What could be better than a busload of crazy professional women, and a few men and a wine tour of seven vineyards in two days, along with wine making tips and food pairing? We started off in Athens, GA at a very hip and cool wine store named Shiraz (shirazathens.com) who is owned by an equally cool proprietor Emily and we had coffee and breakfast and loaded up the big bus for our trip. If you love wine and are a true foodie this is a MUST NOT MISS. There are many good Georgia wines and wineries; these are just a few listed. I hope that next year’s tour will yield all new adventures and new places to visit.
Tiger Mountain Vineyards
John the owner has been all over the south of France and in my opinion was the most knowledgeable winemaker on the tour that we came across. He and his wife were warm and open and had a real sincerity about making wine. We had cheese and fruit and wonderful pairings on their farm.
Owners John and Martha Ezzard began planting cuttings of the American Norton as well as French and Portuguese vinifera on John’s fifth-generation farm near Clayton in 1995. Today, with partners Bill and Leckie Stack, they’ve cultivated 14 acres that produce Tannat, Norton, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Touriga NaÃ§ional for the Tiger Mountain Vineyards label. We especially like the dry white Viognier with its soft honeysuckle and apricot bouquet that goes well with fish dishes.
2592 Old Highway 441, Tiger, GA 30576; (706) 782-4777
Yonah Mountain Vinyards
One of the newer vinyards in Georgia they make no more than 5,000 cases of wine a year. They make it well and make no apology for being a small production vineyard. I highly recommend the 2006 Genesis Red a blend of various types of grapes.
Wolf Mountain Vinyards-Dahlonaga, GA
We not only stopped here for the great wines but we also had brunch and I tried some of the best artisanal cheeses that I have every had at Wolf Mountain (www.sweetgrassdairy.com). I still order these cheeses for my wine tastings and parties at home. This is a great place for a weekend brunch with friends. The views are breathtaking. Wolf Mountains sparkling chardonnay was my favorite and I don’t even like Champaign, this is a cross between rich dry buttery Chardonnay and Viognier. This wine has a hint of grapefruit.
Persimmon Creek Vineyards
Is located way up in the Fareast corner of north Georgia in Rabun County and near Clayton, Georgia. It is run by proprietors Dr. and Mrs. Sonny Hardman. What is unique about this vineyard is that they also have wonderfully appointed cottages and guest houses so you can stay for the day or stay for the weekend. Reisling, Seyval Blanc, Cab Franc, and Merlot are the grapes that grow best in the Georgia region and go in to making the wines of this family run vineyard. They also have a wonderful winegrower/enologist from France Caroline Hooggenboom
Habersham Winery is located in the cute German Alpine town of Helen, GA. We also had a fabulous lunch here as well if you want to pair your food with wine. Since 1998 this winery has been a valuable part of the N. Georgia landscape. Signet was my favorite wine only because I am a diehard avid chardonnay drinker. But you should try them all and find exactly what you like.
Barrel and stainless steel fermented Seyval / Chardonnay. Complex, off-dry , soft, slight buttery and toasty. Excellent with lighter fare such as chicken, fish, and pasta.
Blackstock Winery-Cleveland, Georgia
David Harris and his family began this estate vineyard in 1997. Blackstock Vineyards sits atop a ridge at 1,700-foot elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia on a 90-acre property. They grow sangiovese just like in Italy and also are famous for their white merlot. The view here is also award winning the perfect place for your dream wedding or a corporate retreat, try it for yourself.
Three Sisters Winery Dahlonega, GA
To be fair this was our last winery and my least favorite, but this is a popular favorite among many Georgians. I had just had too much wine in too short of a period of time and I hit a wall. I just wanted no more. I purchased the 2006 Chardonnay to take home and have a later date and time and I will say it was really good. It is fermented in fine French oak barrels for more than 12 months.
The most entertaining wines are the fat boy jug a large red table wine, a little on the sweet side and said to go great with barbeque. (Not my cup of tea) but hey again this is popular here in Georgia.
This was a very memorable event with two of my good girlfriends and I hope that it becomes an annual tradition. I really love wine and knowing how it is made and I don’t want to die a California wine drinking snob. I would really love to see Georgia evolve into Napa Valley.