.

For more information about North Carolina’s wine and grape industry, click here.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about the Appalachian High Country AVA.

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