Being a winemaker in South Carolina is all about hard work and dedication, not to mention a fair dose of luck. The climate is the major obstacle. Grapevines must endure 100-degree summer days in a region where summers range from being too wet in some years, to too dry in others. Vines are grown in high-acid soils and pruned to provide shade from the hot sun of this southern state. It’s often necessary to harvest grapes early to maintain acidity. Even when the crop is safely in the fermenter, vintners must keep their fingers crossed that an autumn hurricane doesn't roar through and destroy the land for next year’s harvest. There are fewer than ten wineries currently operating in South Carolina. The search goes on for just the right varieties for this unique terroir, with native Muscadines, viniferas, hybrids, and everything in between, being tested. It’s a difficult struggle, but for South Carolina wineries it’s a labor of love.
Since Thomas Jefferson first tried to cultivate European vinifera in Virginia, the state has been a decided piece of American wine country. Over the years better knowledge, equipment and materials have all contributed to an advancing wine industry, but the more recent decade or two has brought out the real potential that can be found.
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The Talented Mr. Chambourcin. Your attributes are undeniable, but your background is clouded in mystery.
is the Regional Correspondent for South Carolina.