According to UC Davis, premium wine production is limited to those regions of the world
that best satisfy three climatic conditions:
For the following reasons, we feel our beautiful valley has tremendous untapped potential for wine grape growing.
- adequate heat accumulation,
- broad day/night temperature differential, and
- absence of extreme heat.
Maximum rates of photosynthesis in grape leaves occur from 85° to 90°F. The graph below are five-year averages of our daily highs.
We have excellent heat accumulation from June through mid-September.
- Just the Right Temperature
Our Grape Region is Class III based on the Five Class University of California Davis system of classifying cumulative growing degree days (50°F base)
for the period from April 1 through October 31. Our total is 3,250 growing degree days. This is equivalent to Napa and Sonoma as well
as France's Rhône region.
- Warm Days, Cool Nights
During the ripening months, cool nights enhance the color, flavor and acidity of the wine.
Our 1,800 foot elevation provides us the largest summer high/low temperature differential (26°F) in the state of North Carolina
as well as the Southern Appalachian region. This rivals Napa's 27 degree differential.
- Not Too Hot
Extreme heat can reduce grape and wine quality. We only average 14 days per year in the 90s.
We believe that these are all the reasons why our Seyval and Catawba did so well at the State Fair. (Better than any other Seyval and Catawba in the state.)
Since 2006, our experimental vineyard at the winery has evaluated Chambourcin, Baco Noir, Marechal Foch, in addition to Seyval.
In 2009, we planted our new vineyard on leased land just around the corner -- the same land that bears the blackberries for our well-received
Jailbird Blackberry Wine. Carefully matching our future yields to the production capabilities of our tiny 300 square foot winery, we planted
two small blocks of Chambourcin and Seyval vines in the beautiful field shown in the photo to the right. In 2010 more Chambourcin, Seyval,
and Catawba were planted.
Each year, we have also used Catawba grapes grown by Wood Farm at their small vineyard at the East end of the Western Carolina Regional Airport
runway here in Andrews.
This year, we are leasing one block of vines from our friends at Valley River Vineyards. That block contains Chambourcin, Chancellor, Seyval and
At our request, two local growers planted small vineyards totaling 200 vines in 2008, evenly split between Norton and Catawba. We expect
the first harvests to occur in 2010.