September is Wine and Grape Month

N.C. is home to more than 100 wineries and 400 vineyards

photo courtesy of The Duplin Times—photo courtesy of The Duplin Times
Festival goers enjoy wine tastings at the 11th annual Muscadine Festival. The 12th Annual Muscadine Festival is planned for September 23-24.

Grapes were one of the very first crops planted by Europeans in North Carolina and the New World. By the dawn of the 20th century, North Carolina was the leading wine-producing region in the nation. While prohibition moved N.C.’s illicit moonshine trade to almost mythical status, winemaking was less lucrative and almost disappeared from the Old North State.

After N.C. removed legal banishment of winemaking, the state’s winemaking infrastructure and culture had to be rebuilt. In the past two decades, wineries and vineyards have expanded rapidly from Murphy to Manteo.

Today, N.C. boasts a unique variety of grapes and wine and ranks as a top-five destination for wine travelers and enthusiasts in the U.S. Visitors can enjoy more than 100 wineries and 400 vineyards from the mountains to the coast.

North Carolina ranks 10th in wine and grape production in the U.S., and the industry generates an annual economic impact of $1.28 billion and supports nearly 7,600 jobs in the state.

September is wine month in N.C. Wineries, vineyards and government agencies are providing new opportunities for wine aficionados and novices alike to enjoy the fruit of the vine in the Land of the Longleaf Pine. North Carolina is home to five federally recognized American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) which have unique climates, soils and elevations that produce distinctive wines. Only five states are home to more AVAs than N.C.

You can start wine and grape month in a big way:

Duplin Winery, in Rose Hill, is the largest and oldest winery in the state and the world’s largest muscadine wine producer.

Biltmore Estate Winery, in Asheville, is the most visited winery in the U.S., receiving more than 1 million visitors each year.