Nestled in the Mayacamas Mountains overlooking the opening of the Napa Valley is a small, 25-square-mile appellation that produces colossal wines of mountainous fame. The vignerons of Mt. Veeder range from recluses and dairy farmers to artists, musicians and businessmen. It takes a love of the vine, unrelenting patience and sheer guts to grow grapes on this rugged, volcanic mountain. The slopes are steep, the soils are thin and the viticulture is back-breaking, but the result is intense, chewy wines with distinctive wild berry fruit flavors and magnificent spice. The region’s area totals around 15,000 acres, with over 1,000 acres under vine. Some vineyard slopes here are as much as 30 degrees, allowing more direct exposure to the sun, as well as providing superior air drainage, reducing climactic extremes. The wines of Mt. Veeder are a testament to the efforts of vignerons with rare passion.
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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