North Carolina has always been an agriculture haven, when it comes to viticulture, it continues to grow. The most recent AVA in North Carolina – Crest of the Blue Ridge Henderson County – was established in 2019. When it comes to the state of wine in North Caroline, the state is literally divided into three wine regions consisting of 200 wineries and six designated AVAs.
Make sure to check out our North Caroline Wine Travel Guide to help plan the perfect NC wine country vacation.
The Appalachian Mountains
What might be the oldest mountain in the United States – The Appalachian Mountains – is also home to three designated AVAs.
Appalachian High Country AVA, 10 wineries and 21 vineyards
Crest of the Blue Ridge AVA, 14 wineries
Upper Hiwassee Highlands, 3 wineries
AVAs - American Viticultural Areas - are designated wine-grape growing regions with specific geographical, climate attributes, and grape varietal production. These geographical boundaries define the wine and everything that goes into it. Everything including what grapes can be grown and how the wine is grown and is produced.
The term “Piedmont” is French meaning “foot of the mountain”. So it only make sense the middle region of the state, located between the Coastal Plain and the Mountain regions is given this name. Home to three AVAs, Piedmont is one of the main North Carolina wine regions to sip in. Given its close proximity to the major cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point it’s also an easy wine country escape.
Yadkin Valley AVA, 36+ wineries
Swan Creek AVA and Haw River Valley AVA’s are sub regions of Yadkin Valley.
North Carolina is known for its sweet dessert wines but wineries also produce sparkling wines alongside dry table reds, rosés, and white wines. Most North Carolina wineries focus on commercially successful European grape varietals including the usual suspects: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Some of their more interesting wines are produced from hybrids, native grapes, and other European grapes.
In 2002, Yadkin Valley became the first designated AVA in North Carolina.
The Coastal Plain stretches from Corolla in the north, to central coast Wilmington, and all the way to the southern Outer Banks. It makes up the largest region in the, covering roughly 45 percent of North Carolina. It does not currently have any official AVAs – yet – but is home to many wineries and vineyards.