DiscoverExploring The Napa of the South 

Exploring The Napa of the South 

While driving down the East Coast I found myself in Georgia, where I journeyed through the foothills and explored various wineries in the north of the state, near Dawsonville. Dawsonville gave us easy access to the vineyards nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. These wineries here are not something you hear about often. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the uniqueness of these wines and the grape varietals grown here. This area is part of the Dahlonega Plateau AVA and is often called the ‘Napa of the South’ due to its great wine-growing terroir. 

Carving a Niche: Georgia Wineries and Their Unique Approach

With a focus on producing smaller batches, Georgia wineries are carving out their own niche in the industry. While the region may not be as well-established as New York’s Finger Lakes or Virginia’s Monticello AVA, it has succeeded in producing some exceptional wines that showcase the passion and skill of these smaller wine producers. Below are some can’t-miss wineries in the Napa of the South!

Cavender Creek Vineyards:

One standout winery is Cavender Creek Vineyards, just a short drive from Dawsonville or 1 hour from Atlanta. This winery is known for its commitment to craftsmanship. They produce a range of wines that can satisfy the most discerning palates. Owned and operated by Claire Livingston since 2015, this vineyard boasts a total of 15 acres altogether. They produce red, white, and rose wines that range from dry-sweet. 

The Stand Out Grape: Norton 

Norton is a unique grape varietal native to North America. It has found a welcoming home in the Georgia foothills and when I tried it, I was surprised. It tastes like dark cherries, pomegranates, blackberries, plums, and spicy overtones of cinnamon, pepper, and clove. Cave Creek Vineyards has taken this grape and crafted a bold and expressive wine that showcases the true potential of the American Norton varietal. 

Wolf Mountain Vineyards: 

Moving further into the foothills, we came across Wolf Mountain Vineyards, another gem in Georgia’s winemaking scene. Nestled atop a picturesque mountain, it overlooks the Southern Appalachian Mountains giving it spectacular views. The Boenger family runs the vineyard as well as a restaurant and tasting room on-site where they offer true “Napa Style” tastings with their award-winning handcrafted wines, vineyard weddings, Sunday brunches, lunch, and gourmet dinners. 

Sparkling Brilliance at Wolf Mountain Vineyards

Wolf Mountain Vineyards offers an extensive wine list, including classic grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. However, it is their sparkling wines that truly shine, rivaling those from renowned champagne regions. Our favorite was the Brut Sparkling Rose 2022. 

Montaluce Vineyards: 

But it’s not just Cave Creek Vineyards and Wolf Mountain Vineyards that make the Georgia foothills a must-visit region for wine enthusiasts. Monaluce Vineyards, located near Dahlonega, is another standout winery in the area.

Montaluce Vineyards’ Commitment to Sustainability

With a strong emphasis on sustainable and biodynamic farming practices, Montaluce Vineyards produces wines that are a true expression of their terroir. This vineyard loves curating sustainable wines in the Southern weather. They believe that the soil type, sun exposure, & climate are all unique to the region. The constant fluctuations in unpredictable Georgia weather gives the area an extraordinary micro-climate, which provides a longer growing season, ideal for cultivating the many complex flavors. In the South, they value the challenges that nature delivers because it provides uncommon cultivation conditions. Montaluce believes theses conditions required to endure – this builds character & strength, resulting in a healthier flavor & aroma.

Exploring Georgia Wineries Further 

As the Georgia wine scene continues to gain recognition, more wineries are popping up in the foothills, each with unique offerings. In addition to the above list, Frogtown Cellars, Three Sisters Vineyards, and Kaya Vineyard and Winery are some that you should note for your next visit to the Napa of the South!

Education and Exploration in the Foothills

These vineyards often host events such as wine tastings, vineyard tours, and food pairing classes, providing visitors with an immersive wine experience. For those seeking to expand their knowledge and deepen their appreciation for Georgia wines, winemakers offer a plethora of educational opportunities. Many wineries host classes on winemaking, vineyard management, and the nuances of different grape varietals. This is an excellent way to gain insight into the region’s winemaking techniques and the dedication that goes into producing quality wines. Check out their websites for updated schedules!

Embrace the Georgia Foothills: A Rising Star in Winemaking

So, if you find yourself in the Dawsonville area or are an avid wine enthusiast looking to explore new and emerging regions, be sure to venture into the Napa of the South. Traverse the winding roads, savor the breathtaking views, and taste the extraordinary wines crafted by passionate winemakers. The Georgia foothills have much to offer and are poised to become a significant player in the ever-evolving world of winemaking.



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