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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Tracy Chesser

Chesser Island Winery

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 Chesser 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 Okefenokee hopes to catalyze soon.

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:

John T Edge

John T Edge

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