The 690 square mile Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA is a bi-state appellation covering parts of Cherokee and Clay counties in the southwestern North Carolina and Towns, Union and Fannin Counties in northwestern Georgia. The AVA lies in the southern Appalachian Mountains, specifically the southern reach of the Blue Ridge Mountains and reflects that terrain..
The Hiawassee River finds its headwaters in Towns County GA and flows northward into North Carolina and then ultimately westward into Tennessee and the Tennessee River.
Overall these two states produce just 132,000 gallons in Georgia in 2013 and 1.4 M gallons in North Carolina. The new AVA contributes to both those state totals.
Traditional grapes feature Norton/Cythiana and Muscadine.
At approval the AVA contained 26 commerical vineyards that cover just 54 acres of land. Grape varietals of Vinifera, French American Hybrid and indigenous American grapes are all grown in the AVA. Parts of the AVA can reach upwards of 2450 feet in elevation.
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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