Growing Grapes in Georgia

Georgia was once one of the largest producers of grape wines in the United States, ranking sixth in the entire country before the alcohol ban of the 1920s. After the Prohibition, though, the Georgia wine industry plunged to almost nothing except for sacramental wine production. With the passage of the state’s farm bills in the 1970s, however, Georgia experienced a resurgence of grape and wine production when its two oldest vineyards opened. Today, the number has grown to more than a dozen vineyards and wineries all over the state. Georgia’s climatic conditions in the elevated North and South are ideal for growing Vitis vinifera (European varieties) for premium wine-making and cold-hardy French-American hybrids. Rainfall is very minimal during the growing season, giving ample time for the grapes to ripen. The elevation is also a relief from the humid surrounding lowlands, preventing hot-weather diseases, such as molds and mildew, from killing the grapevines. Also, the soils all over the region are sandy and rich in red clay deposits, making them well-drained while being able to retain moisture during the dry growing season.

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