A growing agricultural sector is being highlighted this month as Gov. Bill Lee has proclaimed May is Wine and Grape Month in Tennessee.
“The 68 wineries we have in Tennessee impact agriculture, manufacturing and tourism,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Our wineries provide employment for more than 600 people and our vineyards and wineries provide unique travel destinations.”
One of the places to go and sip is Big Creek Winery Tasting Room in Christiana, TN. Big Creek Winery is open daily for tastings of its selection of grape and fruit wines, which are made and sold at the winery. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to tour their winery and learn their wine-making story.
Just past Eagleville you’ll find the 95-acres of Arrington Vineyards. There, guests are encouraged picnic under shade trees that overlook their 16 acres of vineyards. Arrington also has five tasting rooms and produces twenty-two award-winning wines onsite. They also have Food Truck Fridays and live music on Saturdays and Sundays each week.
The wine and grape industry is a growing agricultural sector in the state, experiencing 250 percent growth since 2013. As vineyards and winemaking thrive in the Volunteer State, universities like MTSU have developed programs and degrees that focus on developing vineyards, winemaking and the fermentation process.
Today, the annual economic impact of the Tennessee grape and wine industry is estimated to be almost $2 billion. Three years ago, Tennessee established the Wine and Grape Board for the purpose of promoting and supporting the growth of the grape and wine industry. The seven-person board works to increase the number of wineries in the state and improve the quality of wine produced by Tennessee wineries.
The Big Creek Winery Tasting Room is located at 7027 Main St. in Christiana. It’s easily accessible from I-24 exit 81-A towards Shelbyville. Arrington Vineyards is located at 6211 Patton Road in Arrington, near Horton Highway. From I-840, take exit 42.
The MTSU Fermentation Science Degree
MTSU’s new Fermentation Science major is the first degree program of its type in Tennessee and rare in the Southeast region. Fermentation is now understood to be an ideal vehicle for the production of highly nutritious and long-term stable foods with unique flavors, textures, and aromas. Tennessee is home to a large and diverse community of food processors, and the most significant growth has been in the fermented foods segment of this vitally important industry. Courses in Fermentation Science will be taught in partnership with local companies, and hands-on training sessions at industry sites as well as internships will be scheduled to accommodate both working professionals and traditional students. Tennessee hosts 60 wineries, 30 distilleries, 52 breweries, 10 cheese-making operations, the largest yogurt manufacturing plant in the world, additional smaller yogurt producers, and two major ethanol production facilities.