Atlanta Restaurant Scene

Forget Napa Valley -- Dahlonega's wine country is just an hour away

It’s hard to believe that rolling hills of vineyards are located a little over an hour from Atlanta. But, that’s exactly what you’ll find in Dahlonega, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where unique wineries and tasting rooms pour a host of varietals and blends. Want to try a sparkling apple wine? Take in sweeping mountain views? Or, nosh on a charcuterie platter under a veranda that looks straight out of Tuscany? You can do it all in North Georgia wine country. Gas up the car and check out these standouts:

Accent Cellars

At Accent Cellars, Dahlonega’s urban farm winery, you can enjoy a bottle of wine while you picnic on the grounds (feel free to bring your own snacks, or order up a cheese plate). Accent Cellars, which opened in 2017, sources fruit from Georgia farms, as well as around the country, to craft unique varietals, like Insider — Winter Harvest, a sparkling apple wine made with fruit from Blue Ridge’s Mercier Orchard.

215 Auraria Road, Dahlonega. 706-867-0123, accentcellars.com.

Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery

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An old family farm is the theme at Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery, which has three sides below the ground and is modeled after a circa 1820 hand-hewn log cabin that was moved from Tennessee and now resides on the property. As Dahlonega’s smallest family farm winery, Cavender Creek takes a handcrafted approach to winemaking, experimenting with small batches of different varietals and grape blends. The loft of the barn houses the tasting room, with a deck extending over the crush pad below. On occasion, live music accompanies the tastings.

3610 Cavender Creek Road, Dahlonega. 706-867-7700, cavendercreekvineyards.com .

Frogtown Cellars boasts striking views from its porches and decks. Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau

Frogtown Cellars

Located on 57 acres at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, Frogtown Cellars boasts striking views of the vineyards, and a three-acre lake, from its porches and decks. Twenty-five different grape varieties are planted on 44 acres, and Frogtown is committed to the North Georgia (Dahlonega Plateau) terroir and adheres to French winemaking rules, not adding any sugar to dry wines (except dessert wines). If you work up an appetite, the panini bar in the Dahlonega tasting room is open Fridays through Sundays until 3:30 p.m. (There’s also Sunday brunch 12:30-2:30 p.m. for $27.50 per person.)

700 Ridge Point Drive, Dahlonega. 706-865 0687, frogtown.us .

Kaya Vineyard and Winery

Built atop a ridge, Kaya Vineyard and Winery offers panoramic mountain views from its tasting room, with 12-foot windows and a 2,000-square-foot covered deck. Wines are made exclusively from estate-grown grapes planted with classic European, Italian and American varietals.

5400 Town Creek Road, Dahlonega. 706-219-3514, kayavineyards.com.

Italian architecture and rolling vineyard hills create a Tuscan vibe at Montaluce Winery & Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau

Montaluce Winery & Restaurant

Sip wine while pretending you’re in Tuscany at Montaluce Winery & Restaurant, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the vineyards and mountains below from one of two covered verandas. Italian architecture and rolling hills bolster the Tuscan vibe, while their on-site restaurant, Le Vigne, dishes up brunch, lunch and dinner. Guided wine hikes are offered on weekends for an additional fee (reservations required). The winery often closes early for private events, so call in advance to be safe.

501 Hightower Church Road, Dahlonega. 706-867-4060, montaluce.com.

Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery

A laid-back tasting awaits you at Three Sisters Vineyards, Lumpkin County's founding wine grape grower. Inside the tasting room, step up to a large cherry wood bar to sample wines made from grapes grown for cabernet Franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot blanc, touriga, cynthiana norton, vidal blanc and pinot noir.

439 Vineyard Way, Dahlonega. 706-865-9463, threesistersvineyards.com.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery offers spectacular views, and a restaurant with a popular Sunday brunch. Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery

Perched on a mountain ridge encircled by vineyards, Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery offers commanding views of the surrounding foothills. Visit their restaurant for the popular Sunday brunch, which features a new theme each month (April is the Greatest Hits Brunch, with live bluegrass; White Wine, Sparkling Wine & Seafood Festival is the theme in May; and Tribute to Tuscany in June). The tasting room has a large, four-sided stone and cedar bar, where you can belly up for a pour, Napa-style. Then, enjoy a glass on the open-air veranda and terrace, or explore the antique Wine Library and Cellar. Wolf Mountain’s European-style wines are aged in French, Hungarian and American Oak barrels, for rich fruit flavors without excessive oak.

180 Wolf Mountain Trail, Dahlonega. 706-867-9862, wolfmountainvineyards.com.

 

And one a little closer to home...

If you don’t want to venture as far as Dahlonega, check out some of the local tasting rooms just outside the Perimeter. Of note: Roswell will welcome the debut of Deep Roots Wine Market & Tasting Room in May . Owner Dana Gurela (a certified California wine appellation specialist via the San Francisco Wine School, with a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 2 certification from the Napa Valley Wine Academy) plans to bring a little Napa Valley to Roswell in the form of a relaxed space for enjoying wine with friends or grabbing a bottle on the way home for dinner. Deep Roots will feature wines exclusively from California, with a wide range of price points. You’ll also be able to do a self-guided wine tour via Napa Technology wine pouring stations, sampling 1-, 3- or 6-ounce pours of 24 wines with a reloadable, pre-paid swipe card. And, if you work up an appetite, you can order some snacks thanks to a partnership with neighbor Plum Cafe.

1055 Canton St., Roswell. 770-925-5124, deeprootswine.com.

 

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The Food & Dining Team offers reviews, previews, food news and fun bites food trends for metro Atlanta’s vast food and dining scene.

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