The New Kid on the Block!
by Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau
In 2018 it became official. There is a new player in the wine game, and they are here to stay. The Dahlonega Plateau in northern Georgia was recognized as a viticultural area, which means its unique soil quality, sun exposure, and climate make it extra special for growing wine.
What does an AVA designation mean? If you see AVA (American Viticultural Area) on a wine label, it means that at least 85 percent of that wine has been derived from grapes in a designated viticultural area. Being a part of an AVA is a serious advantage for winegrowers’ brands.
Once you lay eyes on this area, it'll be no surprise that such good wine comes from this mountain region. Dahlonega is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers beauty in every direction. Many of the wineries showcase the landscape beauty on patios where you can enjoy the unparalleled wine made here.
UnWine’d at these Wineries & Vineyards.
Three Sisters Winery was the first winery to take root in the region. The large cherry wood tasting bar is a great place to start your wine tour. If weather permits, the rock wall patio is even better. All their fruit is Georgia-grown, and most of it is grown on their 184 acres. Enjoy this tasty wine while enjoying local musicians on the weekends.
Frogtown Winery. With four consecutive Double-Gold Medals at the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition and 2017, 2018, and 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Frogtown Winery has reason to celebrate. The winery grows twenty-five different grape varietals, which is quite an impressive feat. This is how one wins Gold Medals and makes some of the best blends around.
Wolf Mountain Winery feels a little more like Europe than northern Georgia. Wolf Mountain is fashioned after a raised craftsman-style cottage and sits atop the cellar encased in fieldstone. Their French winemaking processes and the European varietals make a much different tasting wine than other wineries. This distinguished winery has won over 200 medals at wine tasting competitions in the US, confirming that their winemaking process resonates with wine lovers.
Montaluce Winery attributes the complex flavor of their wine to the unique climate in the cool Georgia Mountains. They say that the unpredictable weather often results in a longer growing season, nurturing vines that build strength, character, and, well, flavor. The Montaluce Restaurant is farm-to-table and pairs perfectly with the delicate, homegrown wines. The winery is a special "place and time," and any visitor will be rewarded with a lifetime of memories.
Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery. "Our mission is simple: We want to make good wines and provide a warm, friendly place for our guests to enjoy them." - Claire Livingston, Owner. Dear Claire, mission accomplished! This is indeed a warm, friendly place with good wines. Who would not love a winemaker who invites you to meet their "famous donkeys and Farm stewards?!"
For generations to come, everyone will appreciate the personal touch of Mr. Castleberry, who grew the winery by planting every vine by hand. Wineries come in every size - but some will always be remembered and never forgotten.
While Accent Cellars does not fall under the AVA category, their wines are still delicious. They source fruit from Georgia, California, Washington, Texas, and other locations, creating distinctive and high-quality blends. It is a family business that cares deeply about making wines to the highest standards.
Kaya Vineyard and Winery is one of the first who had the vision, commitment, and passion for growing exceptional wine and creating memorable visitors’ experiences. Its conception evolved from its original form as Blackstock Vineyards to the newly restored Kaya Vineyard. Along the way, the vines matured, and the wine reached its full potential under the winemaker's care. Take your time to enjoy the beautiful setting and explore the special taste of wine grown in soil titled by many hands and vines pruned to perfection - “From Georgia with Love.”
The most unique of the wineries on this list is Etowah Meadery. Mead is like a kissing-cousin to beer because both are brewed and fermented... Like wine and beer, mead exists in its own category, BUT it is more akin to beer than wine because of its consistency and habits.
Curious? Etowah Meadery offers wines made with only the finest honey, fruits, and spices! Mead is a honey-based wine enjoyed by many enlightened civilizations throughout time. Mead's enthusiastic acclaim is known to China, Europe, and Africa – that honey is produced anywhere in the world.
Just when you thought you knew everything there is to know about wine, Dahlonega teaches us more.
If you are planning to drive or trying to decide the best tour between each of the wineries suggested in this story, check here.