History of N.C. wines March 31 in Saluda

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

“A History of North Carolina Wines: From Scuppernog to Syrah” will be discussed and parts read by author Alexia Jones Helsley on Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. at The Wine Cellar at the Saluda Inn.

North Carolina historian Alexia Jones Helsley, with roots in the region (her parents are Hendersonville residents and her father is a native of Saluda) has authored “A History of North Carolina Wines: From Scuppernong to Syrah,” a comprehensive examination of North Carolina’s love affair with grapes and vines. Optimism was early, she points out, as indicated by a quote from a Wilmington newspaper in 1881: “We do not see why good wines should not be made in this state.”

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North Carolina’s native grapes, says the author, grew with a wild abandon that impressed early explorers. Wine production, on the other hand, followed a long and twisting trail. She writes of the disappointments and successes vintners encountered, and describes the complex varieties of North Carolina wine. She shows how the highly acclaimed vineyards of today have deep roots in the state’s past.

Helsley is a founding member and vice president of the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society. Her previous books include “A Guide to Historic Henderson County, North Carolina,” and “The Henderson County (N.C.) Revolutionary Pensioners of 1840” which was awarded the Willie Parker Peace Prize in 1997.

The Wine Cellar at the Saluda Inn is located at 229 Greenville Street, just off Main Street in Saluda. For information call 828-749-9698.