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Features Organizations sponsor sustainable viticulture conference

AdvantageWest, French Broad Vignerons, and Warren Wilson College provide support

With a month left before the conference several organizations have provided support in several ways. AdvantageWest is providing some sponsorship funding to the 2nd Annual North Carolina Conference on Sustainable Viticulture to be held Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at Warren Wilson College. Matthew Raker, Vice President Entrepreneurship & AdvantageGreen, said “Viticulture supports a diversity of expanding industries in Western North Carolina such as wine, natural products and tourism. AdvantageWest is excited to be able to support this conference bringing together nationally recognized leaders in sustainable viticulture and serving as an annual focal point for our region’s grape-based industries.“

Orchard Valley Supply is also supporting the conference with advertising in the conference program. Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard/ Greenhouse Nursery and the French Broad Vignerons will have exhibits set up at the conference and are providing staffing for the event.

Most people think of wine when they think of grapes, but one of the most profitable grapes for local farmers is table-grapes. There are several varieties that will grow well in the mountains of North Carolina.

Carl Cantaluppi from the NCSU Cooperative Extension Service (Granville and Person Counties NC) will present “Seedless Table-Grape Variety Trials” at the conference. This will be a good opportunity for farmers interested in diversifying their cash crops to get some advice on which grapes to grow.

Justin Furr, Marketing Specialist for the NC Wine & Grape Council in Raleigh, will provide advice on how to market your grapes. Justin provides vineyard owners with valuable suggestions on how to sell the grapes they are growing. The North Carolina farming community is our greatest asset in growing grapes because of their long history of growing crops. Their biggest need is assistance in marketing and sales of their products.

Chuck Blethen, Executive Director of the Sustainable Appalachian Viticulture Institute, exclaims “Trust me when I tell you, these grapes taste nothing like the grapes you are used to buying at the grocery stores. They have flavors that will knock your socks off. Several people who have tried them have been excited to taste grapes that have such a wonderful flavor.”

Vineyards/wineries is the fastest growing industry in North Carolina that provided an economic impact of more than $1 billion in NC last year.

The viticulture conference will begin at 8:30 AM and run until 4:30 PM. The conference registration fee is $40 paid in advance or $50 walk-in registration. Registration fee includes lunch, coffee break refreshments, handouts, and free parking. Online payment of registration is now available at www.JeweloftheBlueRidge.com - click on the registration link near the Warren Wilson College logo. Firms wishing to be a conference sponsor or wanting to place and ad in the conference program can do so at www.GrapeSAVI.org and select the appropriate sponsor level or ad size and submit payment via credit cards.


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