Tennessee as enjoyed an illustrious history of winemaking with 90,000 gallons of table wine being produced as early as 1880 from thousands of vines across the state. The industry was introduced to the state by immigrants from Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Aiming to preserve their family heritage of winemaking, they used vines which would continue to prevail in Tennessee’s wine industry.
Grapes are grown in many parts of the state in climate and terrain similar to the old country. When prohibition hit the state, vineyards of winegrapes lost their market and fell into disuse. However, winemaking families preserved their heritage by continuing to make wine at home.
The renewal of winemaking in Tennessee was initiated by amateur winemakers who, in 1977, succeeded in having state laws changed to allow, once again, the establishment of farm wineries.
The 1990s will be a time of growth for Tennessee wineries. During the last decade, many Tennessee wineries have taken gold, silver and bronze regional and international awards for their fine wines. Tennessee wineries have a wine for every taste and occasion, from champagne to dry or sweet table wines to dessert wines.
For more information, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, 615-360-0160.