Fall Into Fun Times In North Georgia Wine Country

If you’ve lived in the metro Atlanta area for any length of time and have not discovered the beauty of the north Georgia mountains in the autumn, shame on you.

If you’ve lived in the Atlanta metro area for any length of time (perhaps your whole life) and have not discovered the beauty of the wines made in north Georgia, we’ll give you a pass on this one. It is hard to get one’s mind around the idea that more and better wines are being produced north of I-285, but it’s true.

Don’t believe me? Well, I offer you a low-risk challenge. Go up there and try ’em yourself.

Where’s the risk, you ask? Well, to be honest, there are a few roadside attractions up there that should be ashamed to be calling themselves winemakers. If you choose poorly, you’ll likely tell me: “I told you so!” But even if you find the stinkers, as Rick said to Ilsa at the Casablanca Airport: “We’ll always have the foliage.”

These days, however, the good wineries far outnumber the bad and I would be shocked … shocked! ... if you weren’t pleasantly surprised.

What follows are a list of well-regarded wineries and a small sampling of autumnal goings on. All the wineries offer cellar/vineyard tours, but call in advance for times.

Blackstock Vineyards & Winery

Sept. 11: Harvest Wine Dinner, 7 p.m., seven individual wine pairings during the course of this Tuscan-themed dinner. $55/person plus tax and gratuity (includes wine).

5400 Town Creek Rd.

Dahlonega, Ga. 30533

(706) 219-2789 ext. 223

Crane Creek Vineyards

Oct. 23: Annual Harvest Festival, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., hay rides, grape stomping, tours of the winery and a kiddie tent. $20 for Adults, $10 for 13- 20 year olds, children under 12 free. Includes wine tasting, souvenir wine glass, lunch and admission to all of the activities.

916 Crane Creek Road

Young Harris, Ga. 30582

(706) 379-1236

Frogtown Cellars

Sept. 11: Alfresco Harvest Dinner Overlooking the Vines Featuring Sam Kahwach of Basils, 7-10 p.m., wines to be paired with each of the five courses prepared by chef Kahwach. A portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. $75/person plus tax & gratuity. Reservations required.

3300 Damascus Church Road

Dahlonega, Ga. 30533

(706) 865-0687

Habersham Winery

Tasting room open during Helen’s Oktoberfest celebrations, Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 12:30-6 p.m.

7025 S. Main St. (GA Hwy. 75)

Helen, Ga. 30345

(706) 878-9463

Monteluce Winery & Estates

Sept. 17: Dinner and a movie (Goonies), 8:30-10 p.m., three-course prix-fixe dinner. $40/person.

501 Hightower Church Road

Dahlonega, Ga. 30533

(706) 867-4060

Persimmon Creek Vineyards

Sept. 25: A Low Country/High Country Writer's Dinner and Reading, 7 p.m., Low Country writer Cassandra King Conroy will read from one of her latest novels and chef/cookbook author Rebecca Lang will prepare a five-course dinner paired with Persimmon Creek wines. $85/person. Includes wine. Reservations required.

81 Vineyard Lane

Clayton, Ga. 30525

(706) 212-7380

Tiger Mountain Vineyards

Sept. 11: 2010 Crush Celebration, 10 a.m.-noon, grape picking; noon-2 p.m. vineyard picnic, live music and release of the 2008 Tannat. $25/person.

2592 Old Highway 441

Tiger, Ga. 30576

(706) 782-4777

Wolf Mountain Vineyards

Every Sunday in October: 8th Annual End of Harvest Celebration/Bluegrass Brunch, 12:30 and 2:30 seatings. Live bluegrass music along with a buffet featuring seasonal dishes. $30/person plus tax and gratuity.

180 Wolf Mountain Trail

Dahlonega, Ga. 30533

(706) 867-9862

Yohah Mountain Vineyards/ Sautee Nacoochee Vineyards

Oct. 16: Fall Fest at Sautee Village, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., music, food, fine art, crafts and activities for children. Free shuttles to and from parking. Tasting rooms of both nearby wineries will be open. Cost: Free.

2454 Highway 17

Sautee-Nacoochee, Ga. 30571

(706) 878-0144

Three Sisters Vineyards

Oct. 30-31: Three Sisters HalloWINE Celebration, 12:30-5 p.m., music and ghosts on the Crush Pad Deck. Special complimentary tastes of the winery's Blood Mountain Red Wine. Cost: Free.

439 Vineyard Way

Dahlonega, Ga. 30533

(706) 865-9463

Gil Kulers is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators. You can reach him at gil.kulers@winekulers.com.