Mississippi Wine Overview

Mississippi has never had much of a wine industry. Some of the reasons are environmentally based, while others are more legal or value related.

Any thriving wine industry needs to have the ability to grow grapes locally. In Mississippi, about the only grapes that can be successfully grown are the proud grape of the South, the muscadine. Muscadine grapes do grow here, but not many are grown in commercial vineyards to make wine. They are, of course, used for other grape-based products like juice, jams and jellies.

The Southern Baptist culture is very prominent here, and we’re not saying that as a criticism but merely a statement of fact. Alcohol consumption is frowned upon, let alone opening a local winery or brewery. An example of this is based on history. National prohibition was repealed in 1933, but in Mississippi it wasn’t repealed until 1966. Even now, numerous counties in Mississippi are “dry,” meaning alcohol is not allowed to be sold by retail establishments.

Wineries have been established in Mississippi, although not many have succeeded for long. Information on outdated Internet sites still indicates there are six operating wineries in the state, but, to our knowledge, there is only one operating winery in Mississippi. That’s the Old South Winery in Natchez, along the Mississippi River in the southwest part of the state. Old South Winery has been making their unique type of muscadine wines since 1979 and they’re a well known tourist attraction in Natchez.

Interestingly, Mississippi has numerous counties in one of the oldest American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the country — the Mississippi Delta AVA — which was established in 1984. This AVA stretches over parts of Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Travelogue: Mississippi Wine Country and Historic Natchez

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