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North Carolina Wines

North Carolina Wines

North Carolina is not known for its wines, but maybe it should be. North Carolina's rich farmland and mild climate contribute to the success and wide variety of grapes grown across the state, producing more than 500,000 gallons of wine annually. Winemakers use grape varieties that are gown in North Carolina to create wine with a superior flavor, such as European types, native muscadines and other fruits.

North Carolina Muscadine or Scuppernong grapes North Carolina is the home of our nation's first cultivated grape. The Florentine navigator Verrazzano, who explored the Cape Fear River Valley for France in 1524, wrote that he saw "...Many vines growing naturally there..." North Carolina's wine industry is rooted deep in the colonial heritage of Sir Walter Raleigh's Colony on Roanoke Island, where the first scuppernong vine was cultivated. For more than a century, vineyards and wineries have perpetuated the agricultural tradition that is the heart of North Carolina. Medoc Vinyards led the country in wine production in 1835.

North Carolina now ranks 12th in the country in grape and wine production with a number of varieties of grapes which include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, French Cabernet, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and other traditional European grapes and French-American hybrids. The native Muscadine (Scuppernong) grapes with their tough outer skin are pest resistant and thrive in the coastal plains and are known for their health-enhancing antioxidants. The fruit does not grow in bunches, and when ripe it can be shaken from the vine.

Today North Carolina is home to 38 wineries. Here's a list courtesy of the North Carolina Grape Council. If you visit them remember to bring a designated driver who will not take part in the tastings and be sure to phone ahead. Many of the wineries are easily located with the directional signs on the highways. Click here for a list of North Carolina Wineries and directions.

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