Think the best wines in the United States are reserved for California? If so, you haven't visited some of the awesome wineries built over the last five years in North Georgia. Wines from Georgia? Yes, and they're spectacular. Here are some of the fantastic wineries in both Cleveland and Dahlonega, all within striking distance from Atlanta.
- Montaluce - The cuisine at this Tuscan-style winery is just as incredible as the luscious wine. Montaluce has beautiful villas on site where you can stay overnight. The winery is open daily and tours are free, but it's best to book the $45 tour and five-wine tasting.
- Kaya - A small winery with big personality is Kaya, also in Dahlonega. Kaya’s Tasting Room is 1,600 feet up and offers one of the most panoramic mountain views in North Georgia. The Oola red wine is a must. Any red wine fan will fall in love with it. On weekends, Kaya features a solo guitarist to serenade you while you enjoy the patio. Tastings start at $11, and the winery is open Wednesdays through Sundays.
- Yonah Mountain - Yonah is the beautiful mountain that can be seen from the many wineries in Cleveland, close to Helen. If you want to see a stunning winery that has spared no expense, Yonah Mountain is it. There are beautiful wine caves where the winery hosts special dinners. Try the buttery Chardonnay before moving on to Genesis. Tastings start at $10, and the winery is open every day.
These are just a handful of wineries. Since it is only a short drive (less than two hours) to these wineries from Atlanta, you could certainly make a day trip of it. You could even take a bus for the wine tour. What are you waiting for?
And if you're looking for a more family-friendly day trip, try picking apples at nearby North Georgia orchards.
Malika Bowling is the author of Food Lovers' Guide to Atlanta, Food Blogging 101 and founder of Atlanta Restaurant Blog. She has been a contributing writer to USA Today and has been featured on HGTV, Huffington Post and About.com. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. She is the president of the Association of Food Bloggers and her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram.