Appalachian High Country

In the Wine Light – Appalachian High Country AVA

In the Wine Light – Appalachian High Country 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 fifth AVA in North Carolina, the Appalachian High Country.  This is North Carolina’s second AVA shared with another state.  In this case, it’s two states, Tennessee and Virginia.

Linville Falls Winery - Linville Falls, NC

Linville Falls Winery – Linville Falls, NC

The petition for creating the Appalachian High Country AVA originated from Johnnie James, owner of Bethel Valley Farms on behalf of the High Country Wine Growers Association.  The area has been known as the High Country for many years due to the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains.

Banner Elk Winery - Banner Elk, NC

Banner Elk Winery – Banner Elk, NC

The Appalachian High Country AVA is distinguished from the surrounding areas and other AVAs due to topography, climate, and soils.  At the time of the petition to establish the AVA, there were 21 vineyards and 10 wineries.

Due to the shorter growing season and cooler climate of the high country, hybrids are popular grape varieties.  Seyval Blanc, Marquette, Marechal Foch, Frontenac, and Vidal Blanc are popular varieties.  You can also find vinifera varieties in smaller quantities such as Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Vineyard at Grandfather Mountain Vineyard  & Winery - Banner Elk, NC

Vineyard at Grandfather Mountain Vineyard & Winery – Banner Elk, NC

Also, most vineyards are planted on slopes with angles of 30 degrees or greater.  This also means vineyards tend to be terraced to prevent erosion.  Due to this harvesting is mostly done by hand.

The High Country is a popular destination in any time of year.  From Christmas tree farms and skiing in the winter to the blooms of late spring and summer to the colorful leaves of fall, there’s plenty to enjoy year round.  Plus, there’s great wine too!

Quick Facts

Name:  Appalachian High Country

Petitioner:  Johnnie James, owner of Bethel Valley Farms on behalf of the High Country Wine Growers Association

Effective Date:  November 28, 2016

Square Miles:  2,400

Counties within boundaries:  All or Portions of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, and Watauga Counties in North Carolina; Carter and Johnson Counties in Tennessee; and Grayson County in Virginia

Geography:  Elevation ranges from 1338 ft to over 6000 ft with most vineyards planted between 2290 ft to 4630 ft

Climate:  The average annual temperature is 51.5 degrees with a growing season that averages 139 days.

Soil:  Derived from igneous and metamorphic rocks such as granite and gneiss; Well-drained with a fine, loamy texture

Source:  TTB Website

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Posted by Joe Brock in In the Wine Light, 0 comments