Georgia wineries, meaderies and tasting rooms are beckoning lovers of the vine to explore their palate and their state through a month-long tour.
Returning to its late winter/early spring roots, the Georgia Wine Highway begins March 1 with a collective 48 opportunities for oenophiles and novices alike to rove the state in search of their new favorite red, white or mead.
The tour, and by extension its host Georgia Wine Producers, offers highway tourists a $75 passport, which includes four tastings or one 4-ounce glass pour at each stop.
Individuals can pick up their passport and a complimentary collector’s glass at the first winery or tasting room they visit. Apple and Android users are also able to purchase and stamp a passport digitally via the Open Georgia Wine app.
Some of North Georgia’s participating wineries include CeNita Vineyards, Winery and Tasting Room and Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland, Etowah Meadery and Kaya Vineyards and Winery in Dahlonega, Habersham Winery in Helen, Painted Horse Winery and Vineyards in Milton, Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery in Dahlonega and Sweet Acre Farms Winery in Alto.
For a full list of participating wineries and their hours of operation, click on 2022 Wine Highway at georgiawineproducers.org/news.
2022 Georgia Wine Highway
What: A month of wine tasting across Georgia
When: March 1 through March 31
Where: 40 wineries/meaderies and eight tasting rooms
How much: $75 per person
List of participating wineries: georgiawineproducers.org/news
Previously a 10-day event, the Georgia Wine Highway pivoted to a month-long experience in August 2020 to abate crowding amidst the pandemic, Georgia Wine Producers’ executive director Taree Darby said.
“It gives everyone a lot more time to utilize their passport instead of trying to rush and get it done in a few days — most people can’t do it during the week, so it really gives you the time to get the full bang for your buck,” Darby said. “A lot of people don’t realize that we have such a diverse wine industry in Georgia, because we have different regions of the state who can produce different types of grapes.”
According to Darby, muscadine grapes are exclusive to south Georgia; the north and central regions are unable to grow them due to climate and elevation. And unlike the south, the north region produces the state’s French-style grapes.
“There’s a lot of collaboration between wineries around the state to get their different grapes to one another,” she said.
While March tends to be a slower season for Georgia wineries, Darby said those embarking on the Wine Highway should expect a heavier volume of traffic throughout the month due to the event’s popularity.
Passport holders should also check the wineries’ hours of operation before hitting the road.
“It’s fun to get out with your friends and family and visit all the wineries, taste all the different types of wines that we produce in our state and meet tons of different people,” Darby said. “The winery owners are always excited to talk about what they do.”
This article was originally posted by the Gainesville Times, a sister publication to Forsyth County News.