The North Carolina (NC) wine industry has grown rapidly over the past decade and is expected to grow even more as the worldwide wine consumption and export of wines rises. In the United States, the wine market has grown by 13.7 percent since 2002 in volume and by more than 15 percent in dollars as wine has progressed from being a beverage of an elite segment of the market to becoming a mainline beverage, taking its place alongside beer and liquor (MKF Research LLC, 2007; Oches, 2009). The Piedmont Triad Region is uniquely positioned to increase its presence in this industry. Of the 80 wineries in NC that are currently open to the public, nearly half are located in the Piedmont Triad Region. However, growing grapes and making wine is a long term commitment to a community, both financially and physically. The MKF Research report states that the capital-intensive nature of the winery and vineyard sectors is often underestimated, with new entrants to the industry at times unprepared for the extended cash requirements. In addition, only a few local institutions are familiar with the unique needs of the winemaking business. In order to address factors that will impede growth in this nascent industry, it is important to identify the state of the industry and obtain management perspectives on the needs and challenges facing their operations. This study provides information that would help gain a better understanding of the business issues and needs related to the wine and grape industry in North Carolina. Data for this study was drawn from a census of 34 wine producers located in the Yadkin, Swan Creek, and the Haw River valley regions of North Carolina. Descriptive statistics using frequencies and means is used to provide a demographic overview of the industry and to identify the factors that wine producers perceive to be important in affecting their profitability. Results from the study shows that most of the wineries share some common traits: they are small, relatively new to the wine and grape industry and grow grapes other than the traditional native Muscadine grape. Primarily, a majority of the wineries are family-based entrepreneurial businesses that have to behave like mini-conglomerates. These findings are consistent with a study conducted by Taplin and Breckenridge (2008).


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