It may come as a surprise, but besides the beautiful landscape, excellent hiking trails, and exciting whitewater rafting opportunities, the north Georgia mountains are home to several fantastic vineyards and wineries.
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What Makes Georgia Wine Tasting So Special?
"But wait!" we can hear the oenophiles say, "Isn't Georgia too wet for wineries?"
Well, it's true enough that Georgia's average rainfall is well more than what's considered viable for growing good wine grapes. However, that's why our location in the Appalachian foothills is so important - most of that water just flows right past us!
We build our wineries with vertical rows precisely so the rain won't collect as it heads down to the Gulf. On top of that, our mountainous location gives us another significant advantage: clay. We have large deposits of a rare red clay, and that glowing red hue matters - it means it's highly oxygenated and great for wine-growing!
The red clays of north Georgia are quite similar to the Terra Rossa clay of Piedmont in Italy, widely hailed as the best wine soil on Earth.
The result has been a growing recognition of Georgia as a new force in American wine-making. National authorities agree that Georgian (not the Republic) wines have a style all their own, combining elements of the Old and New worlds. Our wines tend toward the fruity and the sweet, but we can still make excellent reds and truly full-bodied whites, as well as tempting dessert wines.
Of course, you shouldn't take our word for it. The next time you're in Helen, why don't you check out a few of the superb nearby wineries that are open for sampling?
Here are some of the best in the area, starting with the heart of Helen, Georgia.
In Helen, Georgia
Have you ever thought of fine Georgia wines? Helen offers numerous wineries that provide exceptional products within an hour's drive from Atlanta.
Habersham Vineyards and Winery
Address: 7025 S. Main Street; Helen, Georgia
Phone: (706) 878-9463
Located in Nacoochee Village, Habersham Winery is a favorite spot for both locals and visitors alike. The winery has been operational since 1983 and produces award-winning (over 150 national and international awards) Georgia Wines. It is open each day for self-guided tours, a tasting room, and a gift shop with gourmet foods and a variety of gift choices.
You and your sweetie can stroll hand in hand throughout the winery as you take your time enjoying the rich aromas and flavors of Georgia grown and produced wine products.
After finding the perfect bottle of wine, speak to one of the expert staff who can set you up with gourmet cheeses and other foods that will compliment your selection. By the time you leave, you'll be relaxed and prepared to enjoy a romantic picnic with one another at one of the many beautiful parks in the Helen area.
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From the vineyard to the shelf, Habersham produces some of Georgia's finest wines. Habersham's commitment to quality begins with careful monitoring of the grapes in their vineyard and those they purchase. Attention to detail continues through the crushing, fermentation, and aging process.
Their winemaker is UC Davis, who is California trained and personally sees to each detail of every process. You cannot go wrong visiting this winery, especially when there is more extensive tasting going on.
In Cleveland, Georgia
Yonah Mountain Vineyards
Address: 1717 Highway 255 S, Cleveland, Georgia 30528
Phone: (706) 878-5522
Journey into the heart of the north Georgia mountains by making the short trip to the Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland. This 197-acre estate is home to seven varieties of grapes, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and others.
The peaceful rolling hills that surround the vineyards provide a relaxed, romantic atmosphere. You and that special someone can enjoy the flavors of The Yonah Mountain Vineyards daily in their warm, inviting tasting rooms.
When you find something that you like, you can purchase a glass and slowly sip your wine as you take in the sights and sounds of the beautiful vineyards. You can buy a bottle to take back to our luxurious cabin rentals down the road. Sip a glass of wine from your large wrap-around porch, or while you delight in a long, soak in your private hot tub with your sweetheart.
This vineyard gets its name from an Appalachian range of nearby mountains and includes more than 5,000 vines. Offering exclusive tours and discounts through their "Wine Club," Yonah Mountain Vineyards has one goal; to put Georgia on the map when it comes to great tasting wine.
In Dahlonega, Georgia
You may know Georgia for its delicious and tasty peaches, but did you know that the northern portion of the state is also known for its vast vineyards and local wines? It's for this very reason that so many travelers flock to the area to taste wines and discover the flavors of the southeastern United States. And Dahlonega is no exception.
Here's what it has to offer.
Blackstock Vineyards and Winery
Address: 5400 Town Creek Rd, Dahlonega, Georgia 30533
Phone: (706) 219-2789
The first of its kind in the area, Blackstock produces wines that appeal to serious enthusiasts. One of the most attractive wineries in all of Georgia, with gorgeous views and a unique "stovepipe" fireplace. It's no wonder that the vineyard is home to special events ranging from moderate luncheons to exquisite weddings.
Three Sisters Vineyards
Address: 439 Vineyard Way, Dahlonega, Georgia
Phone: (706) 865-9463
Borrowing its name from the Three Sisters Mountains, this vineyard's goal is to provide an intimate experience. This small, family-oriented farm is a hot spot for local and visiting wine enthusiasts.
Located in the Frogtown area of Lumpkin County, the vineyard boasts over 13,000 premium grapevines across 20 acres of lush, northern Georgia land. You and your best girl or guy will have a delightful experience as you spend the day enjoying the glorious sight of the vineyards and taste many of the 100% Georgia grown wines, including flavors like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, and others.
Be sure to visit the Three Sisters calendar, as the vineyard hosts numerous events throughout the year including the Wine and Chocolate Lovers Celebration, the HalloWINE Celebration, the Chardonnay Days of Summer, and more. You may also want to contact the vineyard for details on wine tasting classes they offer throughout the year.
From its Wine & Chocolate Lovers event to its Saint Patrick's Day celebration and beyond, there's always something exciting going on at this small family vineyard and winery.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery
Address: 180 Wolf Mountain Trail, Dahlonega, Georgia
Phone: (706) 867-9862
With more than 100 medals under its belt in a variety of competitions, Wolf Mountain has developed into a leader of fine wines in the north Georgia mountains. Here, you'll get exposed to intimate gourmet dining, tours, and tastings, and beautiful landscapes which are home to a large number of weddings.
Address: 700 Ridge Point Drive, Dahlonega, Georgia
Phone: (706) 865-0687
Frogtown Cellars crafts 23 delightful varieties of critically acclaimed and award-winning wines. The vineyards themselves offer the perfect backdrop for a romantic day trip away from the warm and welcoming cabin rentals Helen, Georgia, is so proud to offer its guests.
The winery is open daily for wine tastings at the Frogtown Cellars Bar, and wines are available for purchase by the bottle. If you choose to visit on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you can complement the flavors with Panini sandwiches, or you may opt to stop by for brunch on select Sundays.
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The Three Levels of Frogtown Winery
The first and highest level of the Frogtown Winery is the wine grape processing area, or as we call it, the “crush pad.” During the fall, when they harvest the grapes, they are brought to the crush pad level for processing in one of two ways. Red grapes are de-stemmed and the “must,” the resulting grapes, berries, and juice is transferred to stainless steel tanks in the second level of the winery by gravity flow. White grapes are whole-cluster pressed, and the resulting grape juice is similarly gravity-fed into tanks residing below, on the second level.
The second level of the winery, the tank room, is where fermentation in steel occurs. After fermentation, red wines are racked out of tank, again using gravity flow, into barrels in the third and lowest level of the winery. Depending on the style of white wine made, some are fermented and briefly aged in barrel; others are kept solely in stainless steel. The third and lowest level of the winery is the barrel room. It is the coolest and quietest level and where they place the wines for aging.
Experience It For Yourself
This description paints a great picture of the whole process and allows a customer to understand the process of harvesting grapes and producing wine. If you want a first-hand experience of this intricate winemaking experience, then Frogtown Winery is a great place to visit.
It is incredible the differences between wines, and the best way to know what you like best is to go tasting. Many of the wineries are near one another so if you are up for a little more adventure, you could take a tour on bikes. The scenery is incredible, and the people are very laid back, ready to answer any of your questions.
In Tiger, Georgia
Tiger Mountain Vineyards
Address: 2592 Old 441 S, Tiger, Georgia 30576
Phone: (706) 782-4777
Nestled upon a hillside on the slopes of the north Georgia mountains, Tiger Mountain Vineyards has been in the family for five generations. Taking great pride in their workers, the belief here is that winemaking isn't just a science; it is a full-fledged art.
In Jasper, Georgia
Sharp Mountain Vineyards
Address: 110 Rathgeb Trail, Jasper, Georgia 30143
Phone: (770) 735-1210
Visitors to the area often travel to Sharp Mountain for a day of relaxing, perhaps even a peaceful picnic. While they're in the area, this vineyard makes a perfect end (or start) to the day. Providing friendly, courteous service and focusing on quality over quantity, Sharp Mountain Vineyards stands out among the crowd.
In Young Harris, Georgia
To help get you started with your itinerary, here's where you can experience wine tasting in Young Harris, Georgia.
Crane Creek Vineyards
Address: 916 Crane Creek Road, Young Harris, Georgia 30582
Phone: (706) 379-1236
Located high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Crane Creek is owned and operated by the vineyard's "family," even if some of them aren't related by blood. Their philosophy is to bring quality wines to serious enthusiasts while adding their personal touch.
In Blue Ridge, Georgia
The wineries of North Georgia are close and quickly becoming known around the world. Blue Ride is sure to be contributing to this shift.
Blue Ridge Cellars
Address: 500 E Main St #206, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513
Phone: (706) 946-1416
The self-professed "must-see and do" winery for those staying in a cabin rental in Georgia, the Blue Ridge tasting room offers local varieties from numerous wineries on the north Georgia wine trail. With award-winning wines, even the most discriminating wine connoisseurs are sure to find a bottle they love.
The tasting room is open daily (excluding Sundays) for wine flights, wine pairings, and small plates. And if wine isn't your thing or your spouse prefers ale, you're in luck. The Blue Ridge Tasting Room is also proud to serve British Beers.
The Vine: Wine Bar & Bistro Restaurant
Address: 632 East Main Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513
Phone: (706) 946-8463
If you love wine, but visiting a vineyard isn't your style, there's no need to despair. The Vine Wine Bar and Tasting Room is popular little bistro that is situated in Blue Ridge - just a short ways northwest of your cabin rental in GA. The Vine showcases Georgia wines from numerous local wineries like Wolf Mountain, Habersham, and Frogtown Cellars. You can also sip on domestic and imported beers and dine on fresh, simple cafe favorites like grilled chicken sliders or flatbread pizzas.
Finding A Place To Sleep: How About A Cabin Rental?
Image courtesy of Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals - Chalet in The Sky
The location of where you stay in the area is significant and will make your wine touring all the more enjoyable. Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals provides a variety of cabins in different locations throughout north Georgia, and these popular wineries.
Safely Explore These Vineyards With Our Partner, VIP Southern Tours
Do you want to visit numerous vineyards and taste wine, but hate the idea of planning routes and scheduling your visits? For those who want to enjoy, rather than spend time making plans, VIP Southern Tours is the perfect solution. All you have to do is choose your desired meeting location, and a driver will take over from there. Click here to learn more.
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The mountains in Georgia are home to a wide variety of vineyards and wineries. A culmination of ingenuity, care, and quality, all with their unique personal touches, there is something to be found for every wine enthusiast, casual admirer, or a newcomer to the world of winemaking.Image courtesy of Shutterstock