The Yadkin Valley wine region, formally known as the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area, is a relatively new wine-growing region in northwestern North Carolina. The area is about 1.4 million acres in the Yadkin River valley and includes all of Wilkes, Surry, and Yadkin counties, and parts of Davie, Davidson, Forsyth and Stokes counties.
In 2003, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms approved a new appellation for the region -- the Yadkin Valley appellation -- allowing winemakers to bottle wines with a label indicating that the wine came from the Yadkin Valley.
For decades, the area was a key tobacco-growing region. However, as tobacco farming and cigarette manufacturing in the area decline, some entrepreneurs, including tobacco farmers, are turning to winemaking.
The native grapes of this region of the southeastern United States are the muscadine and the scuppernong. Early attempts to grow the European wine grape, Vitis vinifera, in the southeastern United States, including 18th century efforts by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, had mixed success. But in the past two to three decades, viticultural research has helped adapt these grapes to the climate, soil, and pests of the region. The Yadkin Valley area is in the piedmont and foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and some have compared the grape-growing conditions of the area to France's Burgundy.
A number of varieties of wines are made in the region, including, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Chambourcin, Merlot, Seyval Blanc, Saugiovese, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino, Semillon, Niagra, Syrah/Shiraz, Petit Vedot, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, and other lesser known varieties.
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