RALEIGH – Wineries, grape growers, restauranteurs and state officials gathered in Raleigh Tuesday to officially kick-off N.C. Wine and Grape Month, which is held each September during the peak of the local grape harvest.
“North Carolina has a lot to celebrate when it comes to our wine and grape industry,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The wine and grape industry contributes $1.97 billion to the state’s economy and employs more than 10,000 people.”
In September, wineries will open their doors with special events to celebrate the month, ranging from traditional grape stomps to wine-and-cheese pairing events. Large festivals, such as the North Carolina Muscadine Festival in Kenansville are also planned. A selection of events is available at www.ncwine.org. In addition, wine lovers can contact their favorite winery for a list of specific events planned for that location.
North Carolina is home to 525 commercial grape growers and nearly 200 wineries. The state is also home to five American Viticultural Areas: Appalachian High Country, Haw River, Swan Creek, Upper Hiwassee Highlands and Yadkin Valley. Each is federally recognized for its distinctive combination of soil, climate, elevation and wine characteristics. While many of the state’s wineries are located in an AVA, wineries also can be found from Cherokee County in the mountains to Currituck County along the coast.
More information about the industry, including detailed maps of the state’s wineries, can be found at www.ncwine.org.