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.
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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You were born in the Finger Lakes, and bred to tough it out in the rough game of these northern vineyard
is the Regional Correspondent for South Carolina.