At elevations above 3,000 feet, the wineries of the High Country offers a different experience than many other wineries in the United States.
With the warm days and cool nights during the summer, tasters can enjoy a variety of wines not found in hotter climates.
And now, with the Appalachian High Country American Viticultural Area having been established in October 2016, opportunities for further development is possible.
“The AVA can attract more growers and more wineries,” said Dylan Tatum, winemaker and general manager of Grandfather Vineyard and Winery.
The area’s cold winters, cool summers and rainy seasons allows the High Country to offer more dry wines, while warmer climates allow sweeter wines to be created.
“Within our AVA, we have our own distinct climate, soil, taste,” Tatum said. “It’s different than Yadkin Valley, with the cool nights. Our claim to fame is our dry white wine, which is crisp and acidic.”
A big positive of High Country wineries is that they the three in Avery counties form what High Country Host calls the Boone Area Wine Trail.
“Great thing about the wineries of the High Country is that they’re basically on trail,” Candice Cook, director of High Country Host said. “Visitors can visit all three local wineries in one day.”
The three wineries on the Boone Area Wine Trail, the Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, the Banner Elk Winery and Villa and the Linville Falls Winery, all offer indoor and outdoor seating.
The scenery, which matches some of the mountain wineries in Europe, offers visitors great view and ambiance as they try wines that are local to the area.
“Unless you go way-far north, I don’t know if any other mountainous region that has what we have on the East Coast,” Tatum noted. “We have very different wines than anywhere adjacent to us. It’s a completely different climate.”
The local vineyards are also about more than just tastings and relaxation, as several sites now host private events such as weddings, meetings and celebrations.