Dahlonega has a new designation to cement its status as the heart of Georgia wine country.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has designated the “Dahlonega Plateau” as the newest viticultural area in the U.S., and the first with boundaries contained in the state of Georgia. The AVA’s name was derived from a long, narrow, northeast-southwest trending plateau in the northern foothills of the Georgia Piedmont.
This federal designation, which went into effect July 20, allows winemakers and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to the wine's geographic origin. Sections of wine growing regions with the same climate, soil, elevation and physical features are assigned an official AVA designation. A wine with an AVA label must have 85 percent of its grapes grown in that viticultural area.
“The designation of the Dahlonega Plateau holds great promise for wine grape production and agritourism,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black in a prepared statement.
While the majority of wine production lies within Dahlonega-Lumpkin County, the borders of the designated region stretch to neighboring White and Dawson counties. Wineries located within the Dahlonega Plateau boundaries include Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery, Montaluce Winery & Estates, Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery, Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery, Kaya Vineyard and Winery, Frogtown Cellars and the Cottage Vineyard and Winery.
Starting July 30, wine producers can apply for a Certificate of Label Approval from TTB with “Dahlonega Plateau” as the appellation of origin.
There are approximately 238 AVA designations in the U.S. Nearly half are in California.