Vermont Wine: A Growing Business

By Alex Rose

Published 08/17 2014 04:38PM

Updated 08/20 2014 11:45PM

Berlin, Vt.- "It's funny because several years ago, people just didn't have any idea that we could grow grapes in this state and make wine in this state," said Vermont Grape and Wine Education Chair John McCann.

Money is pouring into the wine business. After several wineries held open houses for tastings this weekend, owners say this business is on the rise.

“Vermont is all based around agriculture, and what a better way to utilize farms and starting to close down from dairy and keeping that land preserved and bringing grapes in and starting to grow grapes here."

While Vermont isn't as established as California, business owners, including former Grape and Wine Council President John McCann, believe we have our own unique flavor.

“The Marquette, the La Crescent, Frontenacary,” McCann said. “These all grow really fantastic here. They do well in the cold climates."

They're called “hardier” grapes because they can survive sub-zero temperatures.

McCann says getting into this industry doesn't happen overnight. He redefines the term wine cellar, by having his winery in his basement.

McCann: "You really get your most fruitful crop between five and seven years,” McCann said. “So it does take some time, and you got to put that into perspective when you decide you want to become a winery in this state."

That hasn't slowed down the growth. There are at least 35 wineries in the state, and most have been established recently.

Over the past five years, wineries and vineyards have popped up all over Vermont. One of the biggest factors in this business is the weather. Climate change is starting to dictate what kind of grapes business owners can and can't grow.

When asked if climate change will hurt or help Vermont’s wine businesses, McCann said, "It could potentially help the wine business here. we could start growing grapes that the finger lakes are growing now. So Cayuga, Seyval, some of those little bit better quality style grapes."

Down the line, McCann thinks the wines that could tolerate a new Vermont climate will yield better flavors for businesses.

To see the closest winery to you, visit the Vermont Grape and Wine Council website:

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