Grapes plentiful despite drought

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North Carolina growers are happy this year.

We are now in the peak of grape harvesting season, and the vines are now filled with plump juicy grapes. This year's crop is better than in years past at the Adams Vineyard and Winery in Willow Spring.

This week, the machines are picking as the muscadines become ripe on the vines.

Owner and Winemaker Quincy Adams says this year's crop is one of the best in years.

"It has been a perfect harvest season for us," he said. "We have been able to harvest every day we have wanted to and that's highly unlikely this time of year, because normally we have a front come through, and if you guys start talking about a low-pressure system churning out in the Atlantic, all of us grape farmers kind of get a little worried."

The weather has played a crucial role in this year's success providing sunshine, warmth, and yes, a drought.

"The muscadine grape is drought tolerant. It's heat tolerant. The vinifera grape, which are your merlots, your cabernets, your chardonnays, they don't like our part of the climate down here. It gets too hot and gets too dry," Adams said.

Adams Vineyard is 12 acres and it produces roughly 1200 tons of grapes a year, most of which goes into winemaking, jams, and jellies. In fact, Quincy Adams has won numerous accolades for his winemaking expertise.

"In three years we have won over 60 medals, a best in show a couple of times, and I don't know how many gold medals, but that's with me falling into this blindfolded because my father left no recipe and no notes when he passed away, so I had to learn on my own," said Adams.

We asked him his secret. His answer? Simple. "Prayer," he said. "I didn't really drink a lot of wine before I became the winemaker here."

All it took was a little faith, a lot of learning, and according to Adams, a little help from Mother Nature too.

"Our business is growing and with that we need more grapes, so it's a blessing all around for us," he said.

Grapes are available for picking Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. until frost. Adams Vineyards and Winery also offers wine tastings every day but Monday. For more information go to their website here: http://www.adamsvineyards.com/home.html

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