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  • Delayne Martin

Exploring the North Carolina Wine Industry: What EXACTLY is an AVA?



Carolina’s wine industry is growing stronger every harvest. Wine growers are experimenting with blends and growing techniques. Visit any one of our almost 200 wineries and you will find them alive with people, music, and food. The North Carolina wine-growing community has a website, NCwine.org, that is dedicated to supporting our wine industry. North Carolina is divided into 6 American Vinicultural Areas (AVA). These areas are approved by the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB). The TTB regulates labels, production, advertising, and AVAs. To be granted such a designation takes many years, but the advantages are worth the process. One advantage of becoming an AVA is the potential to better market wines and wine products to consumers. A wine label’s information must follow strict guidelines for accuracy and consistency and must be approved for each wine each year. Additionally, marketing as a group helps all the wineries in the same AVA. Wineries must all adhere to North Carolina’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) which governs and disperses permits. The Commission also controls the sale of alcohol. There are 6 AVAs within North Carolina.


Yadkin Valley


Swan Creek


Haw River Valley

  • Established 2009

  • Located in the northern and central part of the state and include Alamance, Guilford, Chatham, Rockingham, and Caswell counties

  • Established wineries include


Upper Hiwassee Highlands


Appalachian High Country

  • Established 2016

  • Spans across 8 counties and 3 states

  • Vines grow at an elevation between 2,290 and 4.630 feet

  • Focus on cold weather grapes of Vidal Blanc, Marquette, and Traminette

  • Established wineries include


Crest of the Blue Ridge


Tryon Foothills (in progress).


Aside from the federally recognized regions, North Carolina is also geographically divided into 3 wine regions. They are the mountains, piedmont, and coastal regions. You can make your way across our great state tasting wine and enjoying some unique winery experiences. Each region produces different wines due to a variety of growing techniques and the adaptability of the grapes themselves. Even the same grape grown in different regions will take on the terroir of the area. We encourage you to use NCwine.org to discover the great wine made right here in the great state of North Carolina.



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