Georgia Travel Articles
Georgia Wine Country Flourishes
(ARA) – Margaret Mitchell wrote that the blood red furrows of the North Georgia foothills made the best cotton land in the world, but that region and the rest of the state have proved to be something more: fertile land for growing grapes. Each year, wine growers throughout the Peach State eagerly welcome growing numbers of wine enthusiasts from around the country to experience a taste of Georgia’s fine wines.
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 Georgia’s many vineyards in droves.
1810 Country Inn & Winery
Nestled away in a 66-acre plantation in Thomson, the 1810 Winery is a north Georgia treasure. Specializing in handcrafted wines made from 100 percent Georgia-grown wine grapes, visitors come for the day and enjoy tours and tastings or make it a weekend affair and relax in the amenities of the Country Inn. For more information, visit www.1810countryinnandwinery.com or call (800) 515-1810.
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. Private and group tours and tastings are available by request and must be prearranged. For more information, visit www.chateauelan.com or call (800) 233-WINE (9463) or (678) 425-0900.
Courson’s Winery is situated 10 miles from downtown Sparta and boasts 14 different traditional Southern wines. Starting a new tradition, Courson’s held its inaugural wine festival in 2004, which drew more than 1,500 connoisseurs. Open every day, enthusiasts and novices alike are invited to experience the ambiance and sweet tastes of Courson’s Winery. Call (706) 444-0616 for more information.
Crane Creek Vineyards
Crane Creek Vineyards is located in Towns County on the historic Bryson homestead. The microclimate of the dry days and cool mountain nights coupled with the well-drained mineral soils allows Crane Creek to cultivate grapes that produce complex wines with fresh, assertive aromas and concentrated flavors. Visit the tasting room and relax on vineyard decks; sample and purchase wines crafted at Crane Creek; or try wines from other regional Georgia wineries. For more information, visit www.cranecreekvineyards.com or to make an appointment call (706) 379-1236.
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 different 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. For more information, visit www.frogtownwine.com or call (706) 865-0687.
Fox Vineyards & Winery
Their signature Scarlet Fox, a sweet cabernet, isn’t the only thing drawing connoisseurs to Fox Vineyards & Winery. Since 1983, wine production, tours and tastings have enticed visitors from throughout the country to the quaint town of Social Circle. Just four miles from the famous Blue Willow Inn, Fox Vineyards offers 13 different award-winning vintages. Call (770) 787-5402 for more information.
Habersham Vineyards & Winery
Some of Georgia’s finest wine is produced at Habersham Vineyards & Winery, which is 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 and wine specialty gift items. For more information, visit www.habershamwinery.com or call (706) 878-9463.
Meinhardt Vineyards & Winery
Wine has always been a family affair for the Meinhardts, having dabbled in winemaking as a hobby for more than 15 years. Their pastime became a reality in the fall of 2004 when Kenneth, Jan and their son opened Meinhardt Vineyards & Winery. From their tasty wine to the scenic beauty of their property, people throughout southeast Georgia have embraced the area’s first winery. Everyone is welcome for complimentary tastings and tours Thursday through Sunday. Call (770) 878-5402 for more information.
As cotton farming became less profitable in the 1970s, Jacob Paulk transitioned his investment into his first muscadine grape vine. Muscadines, American wild grapes, are native to the Southeast and thus well adapted to the warm, humid conditions of the region and have proved to be a very successful investment for the Paulks. In fact, Paulk Vineyards has been instrumental in developing the commercial muscadine grape market and is a pioneer in developing muscadine grape dietary supplements. Today, the vineyard is the largest grower of muscadine grapes in the world and offers wines, juices and other heart-healthy dietary supplements to its guests. In addition to purchasing wines and Paulk products, visitors to the vineyard can take part in the fun of picking their own fresh muscadines. For more information, visit www.paulkvineyards.com or call (877) 583-2880.
Persimmon Creek Vineyards
Persimmon Creek Vineyards, owned by Dr. Sonny Hardman and his wife Mary Ann, is a 55-acre estate nestled in the northeast Georgia mountains in Clayton. Established in the fall of 2000, this cool-climate, botanical gem currently has 14 acres planted in premium wine grapes, which include Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Seyval Blanc varieties. Planted along the banks of the rippling Persimmon Creek, the vineyards are immaculately maintained and flow with the natural contour of the mountainous landscape. The winery is a blend of old-world tradition and state-of-the-art technology with manual pressing, fermentation in custom-made stainless steel tanks and aging in French oak barrels. With their first vintage, their Riesling took a bronze medal at the 2004 Atlanta Wine Summit. For more information, visit www.persimmoncreekwine.com or call (706) 212-7380.
Still Pond Vineyard
Take a tour, stroll through the vineyard or enjoy a glass of wine from the comfort of a custom-made rocking chair -- all at Still Pond Vineyard, the largest commercial vineyard in the state. Complimentary tastings of the five Still Pond wines as well as samplings of other north Georgia wines are also flavorsome options at the vineyard. Bring the entire family to Arlington and enjoy a picnic in the fresh air. For more information, visit www.stillpond.com or call (800) 475-1193.
The Georgia Winery
As the first established farm winery in the state, The Georgia Winery has been making premium award-winning wines since 1983. The fresh flavor of their wines serves as a mark of distinction and delights the taste buds of customers across the country. Located in Ringgold, Dr. Maurice S. Rawlings Sr., founder of The Georgia Winery, invites everyone to visit and taste the difference for themselves. For more information, visit www.georgiawines.com or call (706) 937-2177.
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 more than 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 Three Sisters Vineyards’ tastings, tours and other fun, romantic events. For more information, visit www.threesistersvineyards.com or call (706) 865-9463.
Tiger Mountain Vineyards
Tiger Mountain Vineyards is a small farm winery specializing in handcrafted 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. Started by the Stacks and Ezzard families in 1995, these two couples remain personally involved in every aspect of the grape growing and wine making business, from planning and planting to blending and bottling. Wines from the Tiger Mountain Vineyard continue to evolve in response to changing conditions, preferences and tastes; however, a few to note are the Cabernet Franc, Norton and Touriga Nacional. For more information, visit www.tigerwine.com or call (706) 782-4777.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery
Located just five miles north of the historic town square of Dahlonega, Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery represents a 25-acre, family-owned wine growing estate. Overlooking the pastoral hillside vineyards of Wolf Mountain, the winery offers a beautiful, unique 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 for the enjoyment of their visiting connoisseurs. For more information, visit www.wolfmountainvineyards.com or call (706) 867-9862.
Courtesy of ARA Content
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