Wine Industry Facts

Jul. 7, 2017

  • North Carolina is home to nearly 200 wineries. The industry has two focuses — native muscadine grapes and European-style vinifera grapes.
  • Commonly planted vinifera grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. They are planted in the western and Piedmont regions of the state. 
  • Scuppernongs and other native muscadine grapes are relatively pest resistant and thrive in the hot sandy conditions of the coastal region. Muscadines contain high levels of Resveratrol and other health-enhancing antioxidants. Some wineries even sell grape skins to nutraceutical companies.
  • Scuppernong is the first grape cultivated in the United States and is the official fruit of North Carolina. The Mother Vine in Manteo on Roanoke Island, a 400-year-old scuppernong vine, is the oldest known cultivated grapevine in the nation.
  • North Carolina ranks 10th in U.S. wine production.
  • More than 400 individually owned grape vineyards are spread across the state. North Carolina ranks 10th in the nation in grape production.
  • According to a recent study, the annual economic impact of the North Carolina wine and grape industry is $1.28 billion with nearly 7,600 jobs supported.
  • The Yadkin Valley is North Carolina's first federally recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA). It is located in northwestern North Carolina, and there are nearly 40 wineries and about 400 acres devoted to vineyards in the Yadkin Valley.
  • Swan Creek AVA, a sub-region of the Yadkin Valley wine area, was established in 2008. It includes six wineries.
  • Haw River Valley AVA is North Carolina's third, established in 2009. It is located in central North Carolina and is home to six wineries.
  • A fourth AVA, the Upper Hiwassee Highlands, was established in 2014. It includes two counties and five wineries in southwestern North Carolina.
  • The Appalachian High Country AVA became the state's fifth in 2016. The AVA comprises five counties and six wineries in the North Carolina mountains.
  • 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.
  • 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 United States.



Eleanor Talley