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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.

< Back to Oral History project: Wine in the South


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 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:
2008-08-25 00:00

John T Edge

John T Edge

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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