The Best North Georgia Wineries | Wine Enthusiast
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North Georgia’s Wine Country Is Experiencing a Metamorphosis—Here’s Where to Explore

Nestled against the foothills and peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the southern terminus of the ancient rolling Appalachian Mountain chain, North Georgia’s vineyards slope and sprawl from high elevations, offering majestic views from all angles. Initially associated with sweet and Muscadine wines, the latter a native southeast grape grown for commercial purposes since the 18th century, the state’s wine industry has undergone a metamorphosis since the first post-Prohibition grapevine plantings of popular European varieties in the early 1980s.

Now, there are more than 90 wineries spread across the Dahlonega Plateau AVA and the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA that produce complex bottles from locally grown vinifera, like Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Petit Manseng, as well as hybrids such as Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, Chardonel and Traminette. Because the area boasts warm days and cool nights during the growing season, viticulturists can achieve the acid levels needed to make impressive wines “with good fruit chemistry that expresses climate and region,” says Fritz Westover, a vineyard consultant known locally as “the vineyard whisperer.”  

You May Also Like: Welcome to Georgia’s Dahlonega Plateau AVA

Prominent wineries like Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Frogtown Cellars are typically placeholders in major domestic wine competitions. Others, like Cloudland Vineyards + Winery, Crane Creek, Limoges Cellars and Stonewall Creek Vineyards, are similarly acclaimed for terroir-expressive wines. But with so many options these days, it can be hard to narrow down an itinerary for a North Georgia wine weekend. To make the most of this bucolic enclave of vines, we quizzed the experts on the best places to eat, sleep and, most importantly, drink. Here’s what they had to say.  

Accent Cellars 

Dahlonega, Georgia 

Accent Cellars
Image Courtesy of Accent Cellars

Founded by local winemaker Tristen Vanhoff, his wife Katie Vanhoff and brother Tyler Barnes, Accent sources grapes from near and far. Its estate vineyard is planted with Norton and it also makes wine from using Chambourcin, Blanc du Bois and Muscadine grapes from other local vineyards. Accent sources fruit from Texas, California and Washington’s Yakima Valley. This enables Vanhoff to create a wide range of bottles. “From the winemaking side, they really aren’t afraid to try things,” says Sean Wilborn, of Cloudland Vineyards  + Winery.  

Walk up to the sleek white counter or grab an outside table to taste seven days a week without a reservation (make one if you have more than five people in your group though). On Saturdays guests can reserve a slot on the Winemaker’s Reserve Tasting, a sit-down with Barnes that delves into everything from fermentation to terroir and flavor profiles for $55 per person. The winery also hosts many live events, from comedy to painting to a winemaker’s dinner spotlighting local chefs. 

Where to Stay: The Mountain Top Lodge is a 35-year-old bed and breakfast favored by locals for both date nights and weekend getaways for its bird’s eye mountain views and proximity to downtown Dahlonega.  

Where to Eat: Montaluce Winery and Restaurant is known for noteworthy aged wines and its Trattoria di Montaluce, one of the best places to eat in the area. “You turn on what looks like a simple country road and then all of a sudden see massive houses covered in vines and gorgeous tall trees—out of nowhere, it becomes postcard-level gorgeous,” says Henna Bakshi, the editor of Eater Atlanta. She recommends “sitting among the vineyards” while savoring “spot-on” pizza, cheese and charcuterie, and pasta, like spaghetti carbonara and lasagna Bolognese.  

CeNita Vineyards, Winery and Tasting Room

Cleveland, Georgia 

CeNita Vineyards
Image Courtesy of CeNita Vineyards

CeNita Vineyards, named for co-owner Greg Crumley’s parents, Cecil and Juanita, is located on what once was a family dairy. Greg and wife Carol’s approach to Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid, is so impressive, says Kristina Limoges, co-owner of Limoges Cellars, it inspired her and her husband Daniel to plant an acre based on “the potential we saw in the grape to produce easy-drinking, fruit-forward wines.”  

The wines warrant a trip, but Charles Ernst, co-owner of VIP Southern Tours hails laid-back, welcoming atmosphere along with its “beautiful views, firepits and hammocks and family-friendly approach that’s popular with both locals and tourists.”  

CeNita is open Friday through Monday till 6 pm. Flights cost $12 for four pours, $15 for six pours and $18 for six pours with a souvenir glass. 

Where to Stay: Southern Seasons Inn in Clarkesville, Georgia, offers five pastel rooms in a 1901 Victorian home. Each room has a spacious soaking tub and color scheme and furnishings intended to evoke a particular season. For example, the autumn room combines dark wood furnishings with warm rust tones, pale green and brown accents. Daily breakfast is a highlight with dishes like gingerbread French toast or ham-and-cheese quiche with a rosemary herb crust and horseradish cream. Rooms range from $235 to $325. 

Where to Eat: At Bodensee Bavarian Restaurant, a 20-minute drive away in Helen’s Bavarian-inspired downtown, take in the sounds of live accordion music while filling up German specialties such as schnitzel, sauerbraten, goulash and tafelspitz, gently simmered beef sliced and served with horseradish gravy and potato dumplings.  

Cloudland Vineyards and Winery 

Buford, Georgia 

Image Courtesy of Austin Gray

Cloudland is a suitable first stop when traveling north from Atlanta, as it’s less than an hour drive from the airport. Owner Sean Wilborn is committed to regenerative farming and minimal-intervention winemaking. Kristina Limoges suggests trying the “delicious pet-nats,” made from Chardonnay and the hybrid Villard Blanc, which is well-suited to the area’s humid climate. “Sean is one of the only organic practicing winemakers in Georgia, a difficult landscape because of disease pressure and muddy soils,” says Bakshi.  

Guests can taste through the sustainable wines like single-varietal Lenoir and Lomanto, while snacking on vineyard “nibbles” like pimento cheese spread, Castelvetrano olives, Mission figs and charcuterie boards. From Wednesday through Sunday, guests can pop in and taste “at their own pace,” says Wilborn, moving through a flight of five wines for $25. Reservations are required for groups of six or more. 

Where to Stay: Georgia’s first post-Prohibition grapevines were planted on the site of Château Élan Winery and Resort in 1981, whose wines now boast a global focus. The resort, styled like a pastoral French chateau, is a luxurious escape with a golf course, spa, speakeasy and impressive bourbon bar. Rooms at The Inn start at roughly $280 and have a French-inspired design theme with soft gray, plush furnishings and lots of natural light. Visitors can also opt for lodgins at the spa or within a private villa, at a higher price point.  

On estate grounds, a Hampton Inn offers rooms starting at $152 a night. There are seven restaurants on-site, including Paddy’s Irish Pub, built in Dublin and transported and reassembled on the property in 1997; Marc Restaurant & Bar for premium cuts of steak from filet mignon to tomahawk ribeye; and The Versailles Room, a luminous atrium where tempting dinner fare includes pan-seared scallops in an herb butter sauce alongside a parsnip puree and braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes and broccolini. 

Where to Eat: Venture into historic downtown Buford, named for railroad magnate Algernon Sidney Buford in 1872, to dine at Tani Thai. This restaurant—which is located in a red brick townhouse built in 1890 and has a cozy, dark wood- and brick-filled dining room—originated in New York and later traveled to Miami before landing in Georgia. Mainstays like Pad Thai and massaman curry are served alongside house specialties such as Royal Duck, a crispy filet served with a ginger cherry wine sauce. 

Crane Creek Vineyards 

Young Harris, Georgia 

Crane Creek
Image Courtesy of Crane Creek

This beautiful vineyard in the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA, which spans roughly 690 square miles across western North Carolina and northern Georgia, is known for estate-grown wines and spectacular views from its Stone House Tasting Room and terrace patio. There, wines such as award-winning Cabernet Franc-Norton blend dubbed Hellbender Red, a forced-carbonation Lomanto and white Zusa hybrid and vinifera blend, are offered by the flight, glass or bottle. Second-generation winemaker Peter Seifarth “is doing an awesome job in not only honoring the land and his father's legacy, but in not being afraid to experiment,” says Bakshi. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday; between April and November winery tours are available for $40 per person. 

Where to Stay: Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa is located near several local wineries including Living Waters, Chateau Meichtry, Hightower Creek Vineyards and Odom Springs Vineyards. Guests can opt for one of eight cottages tucked into the surrounding wilderness or a room in the lodge.  

Where to Eat: Hiawassee Brew serves local wines and craft beers alongside burritos, pizzas, fish and chips and a wide range of tacos. The convivial spot has commanding views of the tree-covered slopes and frequently features live music. 

Creekstone Vineyards & Winery 

Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia 

Creekstone Vineyards & Winery serves reserve wines produced at sister winery and predecessor Habersham Winery, which was a forerunner of post-Prohibition viticulture in northern Georgia. Creekstone’s architecture is stunning and includes a symmetrical double staircase, second-floor balcony, and several intimate tasting nooks and sitting rooms with handsome wood paneling and white molding (think Restoration Hardware meets Provençal estate). “It has a beautiful view and lovely wines, with outside seating,” says Ernst. “It’s a nice spot to bring our groups.”  

Just $16 scores a tasting of five wines, like the Blanc de Blanc-style sparkling Southern Harvest made of Muscadine, peach- and citrus-scented single-varietal Seyval Blanc and the light and balanced 100% Chardonel Chateau White. Reservations are not required for groups under 10.  

Where to Stay: Valhalla Resort and Spa in Helen combines modern finishes with Bavarian castle accents, including two towers. The property is on a gentle rolling hill and offers dramatic mountain views from its Sky Bar. Head over at sunset to savor cocktails like the Violet French 75 or peach Old Fashioned.  

Where to Eat: Valhalla’s ground floor Caledonia Room sports old world European flair, with a regal insignia above the bar, red high-backed leather chairs and neatly folded black napkins—along with impressive panoramas of the sprawling Sautee Nacoochee Valley. Dinner fare is elegant, with many ingredients locally sourced for entrees like filet mignon in a Cabernet butter sauce and pistachio-crusted mahi. 

Engelheim Vineyards 

Ellijay, Georgia 

Engelheim Vineyards
Image Courtesy of Engelheim Vineyards

The tasting room at Engelheim, a farm winery, blends Bavarian and Tudor design in a single-story farmhouse that sits at the crest of sloping 15-acre vineyard. An underlying faith-based sensibility is present, with a statue of an angel in the front yard, a wooden cross in the vineyard, and wines named for spiritual observance, like Doxology, a blend of Petite Verdot, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes that won best Georgia Wine in 2021 at the Georgia Trustees Wine & Spirits Competition. Bakshi praises it for its jamminess and also suggests trying the well-rounded Pinot Grigio. Daniel and Kristina Limoges describe Engelheim’s Vidal Blanc as “a beautiful expression of this easy-growing hybrid grape.” 

Taste your way through $15 customized flights at a wrought-iron table outside or within an elevated screened-in patio that’s warmed by a fireplace. The winery is open seven days a week; reservations are not needed, and live music is a mainstay on weekend afternoons.  

Where to Stay: Mountain Top Cabin Rentals, in Blue Ridge, is a group of 30 cabins, some surrounded by woods and wilderness, others featuring mountain views or creekside tranquility. The mountain retreat has cozy vibes with communal picnic tables, contemporary kitchens and elegant sitting rooms with stone fireplaces and leather armchairs. Lodging starts at $160 per night 

Where to Eat: Enjoy views of Ellijay on the spacious upper-deck of The Roof, a tarped, sun-shaded patio that’s known for its Southern favorites. Fried green tomatoes, boiled peanuts, Angus meatloaf with Blue Oyster mushroom sauce and pecan-crusted Appalachian trout are house delicacies. 

Kaya Vineyard & Winery 

Dahlonega, Georgia 

Kaya Vineyards
Image Courtesy of Horn Photography

At 1,600 feet in elevation, Kaya Vineyard and Winery offers views that capture what makes this mountainous wine region such a magical place to explore. The interior tasting room is a high-ceilinged spacious farmhouse-style space with several warm single-bulb lights, simple lantern chandeliers, a marble countertop bar and a smooth stone floor. Take a seat on the patio and admire the Blue Rides peaks while sipping through the estate’s many Chardonnays. A stainless-steel fermented Chardonnay expresses crisp apples and hints of stone fruit. A fuller-bodied pale gold barrel-aged Chardonnay reflects oak and creamier notes, while a brut sparkling expression offers citrus, peach and pear with refreshing minerality. Customize a flight of five wines for $25 Tuesday through Sunday until 5 pm. On Fridays, linger till 7 pm to enjoy live music and the changing light at dusk. 

Where to Stay: The Dahlonega Square Hotel dates from the 1880s in the town’s historic district. Its Gilded Age sitting room feels like a throwback to another era, accented with a crystal chandelier and handsome leather armchairs. Rooms blend contemporary with retro design, like modern, oblong headboards, vintage velvet settees and braided rugs. Kaya’s on-site cottages also offer striking vineyard and mountain views. 

Where to Eat: The Smith House, near Dahlonega’s downtown square, is set in the 1899 home of a successful Gold Rush baron—and still feels as lavish as ever. The signature house buttermilk fried chicken originated with owner Bessie Smith in 1922, when a meal and a stay cost $1.50. The current owners, the Welch family, uphold a menu of iconic Southern fare, like fried chicken, fried okra and pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, served family style at communal tables. 

Limoges Cellars 

Cleveland, Georgia 

Limoge Cellars
Image Courtesy of Limoge Cellars

At Limoges Cellars, Daniel and Kristina Limoges created an incubator for North Georgia estate-grown wines and one of the only vineyards, aside from Engelheim, growing Grüner Veltliner and Albariño. Tristen Vanhoff describes Daniel Limoges as “pushing boundaries,” in avidly pursuing different techniques and styles, like a traditional-method “Blanc du Pommes” made with apples from Mercier Orchards in nearby Blue Ridge and the “Femme Saleé” (or “salty girl”), an estate Albariño with refreshing salinity. Taste through these experimental wines in their modern barn-house tasting room. The chic space features cool vintage accents including Greco-Roman busts and leatherbound books with apothecary-style shelves displaying the bottles. It’s open until 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and by appointment on Wednesdays. Tastings start at $12. 

Where to Stay: Lucille's Mountain Top Inn & Spa, just 11 miles away in Sautee Nacoochee, reflects the Arts and Crafts style inside and out with wood furnishings and beautifully etched, arched windows framing the mountain vistas. A rooftop promontory also offers breathtaking views of the Sautee and Nacoochee valleys. Every day, guests are offered a two-course homemade breakfast that includes a sweet dish followed by a savory option such as quiche, omelets and eggs Florentine with house-baked bread.  

Where to Eat: Harvest Habersham is in a small cottage with a rear garden surrounded by oaks. Every ingredient is locally sourced, “right down to the micro-green garnish,” says Kristina Limoges. The menu changes daily, and reservations are essential. Ernst notes the restaurant’s wine events spotlight a diverse lineup of global producers.   

Roo Mountain Vineyards 

Ellijay, Georgia  

Roo Mountain Vineyard
Image Courtesy of Roo Mountain Vineyard

This gorgeous 226-acre vineyard planted with 6,000 vines has stunning views. Wilborn says, “Everything I’ve tasted so far is of a high quality.”  

The Roost Red is the first release from the estate vines that were planted in 2020, a popular blend of 66% Petit Verdot and 34% Merlot. Until the rest of those estate wines are released in the coming years, guests can sample through winemaker Robert Loomis’s wide range of varieties sourced from all over the United States, from Washington’s Columbia Valley and New York’s Erie region. These include the white blend called Mother Clucker and Bird Brain, a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Vidal Blanc that Loomis says appeals to many consumers by evoking a note of sweetness.  

A rooftop garden tasting bar offers majestic views and has 26 different wines on tap available in preset flights. 

Where to Stay: The Ellijay River House Bed & Breakfast is an inviting, homey brick bungalow with an inviting sunlit dining room anchored by a gold chandelier. It has a serene porch and riverside deck that beckon guests to hang around and relax, but its close proximity to downtown Elijay’s make it convenient for those who want to dine out and shop. 

Where to Eat: The Butcher and Bottle, in downtown Elijay, is housed in a two-story red brick building dating from 1909. Enjoy its Southern-inflected steakhouse fare—like lobster hush puppies and red wine–braised short ribs—in its festive brick barroom, wooden deck or in the spacious dining room with beautiful antique windows. 

Stonewall Creek Vineyards 

Tiger, Georgia  

Stonewall Creek Vineyards
Image Courtesy of Mark and Sandi Diehl

This vineyard, which offers lovely views of Glassy Mountain, reaches more than 3,400 feet in elevation and benefits from a cool morning fog. It’s home to well-selected varietals, including Petit Manseng, Malbec and Traminette. These grapes helped the winery earn 10 medals from the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle Competition. Those wines and the scenic tasting room deck are reason enough to visit, but the fun vibe is a major draw, too. It’s got a nine-hole disc golf course that winds through the vines as well as bocce ball, corn hole and soccer. It’s open from 12:30 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday.  

Where to Stay: The White Birch Inn, in Clayton, was built in the 1920s and is furnished with lovely accents like plush armchairs and a massive stone fireplace in the sitting room. Each one of the well-appointed rooms, which come with evening turndown service, is named and after plants such as Mountain Laurel, Hemlock, Willow, Persimmon and Holly. Rates range from $190 to $430. 

Where to Eat: Fortify Kitchen & Bar sources ingredients from 28 farms, wineries and distilleries across the South. These local ingredients—from purveyors like Anson Mills, Sylan Falls Mills and Crunkleton Farms—are put to good use in dishes like pickled fried green tomatoes with Manchego-cheddar grits and cornmeal-crusted trout.  

Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery 

Dahlonega, Georgia 

Wold Mountain Vineyard
Image Courtesy of Wold Mountain Vineyard

At Wolf Mountain Vineyards, which opened in 2002, “You feel as though you're sipping from the edge of a cliff,” says Sherry Popovic, a contributor to North Georgia Living magazine. The award-winning winery is within a building that looks like a palatial mountaintop lodge with two airy balconies. Sparkling wines are particularly noteworthy, made in the méthode Champenoise style, such as the blanc de blancs brut and brut rosé, which includes its dry red Claret blend as part of the dosage. After your tasting (which starts at $25 per person), head outside to the open-air veranda to snack on pizzas, sandwiches, salads and snacks, all of which boast a recommended wine pairing on the menu. Make sure to keep an out for for themed Sunday brunch events that offer various tributes (think: Tuscany and barbecue) and other seasonal highlights.  

Where to Stay: At Cavender Creek Cabins at Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery, between Dahlonega and Helen, guests can choose from three unique cottages. Options include the stately Winemaker’s Cottage, which is in a log cabin that dates from the early 19th century. 

Where to Eat: Spirits Tavern in Dahlonega is “a high-quality gastropub” says Vanhoff. It’s known for its excellent burgers, inventive salads and sourcing products from local farms. Pro tip: Order the Springer Mountain Farms chicken breast, a staple of the handheld menu, that’s delicious both grilled and fried.  

Yonah Mountain Vineyards 

Cleveland, Georgia

Yonah Mountain
Image Courtesy of Marcella DeCocco

Located at the base of Yonah Mountain, which towers 3,156 feet in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, this 200-acre property produces wine from estate-grown and Napa Vally grapes. Its spectacular octagonal tasting room—which features a magnificent domed ceiling, skylights and large patio windows on all sides—is an ideal place to take in the views of the sloped vineyards and famous peak. Estate wines, such as single-varietal Viognier and a rosé of Cabernet Franc, are available in several flight options, which start at $35 and come with a commemorative Yonah Mountain Vineyards Riedel wine glass. For a more immersive experience, consider signing up for either a 90-minute Reserve Wine Tasting that explores Yonah Mountain wines alongside bottles from around the world or Winery Select Tour that goes through the winery and caves with a tasting of six wines and a wine, culminating with a wine and chocolate pairing. 

Where to Stay: The Stovall House Inn, which sits on 27 acres in Sautee Nacoochee and dates from 1837, offers gorgeous views of nearby Lynch Mountain. Each of the five rooms, which include an al fresco sleeping porch, is awash with sunlight from windows and skylights. Owners Jeff Sidwell and Erin Fight have created a warm space on the porch with wicker loveseats, white rocking chairs, potted plants and antique lanterns that practically beg guests to kick back and relax. For breakfast, they offer homemade dishes like breakfast crepes with berry compote, zucchini bread with a goat cheese glaze, creamy grits and soft scrambled farm fresh eggs, made of ingredients sourced from nearby businesses like Yonah Mountain Farms and Betty’s Country Store.  

Where to Eat: Just a 15-minute drive from Cleveland, Ernst recommends Bangkok Haus for “exceptional Thai food” as well as Spice 55 “for incredible sushi and a fun drink list.”

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