a ripe piece of cheese or a tasty hunk of steak, November pairs well with wine
— and there are plenty of events this month to get you out to enjoy both.
Chateau Elan’s Vineyard Fest
Chateau Elan Winery & Resort pitches its event as “one of the first big wine festivals in Georgia and in the Southeast.” The 22nd-annual event will feature more than 100 wine, beer and spirit vendors, mostly from Georgia. New this year, though, it will feature a few wines from other regions.
“It’s evolved and morphed a little bit over the years, but the heart and soul of the event has stayed the same,” said Emily Truax, marketing manager at Chateau Elan. “In the past few years, we’ve even expanded on that and also included local distilleries and breweries.
Sweetwater Brewing, Six & Twenty Distillery, 6 Degree Tequila, Boutier Winery, Habersham Winery, Five Points Berries Winery and Dark Horse Winery will all be there from 1 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 11 along with food stations from the resort’s chef and live music from The League of Decency, too.
Truax said Vineyard Fest is different than other wine events. Once guests purchase their ticket, everything's included. But you’ll have to take some extra steps to get into this festival, as individual tickets sold out in August.
To get in, you’ll have to book an overnight package, which include a room at the resort and two tickets to the event.
For those who can score a ticket, they’ll get to enjoy all the wine, spirits and beer they can handle.
The event will also feature a bread and cheese station, a pie bar with pecan pie, Mississippi mud pie, cream puffs and peanut butter cookies and a whole-smoked pig station by the fountain outside.
And once you’ve gotten your fill, it wouldn’t be a trip to a winery without grape stomping.
“It’s one of the most popular stations,” Truax said. “They’ll go out, stomp wine for their Instagram and they really have a good time. That’s something people really enjoy.”
Montaluce’s Festival in the Vines
Dahlonega’s Montaluce Winery and Restaurant is also ringing in the end of the harvest season with a festival.
Brianna Thornton, manager at Montaluce, is hoping the winery’s fourth-annual Festival in the Vines is the best yet.
“I think a big part of it is just extra planning going into this year,” Thornton said. “We have two people working on it, so we have two sets of eyes looking on everything … I think it's just more manpower.”
Thornton and Montaluce’s banquet captain, Nicole Dowis, have doubled the number of vendors coming to this year’s event from noon to 5 p.m. on Nov. 4. Thornton said there will be about 30 craft and boutique vendors.
Along with vendors, the restaurant will be open and serving chili and caramel apples.
“This year, we’re hoping for a really good turnout with about 500 people,” Thornton said. “We’ve already sold 300 tickets online, and we’ll sell tickets at the door as well.”
Bringing the music for the day will be Radford Windham and Step Back Cadillac, a band out of Dahlonega that has been on stage with the likes of Zac Brown.
Admission to the event is $10 and wine and food costs extra, but there will be some free activities at the festival, including a hay ride.
Dahlonega Walking Tours’ Grapes and Ghosts Wine Tour
If a wine festival packed with other people isn’t quite scary enough, Dahlonega Walking Tours has just what you need. With the Grapes and Ghosts Wine Tour, guests get to walk around downtown Dahlonega hearing stories of haunting while sipping on wine.
“Basically we tell the ghost stories that are associated with the town and the individual buildings that we’re going to,” said Jeremy Sharp, co-owner of Dahlonega Walking Tours. “Most of the stops that we go to are located in historic buildings that are 150 years old, so over the years they’ve collected a multitude of stories.”
With stops at the Dahlonega Tasting Room, Naturally Georgia, Conner House and Canvas and Cork, guests will have a chance to sample wines while mingling with each other and listening to ghost stories.
“We try to allocate a little bit of time for people to socialize,” Sharp said. “And it’s really cool because the wine room tasting owners, they actually tell their own stories, things that have happened to them in the past.”
Tours are for ages 21 and up and are given at 5 p.m. on Fridays and 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets are $20 apiece and include two wine tastings. If you're wanting more, there is an additional charge. Tickets are $15 for designated drivers
The tour is just more than a half-mile long and takes about three hours, but Sharp said they always try to make it a conversational tour, encouraging guests to share their own experiences.
“People love ghosts and people love wine,” Sharp said. “And we’ve got plenty of that in Dahlonega, so it was just a natural fit to combine the two.”