Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA

In the Wine Light – Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA

AVAs for North Carolina

American Viticultural Areas in North Carolina

In the Wine Light we continue our series on American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in North Carolina.  Our focus in this post is the fourth AVA in North Carolina, the Upper Hiwassee Highlands.

Hiwassee River Basin

Hiwassee River Basin

The petition for creating the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA originated from Eric Carlson, owner of Calaboose Cellars, on behalf of himself and members of the Vineyard and Winery Operators of the Upper Hiwassee River Basin group.

FernCrest Winery Tasting Room - Andrews, NC

FernCrest Winery Tasting Room – Andrews, NC

The Upper Hiwassee Highlands name was chosen due to the AVA’s location along the upper portions of the Hiwassee River, from the river’s headwaters in Towns County, Georgia, to the Hiwassee Dam on Hiwassee Lake in Cherokee County, North Carolina. The portion of the river that flows north of the dam, outside the proposed viticultural area, is often referred to as the “lower” river.  Highlands denotes the high, rugged, regions of the southern portion of the Appalachians and are terms used by businesses and organizations within the AVA.

 
Nottely River Valley Vineyards Tasting Room - Murphy, NC

Nottely River Valley Vineyards Tasting Room – Murphy, NC

Upper Hiwasee Highlands was the first AVA in North Carolina to be shared with another state, in this case, Georgia.  It covers portions of Cherokee and Clay counties in southwestern North Carolina and portions of Town, Union, and Fannin Counties in northern Georgia.

Nottely River Valley Vineyards - Murphy, NC

Nottely River Valley Vineyards – Murphy, NC

At the time of the petition in 2013 there were 26 commercial vineyards located throughout the proposed viticultural area, growing approximately 54 acres of French-American hybrids, American grape varieties, and Vitis vinifera.

Today the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA continues to produce top quality grapes and wines.  From the scenic mountain views to the quaint mountain towns and friendly people, it’s a great wine destination for North Carolina.

Quick Facts

Name:  Upper Hiwassee Highlands

Petitioner:  Eric Carlson, owner of Calaboose Cellars, on behalf of himself and members of the Vineyard and Winery Operators of the Upper Hiwassee River Basin group

Effective Date:  August 14, 2014

Square Miles:  690

Counties within boundaries:  Portions of Cherokee and Clay in North Carolina and Towns, Union, and Fannin in Georgia

Geography:  Elevation ranges from 2000 to 2400 ft which is lower than most of the surrounding area and the AVA boundary approximating the boundary of the watershed for the upper portion of the Hiwassee River

Climate:  Warmer than the surrounding regions to the north, east, and south and slightly cooler than the region to the west with 161 to 168 freeze free days 

Soil:  Deep, moderately to well drained, and moderately fertile

Source:  TTB Website

#InTheWineLight #NCWine #UpperHiwasseeHighlands

 

Posted by Joe Brock

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