Local News

Rainy Weather Can Be Bright Spot For Wine Grapes In N.C.

Posted June 26, 2003

— Now that the sun has replaced the rain in many parts of North Carolina, most farmers are relieved. But for those who make wine, the rainy weather was a bright spot.

David Fussell Jr. of Duplin Cellars said he is thrilled with all the rain the state has seen.

"We're just perfectly happy with the weather," he said.

While most of the state's other crops are smaller than they should be, wine grapes are thriving. Today's bottles are being filled with last year's crop, which relied on irrigation.

Fussell said that roughly 40 percent of North Carolina's wine grapes could not handle last year's dry season.

"Last year, of course, we had the drought and the vines were definitely under a lot of stress because of no water. This year, of course, we've got plenty of water," he said.

Thanks to the rain, growers say the grapes look great, but now they hope the weather will normalize a bit. At this point, growers say excessive rain could generate fungus.

Duplin Cellars grows about 1,000 acres worth of grapes. The winery says North Carolina led the nation in wine grapes until the 1920s. The state never reclaimed the top spot after federal prohibition.


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