August 7, 2018
Our Guide to Exploring Georgia Wine Country
By: Ginevra Boyes
Sylvan Valley Lodge & Cellars is located in the heart of North Georgia wine country. Though Georgia is famous for its peaches, our grapes are pretty impressive too. The region’s mountainous terrain and rich soil combine to create a distinctive class of wines that are quickly gaining national and international prominence. Many liken North Georgia wines to those grown in Italy’s Piedmont, but we like to think our wines are our in a class of their own. A tour through the vineyards of North Georgia is the perfect way to experience an up-and-coming wine destination while also exploring the region’s majestic natural beauty. You can follow the “Georgia Wine Highway” stretching from Jasper to Tiger to hit some of the region’s best vineyards and wineries. For this list, we’ve picked our favorite wineries close to Helen and the surrounding area.
Habersham Winery & Vineyards is one of North Georgia’s oldest and largest wineries. It has been producing traditional Georgian wines since 1983, making it a mainstay on the scene. Their flagship location is just ½ mile south of Helen in the Nacoochee Village. You can taste their wines for $7.50 a person in their elegant and light filled tasting room or call two weeks in advance to go with a bigger group. Every May, Habersham also hosts Winefest, a massive celebration of Georgia wine where 10 of the region’s best wineries bring their favorite bottles for an afternoon of food, music, and of course, wine.
Yonah Mountain Vineyards is a beautiful 200-acre family owned winery located at the base of Yonah Mountain. They specialize in Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Their tasting room is open 7 days a week. For $20, you can try 5 of their finest wines. To go a little deeper into the wine making process, schedule a Cave Tour and Tasting, where a guide will take you through the only known underground wine caves in all of Georgia. The $40 tour, only available when scheduled in advance, also includes 8 wine tastings and a complimentary wine glass. On August 25th, Yonah Mountain will be hosting their annual Crush Fest, a day-long festival featuring live music, food trucks, an artisan market, wine tastings, and barefoot grape stomping. The owners, Jane and Bob Miller, will even provide musical accompaniment for the stomping on their accordion and guitar.
CeNita Vineyards, Winery, and Tasting Room is a family-run winery in the nearby town of Cleveland. The vineyard was actually built over the family’s original dairy land. Because the wines are made by fourth generation Georgia farmers, owners Greg & Carol Crumley bring a special understanding of the soil, climate, and growing seasons of the grapes. Their tasting room opened in 2015.
Three Sisters Vineyards is Dahlonega’s first family run winery. The unique terrain of the Dahlonega plateau make their wines especially rich and unique. You can enjoy a glass of their wine at their elegant cherry wood tasting bar or their relaxing stone patio considered “one of the best places to stop and soak in this unique wine region.” They also regularly host live music on their Crush Pad Desk. Its beautiful rural setting in the lush mountains of North Georgia make Three Sisters a popular wedding and event destination.
There are many wonderful wineries and vineyards to visit throughout the region. We recommend paying a visit the Winegrowers Association of Georgia to learn more about Georgia wine and get a map of the wineries. And remember, at the Sylvan Valley Lodge & Cellars, we bottle our own wines with fruit from the newly named Georgia AVA—Dahlonega Plateau. Savor a delicious local wine in our charming and rustic tasting room or tranquil garden at the base of Yonah Mountain. You should also consider one of our excellent wine packages, perfect for a romantic weekend escape.
Planning a wine tour of North Georgia? Book a stay at the Sylvan Valley Lodge & Cellars, a luxurious winery bed & breakfast conveniently located along the Unicoi Wine Trail.