Chesser Island Winery

Chesser Island Winery
3940 Chesser Lane
Folkston, GA 31537
(912) 496-2916

Tracy Chesser is an attorney by vocation. Like his forebears, he lives on the edge of the great Okefenokee Swamp, in extreme southeastern Georgia. His great-great grandfather settled in the area in the mid-1800s. His grandfather built a home in the swamp on what is now called Chesser Island. Wine labels from Cheese Island Winery boast an artist’s rendering of that home.

Tracy Chesser and his wife Melinda Chesser make a wide variety of wines, some flavored with local blueberries, others with tupelo honey. The Chessers see their efforts as a boon to cultural tourism, which the Okefenookee hopes to soon catalyze.

One of their signature wines, vinified from estate-grown and other muscadine grapes, is a sparkling muscadine, made in a brut style. Also of note is their Folkston Funnell Bubble, a demic-sec sparkler, sweetened with the barest touch of honey.

Date of interview:

August 25, 2008

Interviewer:

John T Edge

Photographer:

John T Edge

Chesser Island Winery - Tracy Chesser - Wine In The South
[T]here was a number of people in the family that would make homemade wine. But I set about to try to do it a more modern approach using cool fermentations, purchased yeast, and other modern approaches to winemaking. And there’s a world of difference, and that’s not to say people that make homemade wine don't do a very good job of it—they do. But it’s all to the particular taste and my taste that I was focusing on was a drier style wine that focused more on the character of the muscadine than the sweetness of the wine.
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