Buyer beware, a pricey red wine might not taste exactly like what you think.
Hatteras County Commissioner Tim Crain, a longtime hatteras resident, said he’d never seen red wine this expensive in the city’s history.
“It was pretty much just like a white wine, and I’d never heard of it,” he said.
But that’s what the wine is worth now, thanks to the county’s economic boom.
Crain is the county chairman of the Hattera-Mesa Chamber of Commerce.
He said that while the county may not be making as much money as in other years, the winery’s sales are booming.
Creek Farms Winery sold an estimated $20 million worth of wine in 2017, up from $10 million in 2016.
The winery was one of several to sell red wine and a number of other premium spirits in 2017.
It was also a big year for the wine business, with $11 million worth sold.
Hilleras wine sales have been trending downward for years, according to the wineries.
The number of wineries in Haveras County, the most populous in North Carolina, has declined by 40 percent since 2005.
“We just haven’t had the right mix of producers and wineries that we had in the past,” Crain said.
“The people that make wine here, they have to have a great deal of money to stay here.”
While red wine sales are up, cider sales are down.
Crain points to the fact that the wine industry has been hit hard by the drought, with prices falling.
“I can’t tell you what wine is going to cost, but I can tell you that I’ve had more cider sales than wine sales for the last three years,” he explained.
Cobblestone Falls, a wine-focused grocery store in the heart of Hatterabys Old Town, sold $8 million worth in wine and spirits in the last year.
The store also sells cider, a $4.9 million product that includes fruit and vegetables.
The shop has been making wine and cider at the base of the mountain for decades.
But this is the first year the shop has sold wine.
Crow, who works in the retail industry, said the increased availability of wine and the cider industry has helped the economy in the county.
“That’s not to say that I think wine is a bad thing,” Crow said.
“The market is just a little bit bigger now, and a lot more people are spending money on wine.
And that’s just because they want to spend money on something they know.”
Crow said he and other winemakers are hoping that the county will continue to diversify its wines and spirits market.
“There’s a whole bunch of different kinds of wines and I think it’s something that we’re going to be able to capitalize on and we’re not going to stop making wine or cider,” he added.
“This is our way of life, and we just want to be a part of it.”