Cloudland Vineyards and Winery Gets Lomanto Grape TTB Approved, Makes History

Feb 7, 2024

Cloudland Vineyards and Winery petitions TTB and receives approval of new grape varietal, Lomanto, for new fine wine opportunity in Georgia.

Georgia's pioneering Cloudland Vineyards and Winery is proud to announce the approval of the Lomanto grape in labeling wine. Lomanto, an obscure hybrid grape variety, has the potential to make fine wine in the state. Gaining approval from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is a tremendous accomplishment that highlights Cloudland's dedication and passion in promoting this little-known grape.

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"We could not be more thrilled about attaining TTB approval for Lomanto," said owner Sean Wilborn, who also sits on the Board of Georgia Wine Producers. "It was a long journey requiring extensive research, documentation, and perseverance. But this accomplishment is a testament to our belief in Lomanto's quality and potential. The future is bright for this grape in Georgia."

Lomanto was developed in Texas by Thomas Volney Munson in 1902 but had never been registered. When Sean tasted Lomanto, it was like a "hillside, sunny, rare moment" and he knew he had to get the registration to establish Lomanto in Georgia.

He planted four acres on his vineyard where the vines grow proud and strong. The site lies at the top of the Eastern Continental Divide, which delivers plenty of sunlight, air circulation, and drainage. The vines love these conditions that help the grapes ripen and keep disease in check. Lomanto’s tolerance to the dreaded Pierce's disease provides additional protection.

Despite Lomanto's merits, Sean faced a major roadblock because the variety was unknown to authorities. Undeterred, he and his general manager, Blessy Devasia, spent several months petitioning the TTB, providing extensive research and arguing their case. Their persistence paid off when they finally received the coveted letter from the TTB in 2020, certifying the hybrid as an approved grape variety.

Because Lomanto is now a recognized option for vintners when registering wine labels with the TTB, this achievement opens doors for the future of this unique grape for fine wine production in Georgia. Sean intends to establish Lomanto as Georgia’s flagship grape through promotion, expanded plantings, vine propagation, and industry encouragement.

According to Shane Breeden, Viticulture & Grape Pathology Technician at the University of Georgia, “Our observations at the research farm have consistently demonstrated its (i.e., Lomanto) performance and importance as an alternative to European wine grapes. The meticulous care and attention to detail by Sean have played a significant role in the successful cultivation and promotion of Lomanto as a wine grape at his vineyard.”

Wine lovers from around the state can enjoy Cloudland's current release, the 2021 Lomanto, at the winery.

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