Georgia may be the Peach State, but grapes are their passion, and they are gaining national recognition. Georgia is emerging as a producer, of excellent wines. It is the United States’ top Muscadine producer. The majority of the state’s wineries are currently found in the north around Dahlonega, just about an hour from Atlanta.
The Dahlonega Mountains of North Georgia, once mined for gold, are now cultivated for a wide variety of European and American wine grapes. Visitors to Dahlonega’s vineyards are rewarded with the area’s breathtaking beauty, unique things to do, memorable restaurants, and snug places to stay. Start in the historic preserved downtown of Dahlonega. Here the tasting rooms and quaint shops around the Square are intriguing enough to consume at least a couple hours of your day. Be sure to stop at the Dahlonega Gold Museum, housed in Georgia’s oldest remaining courthouse building, and don’t miss the gold-speckled bricks in the walls. They were made with clay from the surrounding hills, proving that there was “gold in them thar hills.” There is lodging in and around Dahlonega to suit every budget, from cozy inns and bed and breakfasts to mountain cabins and even yurts. On your first morning of wine touring, treat yourself to a hearty breakfast complete with feather-light biscuits at The Crimson Moon Café. If it’s Sunday, hold that appetite for Frogtown Winery, where a three-course Sunday brunch with wine pairings and homemade desserts await; or try Le Vigne Ristorante at Monteluce, where many of the seasonal recipes begin with ingredients from the winery’s own organic gardens.
Beyond wine, visitors can also enjoy the lakes and streams for canoeing and fishing. More than 30 waterfalls are located in the area, including Amicolola, the highest waterfall in the Eastern United States. Hiking trails are plentiful and there’s even a place to pan for gold at Crisson Gold Mine. Guided tours of Consolidated Mine are offered too, where you can learn the history of gold mining and walk through underground tunnels. Back in Dahlonega, the Holly Theater, a true community effort, is usually about to raise the curtain. There is nightlife in the town of Dahlonega—and plenty of undiscovered gold for wine tourers to discover in the hills the next day.