Nine Lakes

Nine Lakes

Rowers on the Tennessee RiverIn the 1930s and ’40s, the Tennessee Valley Authority built 32 dams along the Tennessee River system to control flooding, generate hydroelectric power for remote regions, and create a 650-mile navigable route between Knoxville and the Ohio River.

Six of those dams created nine lakes within an hour’s drive of Knoxville: Norris, Cherokee, Douglas, Melton Hill, Watts Bar, Fort Loudon, Tellico, Chilhowee and Calderwood Lakes. Today these Nine Lakes and their tributaries, combined with valleys and ridges surrounding them, provide a unique growing region for vineyards, which are flourishing on Tennessee’s gentle hills.

In the early 1980s, the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service established an experimental vineyard at the Crossville Experiment Station, one of 11 experimental vineyards throughout the state.

Unique Growing Region

With nine lakes between two Appalachian mountain ranges — the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland Mountains — the region of Middle East Tennessee called Nine Lakes creates a climate unique to anywhere in the United States. This climate is dominated by the “rain shadow” effect, offered by the geography of the Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian Mountain Valley of East Tennessee. This, combined with the lake influences, soil, elevation and physical features, imparts a special character to the grapes. Using grapes grown here, our skilled and talented winemakers craft wines that can only be found in East Tennessee!