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Growing Chardonnay grapes, the number one vinifera variety grown in North Carolina, can be a profitable venture in certain areas of the state.The profitability analysis in this chapter, based on 2005 costs, shows that it will take an estimated $12,876 per acre to bring a vineyard up to full production in the fourth year.The vineyard would begin to yield $1,097 per acre in the eighth year, and the producer may be able to break even by the eighth year.
Grapes grown in North Carolina are sometimes exposed to unfavorable climatic conditions and biological pests that can reduce crops and injure or kill grapevines. Climatic threats include low winter temperatures, late spring frosts, excessive summer heat, and unpredictable precipitation. Biological pests include fungal pathogens and insects that attack the foliage and fruit of vines, as well as birds, deer, and other wildlife that consume fruit and shoots.Vineyard site selection greatly affects both the frequency and severity of these problems and is one of the most important factors affecting profitability in viticulture.