NC Wine 101

There are about 200 wineries and 400 vineyards in North Carolina. The state ranks 10th in the US in production. Grapes for wine are grown in three regions—the Mountains of Western North Carolina, Piedmont typically associated with Central North Carolina, and the Coastal Plain of eastern North Carolina.

Our tours feature the Mountain and Piedmont regions of North Carolina.

What Can I Expect from NC Wine?

North Carolina grows a surprising amount of varietals (aka grapes) in each of its 5 designated growing regions. NC history was set in sweeter style wines but over the past 20 years, the region has seen a renaissance of dry-style wine. Many vineyards will offer a sweet-style but will also offer drier wines highlighting how wonderful our geography has become.

You will see quite a number of wines you are familiar with like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Grigio.

You will also see lesser-known but wonderful wines from grapes called Chambourcin, Petit Verdot, Viognier, and Traminette. The list goes on and on. 

NC REd Wines

NC red wine tends to be medium-bodied and high in acidity. Unlike California which features more fruit-forward red wine, North Carolina’s reds tend to favor an earthy style. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule but most wines will follow this.

We love NC red wine with food (that is why we are a food & wine tour). Foods high in acid & fat are great pairing partners for NC wines. Meatballs in marinara sauce is a great match for red wine and big cheeses also pair very well.

What is the Difference Between NC & California wine?

The main difference between East Coast and West Coast wines is the length of our growing season. North Carolina’s growing season is 6+ weeks less than the West Coast. Why? Hurricanes. Late September is the start of hurricane season which brings a tremendous amount of rain to the NC wine-growing region.

One of wine’s biggest enemies is wetness. Wet conditions bring the mold to the vines. Vines love heat & arid conditions.

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