State Profile: Alabama Wine Country

Alabama has two climates making it challenging to make wine: the natural climate and the political climate. The hot, humid climate limits the grape varieties that can be grown to Scuppernong, Norton, and some French hybrid varieties. The political climate improved somewhat due to agricultural reforms in 2002 that loosened some restrictions on wineries, but one-third of Alabama counties are still Dry (i.e. no alcohol, period).

Despite those challenges, there are 20 brave souls whose passion for wine prevailed, with most of those operations located in the middle of the state near Birmingham.

Great Grapes: Muscadine

Muscadine is not only well suited to the hot, humid climate of southern states, but is versatile in terms of multiple uses and tops in terms of resveratrol, the naturally occurring substance that wards off fungus on grapes and also appears to be a powerful antidote to heart disease. In addition, as I have witnessed in many wine competitions over the years, this unique grape can produce some very enjoyable wines ideal for sipping very cold on a shaded porch on a hot summer day.