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10 must visit wineries in North Georgia: sips with stunning views (video)

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You may be surprised that land in North GA is quite decent for wine production. Wine makers have taken note and built some stunning wineries. On your next Atlanta visit or if you are an Atlanta resident, put Georgia Wine Country on your radar. There are 60+ wineries in Georgia!

Georgia wines?” you are thinking. I had my doubts which were put to rest after a visit to wineries in both Cleveland and Dahlonega, nestled in the North Georgia mountains, where you are guaranteed to have stunning mountain views. Here are six wineries in North Georgia that are worth the one and a half hour drive from Atlanta where you will have delightful wine tastings.

Cottage Winery in North Georgia (Cleveland)

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Beautiful vistas everywhere you look at The Cottage Winery in Helen, GA

If beautiful vistas are what you are after, you need to visit, Cottage Winery in Helen. When it isn’t crowded you’ll easily be able to snag the swing chair that overlooks the beautiful mountain. Inside the tasting room has floor to ceiling windows all around, so you won’t miss any of the views if the weather isn’t the best.

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If you enjoy sweet or slightly sweet wines, then order the Baby Doll or the Southern Sass. The latter is a muscadine. But the Baby Doll is truly unique. This rose that leans to the sweet side is made from combining Riesling with the lesser known Traminette for a balanced finish. For reds, I loved the Syrah with notes of blackberry and peppercorn.  The Cottage Winery is open daily and you can get 5 tastings for $7, or 8 tastings for $10.

Kaya Vineyards in North Georgia (Dahlonega)

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Kaya is building cabins so you can stay on site in the near future.

Dahlonega’s Kaya is a lovely new winery with big plans into becoming a total weekend retreat. Kaya’s Tasting Room is 1,600 feet up and offers one of the most panoramic mountain views in North Georgia. Future plans include building cabins for weekend getaways.

kaya vineyards in Helen, GA

Whatever you try, don’t miss the Oola red wine at Kaya if it is available. Any fan of cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc will appreciate these wines. However, a Trifecta (2015) is quite dazzling as well. Of all the wineries visited, Kaya’s wines are the most affordable. On weekends, Kaya features a guitarist with a velvety voice to serenade you while you enjoy the dog friendly patio. Tastings start at $11, and the winery is open Wednesdays through Sundays.

Montaluce Winery in North Georgia (Dahlonega)

On my initial visit, five years ago, the winery was much smaller. In fact, they even had wines other than their own. But this vineyard and winery has truly come into it’s own in the last year or two.  It is open daily and winery tours are free, but it’s best to book the $45 tour and five-wine tasting. Then stay for dinner at Le Vigne, the restaurant on site which overlooks the vineyard. The cuisine at this Tuscan-style winery is just as incredible as the luscious wine. The property even has beautiful villas on site where you can stay overnight though it is quite pricey.

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Chateau Meichtry winery in Talking Rock, GA

This a family business that goes back about 100 years to Italian origins. Husband and wife even talked their kids into coming into the wine business. You may be tempted to skip the tour and just sip on the amazing wines (and who could blame you) but you definitely want to see the chandelier in the barrel room from when they did a themed mystery dinner. While I’m all about the red wine, I found a new white wine to love here – Albariño with a crisp flavor and notes of citrus is a must try!

Otts Farms and Vineyard in Ellijay, GA

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If you enjoy love stories, you need to visit Otts Farms in Ellijay on the North Georgia wine trail.

This north Georgia winery has a love story that will melt your heart. Lee and Mike were both single for a long time and met at physical therapy. It was a quick courtship before they knew they were destined to be together and it is reflected in their wine names like Shameless, Affection and Worth the Wait. Fun fact: they play Hallmark movies in July and December.

Engelheim Vineyards in Ellijay, GA

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Any red wine lover will enjoy the wines at Engelheim winery in Ellijay.

This German winery nestled in Ellijay is the perfect spot to get away from it all with your girlfriends. Plus the 100% estate grown reds like Trillium and Doxology will impress any red wine lover.

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Qualusi Vineyards in Acworth, Georgia (closest winery to Atlanta)

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Qualusi winery in Acworth, Georgia is located in the back of a neighborhood, with plenty of parking.

No, your GPS has not gone bonkers, Qualusi Vineyards in Acworth, Georgia is truly located in the far back of a neighborhood. It may be a bit jarring as your GPS directs you turn turn into the Flower Farm neighborhood, but just go with it. Think of it like a speakeasy winery. Luckily they’ve added plenty of signs once you enter the neighborhood so you won’t get lost (not that you really could, there aren’t that many streets).

Qualusi means “grape” in Cherokee Indian.

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Though the winery is pretty inside, it is fun to eat by the vines and walk around outside this Acworth, Georgia winery.

Follow the gravel road which will lead you to the parking and you can’t miss the huge white farmhouse looking structure. Once inside, you can opt for a tasting ($10), buy a glass of wine, or get a wine slushi (all the cool wineries are doing them now)! My recommendation is to get a tasting because the pours are great. They have about five white wines and six red wines. My favorite is the Pumpkinvine, not just because of the name, the wine is dreamy with notes of Blackberry and a spicy start and a slight sweet finish!

As I sat with my friend, Tim, at one of the tables by the vines on a warm, fall day, he remarked, “Can you believe this is Acworth?” While I’ll admit, it takes a while to get to Qualusi, a newish winery in Georgia, it is worth the extra bit to get there. Unlike many other wineries in Georgia, this Acworth winery, is not too far from what would still be considered the metro Atlanta area. That means without much planning, you could still head up there and enjoy an afternoon of wine, music and food (they have various food trucks on the weekends) and of course, you are free to bring your own food in (just no outside drinks).

Tip: A tasting is $10 and for that for get five generous pours as I said, but make sure to try a slushie too!

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Wondering, where is a winery in Atlanta near me? Check out Qualusi Winery in Acworth, Georgia! Photo credit: Tim Ogletree

Serentiy Cellars in North Georgia (Cleveland)

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Serenity Cellars has a great patio for enjoying wine and you are free to bring food to dine while wine.

Serenity has several features that set it apart from the other wineries. Upon entering you’ll walk through their beautiful courtyard. I can only imagine how pretty this is on a summer night all lit up with the soothing sounds of the water fountain off to the side. The actual tasting room is small, but with some gourmet spreads you can purchase to enjoy with your wine. Yes, they’ll recommend which ones to go with which wine. Think goat cheese and pepper jelly. One of my favorites here was the Traminette with lychee and apricot notes though the La Famiglia Rosso was also exquisite with notes of Raspberry and caramel.

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Enjoy live music at the grotto at Serenity Cellars

Besides the tasting room they have a grotto which is just around the back of the property that can be used for dinners and has a stage for live music. Plus, they have a pizza oven, and as long as you purchase a wine tasting, they’ll heat up any pizza you bring. Note: no pizzas are available for sale. Tastings are $10 for 7 samples. The winery is open daily and closed on Christmas.

Sylvan Valley Cellars in North Georgia (Helen)

This award winning winery (yes the’ve won some gold medals) also doubles as a bed and breakfast! So, be sure to inquire about booking a night or two at this spot while you enjoy their fine wines.sylvan valley winery dinner

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Wine pairing dinners are a regular occurrence at Sylvan Valley Wine Cellars

Food, wine and fairies? Yes, that’s right. The wines here have fairies on the labels. Plus, they’ve got an excellent chef producing excellent foods that compliment the wine perfectly. After a heavy dinner paired with wine the last thing you want to do is drive back to your hotel, right? Well, at Sylvan Valley, you don’t have to. Just book a room on site.  Note that the tasting room is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Taste 6 wines for $12.

Yonah Mountain Vineyards in North Georgia (Cleveland)

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Yonah is the most gorgeous winery in North Georgia with expansive areas for private events

Yonah is the beautiful mountain that can be seen from the many wineries in Cleveland, close to Helen. Yonah is also the Cherokee word for “bear” which you’ll see as their logo. Want to see a magnificent winery that has spared no expense? Yonah Mountain Vine yards is it. Built for special events (mostly weddings), there are also several smaller rooms for meetings and dinners, even wine caves where some special wine dinners take place.

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L: Private reserve room at Yonah, R: Patio area at Yonah

Though I’m not a Chardonnay fan, the un-oaked, buttery Chardonnay was delightful. But the Genesis 7, a blend of Malbec, Merlot and several other reds was my favorite. Tastings start at $10, and the winery is open every day.

Our group had the luxury of being escorted to the wineries by VIP Southern Tours. Husband and wife team Charles and Christina Ernst (pictured below) operate the wine tours and they offer various wine tours for the wineries of White County. In operation since 2013, they really know how to give guests and incredible experience. The comfortable rides include plush seating and usb charging ports available at each seat.

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VIP Southern Wine tours is the best way to see multiple wineries in North Georgia

You can book a tour for any day of the week visiting some of the wineries included in this article. Prices start at $129 and include three wineries, a picnic lunch, and all transportation. Every Sunday they offer a “happy hour” priced tour that includes transportation, 3 wineries, over 20 wine tastings for $89! Their service includes pick up and return within a 10 mile radius of downtown Helen.

Since it is only a one and a half hour drive to these wineries from Atlanta, you could certainly make a day trip of it. But my recommendation is to take your time and enjoy each winery for its merits. Do the tasting and pick your favorite vino, then relax and enjoy a glass or two instead of rushing off to the next winery. Many wineries have live music or festivals (especially in the fall), so totally worth spending the afternoon or even overnight.

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The new Holiday Inn in Helen, GA

Rent a cabin or stay at one of the nearby hotels (Holiday Inn is a beautiful modern hotel in Helen) to make a fun weekend trip at the wineries. Holiday Inn’s modern hotel features an indoor pool, touch sensor lighting, and more in the heart of Helen. What are you waiting for?

Wondering what else there is to do an see in Helen? Check out these other articles:

Visit Babyland General

Stay at Sylvan Valley Lodge in Helen / Sautee

Wining, Dining and Zip Lining in Helen

Of course these are just my top picks of some of the best wineries in North Georgia. There are others that I have yet to visit but they are on my list of wineries that I hear have fine wines. These include: Frogtown Cellars, Creek Vineyards, Sister Vineyards, and Tiger Mountain Vineyards. Have you been to any of these wineries in North Georgia? I would love to know your thoughts on them!

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!