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Southwest NC mountains in new viticulture region

The federal government has designated a new wine grape-growing area that includes two counties in southwestern North Carolina.

The U.S. Department of Treasury announced Wednesday that it would add the Upper Hiwassee Highlands American Viticultural Area in Southwestern North Carolina and North Georgia. It's the first AVA in Georgia and the fourth in North Carolina, which has the Yadkin Valley, Haw River and Swan Creek AVAs. The new American Viticultural Area includes Cherokee and Clay counties in North Carolina and Towns and Union counties in Georgia.
A Treasury-certified AVA is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features,with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, an agency of the Department of the Treasury. There are over 200 AVAs in the U.S., including the well-known Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Finger Lakes regions.
The federal agencies scheduled a news conference on Thursday in Andrews to talk about the designation. Dr. Sarah Spayd, an N.C. State University viticulturalist, and vineyard and winery owners will be on hand to talk about the economic impact of the new AVA.