Visit Georgia’s Wine Highway

Visit Georgia’s Wine Highway:  The tradition of wine production in Georgia dates back to the state’s earliest beginning when founder James Edward Oglethorpe tried to introduce European viticulture as a part of his economic plan. Unfortunately, mysterious New World diseases and indigenous insects doomed the experiment. Today, however, Georgia vintners successfully work with European grapes, French-American hybrids and Native American muscadines to produce exceptional wine. Although the creation of wine in Georgia is not new, the industry has been experiencing revitalization in interest among wine connoisseurs and tremendous growth in the development of new vineyards in recent years. Wine tasting tours have emerged throughout the state due to the popularity of various Georgia-grown vintages, and this new form of agri-tourism is drawing visitors to the Georgia Wine Country by the droves.

Tiger Mountain Vineyards:

This small farm winery, located just three miles from the Beechwood Inn, specializes in hand-crafted wines using traditional European methods. It is nestled on a hillside in Rabun County, on the rocky, sunny slopes of the North Georgia mountains in an old creamery in Tiger. The Stacks and Ezzard families started the business in 1995 and remain involved in every aspect of the grape growing and wine making business, from planning and planting to blending and bottling. The wines continue to evolve in response to changing conditions, preferences and tastes. Their fine wines include: Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tannat, Viognier, Norton and Touriga Nacional.www.tigerwine.com. 706/782-4777.

Habersham Vineyards & Winery:

Some of Georgia’s finest wine is produced at Habersham Vineyards & Winery, located one half mile south of Alpine Helen in Nacoochee Village. Since its inception in 1983, Habersham wines have been awarded more than 100 medals in both national and international competitions. The winery is open daily for complimentary tastings and self-guided tours. In addition to a large selection of Georgia-grown and produced wines, the tasting room also features a gift shop with gourmet foods. 706/878-9463.www.habershamwinery.com.

Blackstock Vineyards:

BlackStock Vineyards and Winery, producing Georgia wine in the beautiful Dahlonega Mountains of North Georgia provides an atmosphere that is warm, relaxing, and friendly. Enjoy sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the panorama of lush vine yards, while experiencing some of the best wines in the Southeast. Whether on our covered-deck among the vines, or in our Appalachian-style lodge, Blackstock provides an incredible backdrop for a true Appalachian-mountian experience, lingering over a glass of wine and often enjoying live bluegrass, blues, or folk music. (706) 219-2789 http://www.bsvw.com/index.shtml

Frogtown Cellars:

In 1998, native Atlantans Craig and Cydney Kritzer founded Frogtown in a location carefully selected for quality wine grape production and outstanding mountain views, the Frogtown District of Lumpkin County. Frogtown is a 50-acre wine estate located at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in Dahlonega. It is indeed a town in itself as it encompasses 28 acres of vineyards and a tri-level winery specifically designed to produce the unique wines made from Frogtown grapes. Today, it is home to 26 acres of vineyards planted with 14 wine grape varieties, both red and white. The Kritzer family invites wine enthusiasts and novices alike to relax on their deck with a glass of Frogtown wine and enjoy the views overlooking their vineyards, lake and the scenic North Georgia mountains. www.frogtownwine.com. 706/865-0687

Crane Creek Vineyards:

Crane Creek Vineyards sits high in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia, just three miles north of the quaint college town of Young Harris in the shadow of Brasstown Bald, the state’s highest peak. Less than two hours from Atlanta – yet a world away…

Blessed with a unique microclimate, a combination of warm, dry summer days, cool mountain nights and well-drained mineral soils, which allows us to cultivate and harvest grapes that produce complex wines with fresh, assertive aromas and concentrated flavors.

Crane Creek Vineyards is a family run business in the truest sense of the word. Members of our small staff are all family members, even if they are not part of my blood family. All of our “family” members have their own specialties and unique personalities, but are all experienced in each facet of the winemaking process and other activities at the vineyard. We may spend one day together harvesting, and the next weekend working at one of our many public or private functions. Each day and each season is filled with rewards as we work day to day with the land, the vines, and the incredible backdrop of our mountain home. Eric Seifarth 706/379-1236.www.cranecreekvineyards.com.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery:

Located five miles north of Dahlonega’s town square, Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery (above) represents a 25-acre, family-owned wine growing estate. Overlooking the pastoral hillside vineyards of Wolf Mountain, the winery offers a beautiful venue for business and social entertaining. This land is home to plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvedre and Touriga Nacional. Keeping these crop yields low, the owners are able to produce an exclusive set of elegant, handcrafted wines.www.wolfmountainvineyards.com. 706/867-9862.

Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery:

Founded in 1996 by Sharon and Doug Paul, Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery encompasses more than 180 acres in rural Lumpkin County near the historic gold mining town of Dahlonega. The vineyards feature 8,000 premium wine grape vines, including vitis vinifera, French-American and Native American varietals covering 13-plus acres. Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Touriga and Chardonnay, as well as the French-American hybrid, Vidal Blanc, and the East Coast’s popular Native American varietal, Norton, comprise the offerings at Three Sisters. Tourists and wine enthusiasts flock to the vineyards’ tastings, tours and other fun and romantic events.www.threesistersvineyards.com. 706/865-9463.

Sharp Mountain Vineyards:

Operates on the simple but essential principle that to produce the finest wine, you must begin with the finest fruit. This quest for perfection requires personal attention to every detail – from employing tried-and-true “winegrowing” practices to personally harvesting the best grapes and handcrafting the wines.

Ron and Jan Rathgeb began their labor of love in earnest in 1995, planting Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Gewürztraminer, Viognier and Pinot Noir. In 2002, the Rathgebs added Primitivo, Trebbiano, and Pinot Gris to the breezy hillsides of their peaceful, 19 -acre Sharp Mountain estate.

110 Rathgeb Trail, Jasper, GA 30143, Phone: 770-735-1210 http://www.sharpmountainvineyards.net/

Château Élan Winery & Resort:

Within the sweeping panorama of the North Georgia foothills, just 40 minutes north of Atlanta but a world away from the bustling city, is Georgia’s largest winery, Château Élan. The winery combines tradition and modern technology turning winemaking into an art and science. Their winemakers have come from generations of French, German and American wine families, blending the best of the old ways with the best of the new. Each year, Château Élan Winery & Resort produces an average of 40,000 cases of wine on its 75 acres and offers complimentary winery tours and tastings daily (except Christmas). Guests may join an expert guide as they tour the winemaking facility, cask room and bottling area and conclude the trip with a wine tasting. www.chateauelan.com. 800/233-WINE (9463). 678/425-0900.

Montaluce Winery & Estates:

Sitting atop one of Montaluce’s highest hills is our state of the art winery. Reminiscent of a centuries old Tuscan villa, the winery will include a gourmet gift shop, tasting room, restaurant and event facility, roof top Owner’s Club, and of course, our state of the art winery. With more than 9500 square feet of production facility, our state of the art gravity flow winery will produce some of the world’s finest wines. Open for tours, you will find the wine making process educational and enjoyable, as you enjoy a special tasting from the wine barrel. Come and enjoy “La Vita Bella” as you enjoy a special tasting from the barrels, experience gourmet dining, winery tours, educational wine seminars, culinary classes and demonstrations, wine tastings, and the breathtaking views of the vineyards and North Georgia Mountains. Montaluce Winery & Estates Toll Free: 800.251.4385 Local: 706.896.1680

Sautee-Nacoochee Vineyards:

Much like the family vineyards that dot the landscape all throughout Europe, we are small. We prune and harvest our grapes by hand, and like the winemakers of the Old World, we place much more emphasis on tradition and terrior than on science and formulas. This approach is what makes each of our wines a unique experience, both for us and for you.

This endeavor is a work in progress; a retirement project founded on the desire to be grounded and do something we thoroughly enjoy. Hue a longtime resident of the area, has been an entrepreneur in Real Estate, Land Development and Property Management, among other things and sees this as a new and welcome challenge. Jane, a counselor at the White County Intermediate School, along with her brother Bill Loudermlk, a builder, grew up in these valleys. For all three of us, working this land and being a part of this community is as natural as breathing.

After much research, and with the assistance, advice and support of other winemakers and grape growers in the area, Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards planted two and a half acres of cabernet sauvignon vines in 2009 with plans to plant up to six acres on two vineyards in the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys. Vineyard and winemaking duties are shared between Hue and Bill, while the tasting room falls under the purview of Jane. Drop by and you’re likely to meet Jane, Hue and maybe even Bill. 98 Nacoochee Way, GA 30571-3038, (706) 878-1056 http://www.sauteenacoocheevineyards.com/index.htm

Serenity Cellars:

Located on Ga.Hwy 384 between Cleveland and Helen. This charming family operated winery is situated on beautiful Mt. Yonah, located 5.5 miles south of the quaint Bavarian village of Helen in North Georgia. Serenity Cellars vision is to craft wines using old world artisanship combined with modern techniques which produces wines that are of exceptional quality and unique in character. The picturesque winery is build of stacked stone combined with a board and baton finish. Serenity Cellars sits nestled in the woods and offers a peaceful setting combined with good old fashioned southern hospitality. Your host and hostess Joe and Tina Smith left the hectic pace of Orlando Florida behind to embark on their dream of owning and operating a cozy boutique winery. With a heartfelt appreciation of fine wine paired with the breath taking views of the North Georgia Mountains creates an enjoyable and relaxing environment for a memorable wine tasting experience. 303 Laurel Ridge Road, Cleveland, GA 30528,706-219-4213

Yonah Mountain Vineyards:

In 2005, a 197-acre farm property located between Cleveland and Helen in White County, Georgia, was purchased after laying fallow for more than 40 years. Yonah Mountain Vineyards was then founded by Bob and Jane Miller in North Georgia after extensive research including the help of a consulting team from Napa Valley and the University of Georgia. The research results indicated that North Georgia was perfect for growing fabulous wine grapes. Initial plantings in the vineyard totaling about 5 acres included Chardonnay 17 and 96 and Cabernet Sauvignon clones 339 and 15.

http://www.yonahmountainvineyards.com  Yonah Mountain is a geological formation of granite that rises from the surrounding landscape separate from the Appalachian range of mountains. It is an ancient and distinctive mountain whose humped profile can be seen from miles around. Yonah Mountain takes its name from the Cherokee word “yonah” for “bear.” The logo of Yonah Mountain Vineyards is a black bear with a spiral arrow within it. Address: 2454-B Georgia 17, GA 30571, (706) 878-5522

Visit Georgia’s Wine Highway