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May designated Tennessee Wine and Grape Appreciation Month


Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has designated the month of May 2018 as "Tennessee Wine and Grape Appreciation Month," reflecting the state's growing wine industry.

(PRWEB) April 30, 2018

Governor Bill Haslam has designated the month of May 2018 as "Tennessee Wine and Grape Appreciation Month."

"Tennessee Wine and Grape Appreciation Month is an opportunity to celebrate Tennessee's rich wine heritage with citizens and business and community leaders working in the wine industry," said Haslam. The proclamation recognizes the growth and economic impact of the Tennessee wine and grape industry in recent years.

According to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, the state of Tennessee has always been rich in agricultural diversity, and recent statistics show the state's grape and wine industry is expanding quickly, and bearing fruit. A recent analysis by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville professor David Hughes found that the state now has over 70 bonded wineries and accounts for some 500 jobs in rural areas.

"With the considerable growth of our wineries and vineyards in recent years, producers have demonstrated that Tennessee agriculture can be innovative and versatile," Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton said. "We are proud to see this sector recognized for its success."

Through the Specialty Crop Block Grant program, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture has been able to provide assistance in the establishment of two new American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in Tennessee. These areas are federally designated grape growing regions, for example, Napa Valley and Sonoma County, California. One proposed AVA is in the Upper Cumberland Region on the plateau and the other is the region surrounding Knoxville, called Nine Lakes.

"We have nine lakes, surrounded by two mountain chains. Combined with the lake effect, our gentle hillsides are perfect for growing many varietals of grapes," said James R. Riddle, president of the Appalachian Region Wine Producers. "The Nine Lakes region of Tennessee already has more wineries and vineyards than any other part of the state."

And to celebrate those local wines, the public is invited to Nine Lakes Wine Festival, May 17-19 in Oak Ridge and Knoxville.

"Nine Lakes Wine Festival is a wonderful opportunity for the public to taste award winning Tennessee wines," said Riddle. "Our goal is to put Tennessee on the wine lover's map. Celebrating Tennessee wines during Tennessee Grape and Wine Appreciation month is a great start."

Nine Lakes Wine Festival, May 17-19, combines three days of events:

  • May 17, 6 to 9:00 p.m. Chef's Table Wine Dinner, produced by UT Culinary Community Cooking Instructors, and paired with three Tennessee wines, at the UT Visitors Center.
  • May 18, 6 to 9:30 p.m., VIP Taste of Gold – A tasting of 25 gold medal winning wines, paired with small plate cuisine. The evening includes a celebration and announcement of the Governor's Cup Award as well, and is located at Melton Lake Park, Oak Ridge.
  • May 19, 3 to 8 p.m. Grand Tasting. This main event at Melton Lake Park, Oak Ridge, offers tasting of 100+ wines and ciders, with live music, chef demos and wine seminars.

Tickets for all these events are available online at

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