Swan Creek AVA spreads across Wilkes, Yadkin and Iredell counties in the western Piedmont region of North Carolina, encompassing roughly 170 square miles. Most of it lies in the southwest corner of the Yadkin Valley, but conditions here are a little different. The western wedge of Swan Creek’s foothills are bounded by the Brushy Mountains and the Blue Ridge range, which bring steady cooling breezes down through the region for excellent air drainage and quicker drying after rainfall, which is a few inches less than other parts of the Yadkin. The soil is somewhat different, too, a loose loam composed largely of schist – decomposed granite containing mica and other minerals, with less density of clay than other areas of Yadkin Valley.
The climate allows grapes to ripen well but retain good acidity and balance. Currently there are five wineries in Swan Creek: Buck Shoals, Dobbins Creek, Laurel Gray, Raffaldini, and Shadow Springs. So far, vineyard acreage is small at about 130 acres, planted mostly to French and Italian vinifera varieties including some fairly new to the US, such as Vermentino and Montepulciano that are doing quite well here. The prairie-like landscape, with its wide expanse of gently rolling hills, offers plenty of room for growth.
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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