To some people’s surprise, you can also find an array of superb vineyards and wineries, many of which are less than an hour from metro Atlanta.
Thanks to the region’s unique climate and geography, wine grapes have been growing in the state of Georgia for hundreds of years.
But it wasn’t really until the late 1990s that North Georgia wineries started to gain in popularity. Since then, they’ve garnered national recognition for their delicious wines.
Wines produced in North Georgia have won prestigious awards from the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Tasters Guild International, and the San Francisco International, the nation’s oldest and most influential wine competition.
Read on to learn more about some of those award-winning North Georgia wines, including detailed information about their vineyards, tasting notes, and specific awards.
North Georgia Wines Guide
- Wines from Tiger Mountain Vineyards
- Wines from Habersham Vineyards & Winery
- Wines from Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery
- Wines from Three Sisters Vineyards
- Wines from Engelheim Vineyards
- Wines from Crane Creek Vineyards
Award-Winning Wines from Tiger Mountain Vineyards
Tiger Mountain Vineyards
2592 Old Highway 441 South, Tiger GA • 706-782-4777
It was created by John Ezzards and his wife Martha, who carefully selected the European variety of grapes because they were best suited to the Blue Ridge Mountains climate.
1. 2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Tiger Mountain’s 2019 Cabernet Franc Reserve most recently won a Gold Medal at the 2021 International Eastern Competition, where it was also named the best red vinifera in Georgia.
The wine also won Gold at the 2021 Georgia Trustees Wine Challenge.
Although native to the Loire Valley of France, in recent years Cabernet Franc has become one of the premier red grapes grown in North Georgia.
This particular Cabernet Franc has a deep cherry character, with an exquisitely smooth finish. You will also taste some notes of oak.
This wine pairs especially well with poultry, beef, pork, and mild and soft cheeses.
2. 2016 Petit Manseng
Tiger Mountain’s 2016 Petit Manseng is a crisp white wine that is tangy at the start and finishes with the taste of fresh green apples.
In terms of food pairings, try it with seafood or light cheeses.
The 2016 Petit Manseng has been awarded two Gold Medals– one at the 2019 International Eastern Competition and another at the 2018 Los Angeles International Best of Class.
Award-Winning Wines from Habersham Vineyards
Habersham Vineyards & Winery
7025 South Main Street, Helen GA • 706-878-9463
One of the oldest and largest wineries in North Georgia, Habersham Vineyards & Winery has been producing award-winning wines since 1983.
The company’s original vineyard, the Stonepile Vineyard, was planted in the late 1970s in Clarkesville GA. Then Mossy Creek Vineyard was added to the Habersham group in the late 1980s.
The Habersham Winery in Helen GA remains committed to producing high-quality wines, with a winemaking team dedicated to every detail of the process.
3. Creekstone Chambourcin
This bold North Georgia wine is the proud winner of a Gold Medal from the 2016 Georgia Trustees Wine Challenge.
The Creekstone Chambourcin is a port-style wine that is just the right amount of sweet and jammy.
This classic dessert wine is fortified to a whopping 19.5% alcohol. It pairs exquisitely with chocolate, walnuts, and blue vein cheeses (such as Gorgonzola or Stilton).
READ MORE: The 25 Best Things to Do in Helen GA
Award-Winning Wines from Wolf Mountain Vineyards
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery
180 Wolf Mountain Trail, Dahlonega GA• 706-867-9862
A popular attraction in Dahlonega GA that has been compared to the wineries in Napa, Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery was established in 1999.
Run by the Boegner family, the European-style winery was modeled after a raised Craftsman-style cottage.
Wolf Mountain Vineyard’s Claret is a bold Family Estate Grown Reserve wine. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (44%), Tannat (39%), and Malbec (19%), each of which was aged for 24 months in Hungarian and American Oak.
Claret offers hints of mushroom, tobacco, and black currant, with strong tannin on the finish. The wine pairs well with bechamel sauces, duck sausage, hard cheeses, fig, prosciutto, and pears.
This Georgia wine holds a number of prestigious awards, including being a double Gold Medal winner at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
It also won Gold in 2013 at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and in 2009 at the American Wine Society.
Instinct is a superb full-bodied “Rhone Style” red wine that is a combination of all the varieties that are grown on the Family Estate Vineyard.
The varietals are individually aged for 12 months in new French and Hungarian Oak. They are then blended together before being barreled for another 8 months.
This helps integrate the fruit flavors of Syrah, earthy notes of Mourvedre, the robust flavor of Cabernet Sauvignon, and the complexity of Touriga Nacional.
Instinct pairs particularly well with wild game or grilled red meats.
This North Georgia wine holds four Gold Medals. They were won at the 2008, 2009, and 2011 Atlantic Seaboard Wine competitions, as well as the 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition.
6. Boegner Family Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
This impeccable Wolf Mountain wine won a double Gold Medal at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition, as well as a Gold Medal at the 2011 Tasters Guild International.
It has also won Silver at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, and Bronze from the American Wine Society.
It is a 100% Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged for 24 months in new Hungarian and American Oak.
You can look forward to a rich black currant flavor, with dark chocolate and vanilla notes. It pairs best with beef, lamb, poultry, or spicy foods.
7. Blanc de Blancs Brut
Blanc de Blancs means “white from whites.” This brilliant Brut is a dry sparkling Chardonnay that has won more than its fair share of awards.
Most recently, it won Bronze at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. However, it also earned three Gold Medals from the 2010 and 2011 Tasters Guild International and the 2011 Los Angeles International competition.
This elegant Wolf Vineyard wine is crisp and sparkling, with light but complex flavors that include citrus, spice notes, and a sort of crisp acidity.
Try pairing this wine with crab cakes, caviar, or a citrus salad.
The Dahlonega winery‘s Plentitude (which is French for “all the best”) is a unique blend of Chardonnay and Viognier.
In order to preserve the acidity and intricacy of the flavors, it’s aged in stainless steel.
This varietal has notes of citrus and grapefruit, with a suitably dry finish. It is best enjoyed as an aperitif, or with poultry and seafood dishes.
One of the most award-winning wines from Georgia, Plentitude holds Gold Medals from the 2008 Tasters Guild International, 2007 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, and the 2005 Atlanta Wine Summit.
It also holds Silver Medals from the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and American Society, and Bronze Medals from Tasters Guild International and Finger Lakes International.
Awarded Gold by the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle, and Silver by the 2011 American Wine Society, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, and 2010 Tasters Guild International, Chanteloup is one Georgia-grown wine you simply must try.
This medium-bodied dry white has just a hint of French oak. The wine is fermented completely dry, and gives off a balance of fruity and floral notes with a softer finish.
Chanteloup’s unique flavor comes from a blend of French Oak fermented and sur lie aged Chardonnay, along with stainless steel fermented Viognier.
Chanteloup is best enjoyed with soft cheeses, poultry, smoked seafood, and white meat dishes.
10. Sunset Rosé
Created as a Rhone-style dry rosé, Sunset Rosé is a flavorful wine that’s perfect for a picnic or brunch.
It uses the traditional French process known as “saignee.”
This means the winemakers drew off the desired amount of juice from each of the red varieties prior to fermentation, then fermented the juice in neutral French Oak barrels to complete dryness.
Once that is complete, the blend is aged in stainless steel, which gives it its refreshing and fruity flavor.
This delightful Georgia wine was awarded a Silver Medal at the 2004 Atlanta Wine Summit, and a Bronze Medal in the 2004 Tasters Guild International Competition.
Award-Winning Wines from Three Sisters Vineyards
Three Sisters Vineyards
439 Vineyard Way, Dahlonega GA • 706-865-9463
Soon after Sharon and Doug Paul purchased 184 acres of property in Dahlonega GA in 1995, the couple began planning out Three Sisters Vineyards, which is the Blue Ridge mountain town’s first family farm winery.
Three Sisters is also the oldest continuously operated vineyard on the Dahlonega Plateau, with its name inspired by the breathtaking view of Three Sisters Mountain to the West.
11. Three Sisters Vineyards Georgia Port
The Three Sisters Vineyards Georgia Port was named “Best Dessert Wine” in 2007 by the Georgia Trend Wine Tasting.
It’s a rich and delicious dessert wine made from 100% Touriga Nacional grapes, offering intriguing notes of raisin and boysenberry.
Georgia Port is a dessert wine, so naturally it pairs best with something sweet. However, it can also be enjoyed with smaller plates that include blue cheese and walnuts.
Award-Winning Wines from Engelheim Vineyards
127 Lakeview Road, Ellijay GA • 706-635-9463
Ellijay’s Engelheim Vineyards was launched in 2009, when the Engel family planted their first grapes in Ellijay GA.
The picturesque property is located in the hills around Carters Lake, one of our favorite lakes in the North Georgia Mountains.
After harvesting their first vintage in 2011, the Alpine-style Engelheim tasting room was opened in 2014.
12. Petite Manseng
Awarded the title of “Best Georgia Grown Wine” in 2020, Engelheim Vineyards’ Petite Manseng is a rich wine that is definitely worth tasting.
This 100% Estate grown white wine has a tanginess to it, with notes of honey and melon, but finishes with a sweet spiciness.
To complement the full-bodied texture of the wine, pair it with seafood or heavier white fish, pork, or Asian dishes.
13. Red Blend Doxology
Another award-winning wine from Engelheim Vineyards, the Red Blend Doxology won the title of “Best Georgia Grown Wine” in 2021.
It’s a blend of their Petite Verdot, Syrah, and Zinfandel grapes, which come together to create a multi-layered and complex wine.
The flavors of cherry, black plum, mild spice, and earth come together to make a truly delicious Georgia wine.
Award-Winning Wines from Crane Creek Vineyards
Crane Creek Vineyards
916 Crane Creek Road, Young Harris GA • 706-379-1236
Owner Eric Seifarth cultivated his love for wine while he was stationed in Northern Italy as a young Army officer.
Today, his vineyards offer over 20 acres of vines producing a variety of grapes.
14. Mountain Harvest Red (Chambourcin)
Recognized at the Wines of the South competition, this delicious GA wine is one of the most popular varietals at Crane Creek Vineyards.
It’s part of their “Mountain Harvest” line, which is designed to be light and approachable for beginners.
This Chambourcin dominant blend is a fruit-forward red that can be enjoyed right out of the bottle, or slightly chilled.
Try it with venison or spicy foods.
15. Vidal Blanc
Crane Creek’s Vidal Blanc was also recognized at the Wines of the South competition, and awarded the Silver Medal at the 2021 San Francisco Wine Chronicle Competition.
This white Georgia wine is a hybrid of the Italian grape Trebbiano, and is a great choice for casual sipping. It’s a mellow vino with moderate acidity and finishes off dry.
You will taste notes of grapefruit, honeydew, and green pineapple.
Vidal Blanc pairs best with snacks and appetizers, potato chips, salty cured meats, and fruit salad. –by Christina Maggitas, featured image via Canva