NC wine vineyards bring in tourist revenue

Reported by Bob Townsend - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - North Carolina ranks 10th for grape and wine production in the United States.

The state's fruit has created a major boost in the state's tourism industry.

Just eight years ago, there were only a handful of wineries around the Tarheel State. Now, there are over 80 wineries and more than 350 individually owned grape vineyards, covering over 1,500 areas.

Elizabethtown businessman Ron Taylor planted the vines on land where tobacco used to thrive.  Five years ago, he saw the direction tobacco was heading and planted 52 acres of grapes, and created Lu-Mill Vineyards, in honor of his mother and father.

But like many of the other wineries in North Carolina, Taylor is not just selling bottles of wines. To make it a true destination location, he has branched out into the restaurant business and also working with other farmers who grow other crops to turn their products into another sellable commodity.

In addition to creating revenue from visitors, the North Carolina Grape Council estimates that the annual economic impact of grapes and wine at $813 million annually, and has created more than 5,700 jobs across the state.

Although the actual harvest season is now ending, people are still flocking to the various wineries, to enjoy a taste of the fruit from the vine, and at the same time, putting money into the state's economy in this every tough recession.

For more information on how to start your own vineyard can be found at the North Carolina Grape Council in Raleigh.

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