A Brief History of
Grape Growing and Winemaking in Tennessee
During the late 1800s, vineyards were flourishing in Tennessee, mostly in areas that were believed to be unsuitable for other agricultural uses. At the time, it appeared that grape-growing would become one of Tennessee’s most important cash crops. However, Prohibition all but ended this promise in 1919. It is just within the last quarter of the 20th century that grape growing (and winemaking) has seen a remarkable recovery.
In 1973, seven individuals interested in viticulture and oenology gathered around a kitchen table in Clarksville and organized The Tennessee Viticultural and Oenological Society (TVOS.) From this small beginning, TVOS membership has grown by leaps and bounds and includes both amateur and commercial grape growers and winemakers.
The Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance (TFWA) was an offshoot of TVOS and was formed by professionals to promote the growing of grapes and the sale of Tennessee wine. TFWA also works as the conduit to facilitate relationships between Tennessee farmer grape growers and wineries. The result has become a major agri-business in Tennessee with over 70 winery licenses in the state and well over 100 vineyards throughout Tennessee.
Now TFWA works to advance the efforts of all Tennessee grape interests, including promotion, information, and legislation. Recent successes from 2013 through 2017 have greatly reduced barriers of entry to our industry as well as created new opportunities for business growth. Please consider supporting our cause by frequenting your local winery/vineyard!