ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Move over Napa Valley. Northeast Alabama is ripe for success.
That's according to many in the wine industry, who say this section of the state is perfect for growing grapes.
Jules Berta, of Jules J. Berta Vineyards, would certainly agree.
In 1983, his father bought a few acres of land off Highway 431 in Albertville, where he could plant some grape vines.
"This was just a hobby and it turned into an obsession and then, it turned into a business," Berta explains.
Today, Jules J. Berta Vineyards grows nearly a dozen varieties and produces between 1,400 and 1,700 cases of wine a year.
"We've gotten nothing but positive support from our community and it's worked out really well," Berta says.
A large part of that success is due to the climate of Sand Mountain. Berta says the typically hot, dry days and cooler evenings of late summer make the area ideal for grape production.
In fact, he adds that UC Davis researchers have found the microclimate here is almost exactly like that of New Zealand, which produces some of the finest wines in the world.
As for Northeast Alabama, he believes advancements in agrarian technology and disease prevention will only enhance its capability to join the ranks of renowned wine-producing regions.