Georgia Wine Overview

Georgia is one of many states whose wine industry is beginning to attract national attention. Much like neighboring North Carolina, the amount of wineries in Georgia has blossomed over the last ten years, along with wine production. Numerous wines introduced by Georgia’s 30+ wineries are taking home awards at prestigious wine competitions, and Georgia wines are more widely distributed than ever before.

Although wineries are scattered throughout the state, the majority are located in northern Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta. This area has come to be known as Georgia Wine Country. Vineyards flourish here in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, which reach their southern end in north Georgia.

Elevations in north Georgia range from 1,500 to 2,000 feet, with predominantly westward facing slopes and rich clay soil. It’s an ideal climate for grape-growing, with hot southern temperatures somewhat moderated by the elevation. Among the many grapes grown successfully here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Norton and Chambourcin. And, of course, there’s the southern specialty grape, the Muscadine. All of these grapes are crafted into fine Georgia wines that continue to raise the Georgia wine profile.

Among the many grapes grown successfully here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Norton and Chambourcin. And, of course, the Muscadine.

Georgia Wine Trail

At the northern terminus of Route 400 heading north out of Atlanta, you’ll find the historic Georgia town of Dahlonega. This is the heart of Georgia Wine Country and home to the Dahlonega Wine Trail.

According to, there are five wineries officially on the trail, immediately in and around Dahlonega. There are a lot more wineries to explore just a short distance away, though. Other towns in the area include Ellijay and Helen, both of which are considered part of Georgia Wine Country. So if you’re limiting your visit to Dahlonega, you can traverse a six-winery wine trail, but if you expand your travels 30 minutes east or west, there are a handful more to experience.

Dahlonega’s early claim to fame was in the 1820s, when gold was discovered in nearby hills. It set off the first gold rush in America, some 20 years before the California gold rush of the 1840s.

The five wineries closest to Dahlonega are Cavendar Creek Vineyards and Winery, Frogtown Cellars, Three Sisters Vineyards, Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery and Monteluce Winery and Estates. We visited each of these on a weekend trip to Dahlonega, as you’ll read in our Georgia Wine Country travelogue below. Other wineries you’ll want to visit include Habersham Winery in nearby Helen, and Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay, about 20 minutes west of Dahlonega.

While this is Georgia’s only official wine trail, plans are in the works to establish others.

Travelogue: Visiting Dahlonega and Georgia Wine Country

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  1. The Norton Wine Travelers says:

    Referring to your comment about Norton wine in your Georgia Three Sisters Vineyards visit: One correction, ~ Thomas Jefferson never experienced the Norton grape, but it is well possible that his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph did since there are records showing grape vines from Prince Nursery on Long Island possibly being sent to Monticello. Thomas Jefferson died in 1826 and the Norton vine was not discovered by Dr. Daniel Norborne Norton until 1823 or a couple years later. All of this is well chronicled in Todd Kliman’s book, The Wild Vine, noting the development of the Norton grape.

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