Although Georgia may not be known nationally for its wines, the wineries in the North Georgia Mountains are becoming popular weekend jaunts for locals and visitors. Good for a day trip or extended weekend stay, Georgia’s wine country offers a great escape from the city. Although it may not be Napa, the scenery is gorgeous and the wines—some which are poured at top-notch restaurants—are worth the drive.
BlackStock Vineyards. Founded by a California-trained winemaker, BlackStock Vineyards is one of the first and largest of the vineyards in Georgia’s Dahlonega Mountains region. Boasting impressive views of the vineyards from its tasting room and restaurant, BlackStock offers Cabernets, Chardonnays, Merlots and more. Available for private events and weddings, the vineyard is a popular spot on weekends for lunch on the outdoor deck accompanied by live music.
Crane Creek Vineyards. Browse the gift shop and enjoy a taste of one of Crane Creek’s wines before unwinding on the outdoor deck overlooking the mountains in Young Harris, Ga. The vineyard also offers gourmet foods, including cheeses, dips, salsas and pestos to take home along with a bottle of wine.
Frogtown Cellars. This 30-acre vineyard offers 15 different varieties from reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to whites such as Marsanne and Rousanne. Producing up to 180 tons of wine grapes each year, Frogtown uses its crop for its own wine making as well as selling to other wineries. Serving lunch on Saturdays, the winery also offers a popular Wine taster’s Brunch on Sundays.
Habersham Vineyards and Winery. Situated half a mile from Helen, Ga.’s Nacoochee Village, this winery is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. Producing wines since 1983, Habersham Vineyards features a large gift shop with wine specialty items and gourmet foods as well as a tasting room with views of the tank room, bottling line and barrel room.
Persimmon Creek Vineyards. Set on 110 acres in Clayton, Ga., Persimmon Creek Vineyards is a privately owned vineyard producing four varieties of wine served at renowned restaurants around the country, including Bacchanalia in Atlanta, Apropos in New York and The Cloister at Sea Island. Also available at retailers such as Whole Foods, the wines can be tasted locally at Persimmon on the Square, a shop and tasting room in downtown Clayton. Winery and vineyard tours are offering by appointment.
Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards. A new addition to the Georgia wine scene, Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards is a small family run operation in the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys. The winery planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines in 2009 and plans to expand its offerings in the future. Currently most of its wines are made from grapes grown and harvested locally.
Sharp Mountain Vineyards. This Jasper, Ga. vineyard is about a 45-minute drive from the city. Opened in 1995, the 19-acre estate features red and white wine varieties, from Merlot and Pinot Noir to Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Enjoy a tour and tasting for $5 and a picnic on the outdoor pavilion.
Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery. Set on 180-acres in Lumpkin County, Ga., Three Sisters is eight miles from Dahlonega. Overlooking Three Sisters Mountain, the winery offers tours and tastings of its brands-Three Sisters Vineyards, Chestatee and Walasiyi Wine Company.
Tiger Mountain Vineyards. Located in Tiger, Ga. at a 2,000-foot altitude in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Tiger Mountain Vineyards began with the planting of the first vineyards in 1995 and the first vintages in 1999. Harvesting its grapes by hand, the vineyard produces its wines using traditional European small winery methods.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery. Offering European-style blended whites and reds as well as sparkling wines, Wolf Mountain Vineyard in Dahlonega, Ga. overlooks the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Indulge in the $20 Grand Tasting, which includes a souvenir glass, and stay for brunch or lunch.
Yonah Mountain Vineyards. Set on the southeast side of Yonah Mountain in Sautee-Nacoochee, Ga., Yonah Mountain Vineyards pours eight locally made wines. Currently planted with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, the vineyard plans to also contain Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in the future. Offering wine tastings Thursday through Monday, Yonah Mountain Vineyards also features live music and appetizers the first Friday of each month from April through October.
[photos courtesy of The_Gut]