Growing Grapes in Tennessee
Like most Midwestern states in the United States, Tennessee had a developing grape growing and wine making industry before it was stunted by the Prohibition in the 1920s. Today, Tennessee houses 24 wineries that concentrate mostly on the production of French-American hybrids and native American grapes. The climate all over Tennessee is generally hot and humid, especially during the summers. Vinis vitifera varieties, the classic European grapes used for premium wine making, are not suitable to this region because they are susceptible to diseases common in hot climates. Tennessee researchers have also started developing hybrids that can withstand the bitter, cold winters in the region. Majority of the vineyards and wineries here are found in central and eastern Tennessee. Some wineries in the Mississippi Delta area near the Mississippi River were also established. These wineries commonly cultivate native Muscadine grapes, which are both resistant to diseases and the state’s cold winters. French-American hybrids popular with Tennessee growers are Marechal Foch, Merlot, and Baco Noir. Growers in this area also cultivate Concord, Niagara, Norton, and Catawba.
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