The Piedmont Triad Region is on the fast track to gaining national prominence as a leader in viticulture. State and local agencies have invested heavily in support of this industry as the wines produced here continue to earn accolades. With the Region’s combination of the right soil, climate, elevation, infrastructure and logistics capabilities, the Region continues to attract the attention of viticulturists looking to establish new wineries.
Currently, there are more than 70 wineries in North Carolina. In fact, North Carolina was recently named one of the top five destinations for wine and culinary tourism in the country by the Travel Industry Association. Wine Enthusiast magazine described the Yadkin Valley wineries and restaurants as "reminiscent of Tuscany."
The Yadkin Valley on the western side of the Piedmont Triad was designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2003 -- the first such designation in North Carolina. In late May 2008, the Swan Creek region, 180-square miles located in portions of Wilkes, Yadkin and Iredell Counties, was declared the second AVA.
The Southeast’s only viticulture degree program is at Surry Community College. A four-acre vineyard on campus gives students the opportunity to grow, harvest and process grapes into wine in an academic environment aimed at producing a skilled workforce. A commercially bonded winery on campus produces bottled wine. The college provides applied research, demonstration, consultation, evaluation, technical support and workforce development for vineyard and winery owners across the region and the state.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce provides resources for those interested in the viticulture industry, and the North Carolina Governor recently proclaimed September 2008 as Wine and Grape Appreciation Month.