Strung out in the wide valleys and gently sloping mountains of north Georgia are hundreds of acres of grapes. Not just plump muscadines, but also the popular wine-making varieties that we so often associate with France, Italy, and California. Winemaking is so important an industry that part of north Georgia is even accredited as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). Each winery is worth its own stop for samples (of course), but also fine foods, special events, and drinking in the views. Get started with this list of best wineries in North Georgia to get a feel for the budding wine destination.
Tiger Mountain Vineyards
Nestled into the side of Tiger Mountain just minutes from the hip downtown drag of Clayton, Tiger Mountain Vineyards is a destination unto its own. Planted on a 5th generation family farm and hand-tended, the grapes have been transformed into award-winning Malbec, Petit Manseng, and Norton. Time your visit for the warmer months when Red Barn Cafe is open on-site for lunch and dinner. In 2019, Louisiana chef Leon Lemoine joined the team and infused the menu with cajun offerings. If you can’t make it up to Clayton, Tiger Mountain Vineyards has a small tasting room in Clarkesville at Flyhawk Farm.
Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery
Started in 1996, Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery is Dahlonega’s first family farm winery. Drop in for a “Vintner’s Tasting” where you may get anything from sparkling and dessert wines to a host of reds and whites. Every wine you taste or take home was made from grapes grown on the farm’s 184 acres. That’s a tall task, but one suited for this farm located on the cooler Dahlonega Plateau. Head there on a weekend afternoon or a weekday evening when regional bluegrass and jazz acts set the mood.
Twelve Spies Vineyards & Farm
Twelve Spies Vineyards with its big mountain views of Chattahoochee National Forest is “Heaven on earth” for owner Mike Brown. Deep in beautiful Rabun Gap, Twelve Spies grows four varieties of grapes. Wines of note are the Signature Chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. For some more unique wine options, grab the sangria called Cinco Vino, the peach wine called Front Porch Peach, and of course, the Bless Your Heart muscadine wine.
Bear Claw Vineyards
Imagine waking up in a treehouse, walking along sunny farm roads, sipping wine on a shady patio, and listening to acoustic music. It’s all possible at Bear Claw Vineyards. Located just minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, the vineyard hosts drop-in tastings and regular music events. Wines of note include the Cayuga, white riesling, and the “Treehouse Chardonnay,” an homage to the on-site DIY Network-built treehouse you can rent with family or friends.
Fainting Goat Vineyards
It doesn’t get much sweeter than the mountain views from the veranda at Fainting Goat Vineyards. Adding to the scene are the vineyard’s multiple award-winning wines, like the Muscato, blanc du bois, and sauvignon blanc. Fainting Goat focuses on crafting small batches of wine from small crops of high quality, Georgia-grown grapes. Bring a picnic, enjoy some wine, take in the views, and come with your dancing shoes for music every weekend.
Tucked into a hillside just south of Georgia’s busy apple orchards, Cartecay Vineyards is a low-key hangout for wine lovers. Housed in a 1800s barn, the tasting room is cozy for cold, damp days. But when the sun is out, enjoy the yard and patio overlooking the vineyard with its eight grape varietals. Vidal blanc, Chimney Blush, and Chimney Red are all worth a try, and if you’re going near the holidays, snag a bottle of the seasonal nouveau, the Chimney Noel.
Currahee Vineyard & Winery
If muscadine wine is your thing, head to Currahee Vineyard & Winery. Set away from the other wineries at the eastern edge of Georgia’s mountains, Marvin Dunson started the vineyard by producing numerous muscadine wines using traditional winemaking techniques. Try award-winning 3 Mile White, made with white muscadines, or Sweet Cheryl, Dunson’s first muscadine wine named after his late wife. In recent years, Currahee has started making wine slushies that you can buy and mix at home for your next backyard bash.
Yonah Mountain Vineyards
Located in the shadow of iconic Yonah Mountain, the 200-acre family-owned Yonah Mountain Vineyards is the perfect setting for a glass of wine. Learn as much as you can by taking the 90-minute Cave Tour of one of Georgia’s only wine caves or just hang out in the modern, cabin-like atmosphere of their tasting room. If you can only go once, go during Crush Fest, the annual summertime barefoot wine crushing festival which also includes food, an artisan market, and music. If you can’t go then, go during The Crusher Trail Race, live music Saturdays, or trivia night. Regardless of when you go, make sure to try the popular sauvignon blanc or the Meritage, a red blend.
Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard & Winery
As the story goes, Stephen Meichtry brought roots of his favorite wine grapes from Europe when he settled in America. Today, his daughter and granddaughter carry on his legacy through Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard & Winery in the quiet Appalachian foothills of Talking Rock. You can stop by the tasting room to try great wines like George’s Cuvee, Lineage, a riesling called Suss Weiss, and Albarino. For a more local flavor, try the Cyzer, a combination of Georgia-grown apple cider and mead from Georgia honey. Sign up for a tour on the weekends to try multiple wines and to take one full glass of your favorite for a walking tour of the vineyard.