Few people realize that North Carolina was once the top wine-producing state in the nation.
The Civil War and Prohibition virtually wiped out our state’s wine industry, but over the last 15 years, an infusion of tobacco settlement money and the efforts of visionary entrepreneurs have resurrected winemaking in North Carolina.
The industry’s growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. There were only about 25 wineries in our state a decade ago. Now there are more than 100. The number of wineries has actually doubled since 2005.
A recent study revealed that the economic impact of the wine and grape industry in our state in 2009 was $1.3 billion, a 58-percent increase over 2005. It also showed that the industry has helped create about 7,600 jobs.
“Grape Expectations” examines this economic success story with a look at our state’s wine industry and its tremendous growth. It profiles the pioneers of the industry, shows how the industry is generating revenue, examines the sustainability of the industry’s growth and explores the wide variety of wineries and vineyards that span our state from the mountains to the coast.
WRAL News anchor and reporter Monica Laliberte is the host of “Grape Expectations." It airs Wednesday, June 27, at 7 p.m.