Chateau Elan Winery & Resort. Photo by Erica Key, EatingWithErica.com
Plan the Ultimate Friends Getaway to North Georgia Wineries
Tips for where to eat and drink, what to do, and where to stay on your next getaway with friends.
We can think of nowhere better to spend a few days with friends than at Georgia's wineries and vineyards. With many grouped around the North Georgia mountains, including Dahlonega and Helen, you can sample a wide variety of Georgia wines without traveling very far.
Georgia wineries have more than just wine tasting on offer. The region has attractions like spas and outdoor adventures to keep you entertained in between winery visits.
There are so many wineries in Georgia that it’s nearly impossible to see them all in one trip, so plan based on where you’re staying. Set a designated driver in advance, or book a trip with a wine tour company.
Chateau Elan Winery & Resort - The closest winery to Atlanta, Chateau Elan offers tours of its production area and tastings of their traditional and muscadine wines.
Yonah Mountain Vineyards & Winery - Sit in the shadow of the namesake mountain, which is used as the winery’s logo. Sample the chardonnay, merlot, malbec, pinot noir and sauvignon blancs in the sun-soaked tasting room. The wine cave tour is what makes Yonah Mountain completely unique, the only known one in the state.
The Cottage Vineyard & Winery - Surrounded by fields, you’ll quickly see why The Cottage has been named one of the country’s best. Sample syrah, viognier and rose styles.
Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery - Opened in 2015, this winery is made up of rustic buildings and is home to donkeys and dogs. The tasting room pours their award-winning reds.
Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery - The first family farm winery in the state has 184 acres as well as a tasting room with a cherry wood bar serving from their selection of reds, whites and muscadine varieties. Indulge in chocolate pairings, and if weather allows, soak up some sun on the patio.
Montaluce Winery - Inspired by wineries in Tuscany, Montaluce offers free tours and tastings of their reds, whites, sweets and sparkling styles along with mead.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery - The tasting room overlooks the mountains and is the perfect place to sample the dry whites, dry roses, reds, semi-sweet wines, port and sparkling wines.
Hightower Creek Vineyards - Inspired by their surroundings, the reds, whites and roses have names like Dueling Banjos, Deliverance and Chatuga Red.
Fainting Goat Vineyards and Winery - Named for the goats that live on the property, the Pickens County winery offers red, white, rose and sweet varieties named for different elements of American history.
Currahee Vineyard & Winery - Named for the nearby mountain, the award-winning lineup of wines are crafted using Vinifera, Muscadine and other native grapes. They’re open for tastings Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and offer live music on Sundays.
12 Spies Vineyards & Farm - The small family-run vineyard still bottles their selections by hand. Visit their tasting room for samples and live music.
Crane Creek Vineyards - The stunning grounds are what makes this cozy winery so unique. Their lineup of wines includes Apfelwein apple wine, Seyval Blanc, Villard Noir rose, Hellbender Red and Sweet Sally, named for the vineyard’s loyal furry companion.
Where to Eat and Drink
Let’s be honest: you’re here for the wine. And there’s plenty of it, but the food is just as good!
Wineries with Restaurants
Montaluce Winery & Restaurant - Open seven days a week in Dahlonega, Montaluce's restaurant is what you might expect from a top-rated city restaurant but surrounded by vines. The menu features steaks and seafood.
Marc Bar and Restaurant at Chateau Elan - This Southern-inspired bar and chophouse is situated within the resort's 16th century-styled chateau and winery. Marc features a curated list of wine, champagne, beer and an exclusive assortment of inventive cocktails featuring fresh sips such as the Bulldog Smash, Marc-hattan, Mexican Martini and more. The cuisine at Marc features hand-selected steaks and Southern-inspired dishes, as well as desserts, perfect for sharing or savoring alone.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery - There’s so much to love about this award-winning winery tucked on a hillside in Dahlonega with one of the best restaurants around, especially for Sunday brunch, which has live music.
Restaurants near Wineries
The Picnic Cafe and Dessertery - Grab breakfast or lunch, coffee or dessert at this favorite student hangout on the Dahlonega square. Biscuits and egg sandwiches are the best way to start the day, or you can enjoy soups and salads before heading out to the nearby wineries.
The Smith House - Set in an 1800s home in Dahlonega, the family-style eatery is where you go to line your stomach before a day of tastings. Go with friends to share fried chicken, collard greens and corn muffins for lunch or dinner.
The Dillard House - Another family-style restaurant, The Dillard House in Rabun Gap dates back to 1917, and serves a daily-changing menu of country fried steak and fried green tomatoes.
Grapes & Beans - It started as a wine shop and coffee shop, but is now a restaurant in Clayton that focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. They have vegetarian entrees, as well as soups and salads.
Bernie's Restaurant - A classically trained mother-daughter duo runs this cozy restaurant in Sautee Nacoochee that has top-notch dishes like steak au poivre and roasted duck for lunch and dinner. They also serve wine from nearby vineyards.
Hofer's of Helen - If you only make it to one restaurant in Helen, let it be this one. It’s busy all day, starting with the pastries served at breakfast and continuing into pastrami sandwiches for lunch.
Things to Do
In addition to wineries, there is plenty to explore with friends. Visit some of the popular attractions mentioned below, go hiking, ziplining, tubing and apple picking. And don’t forget about shopping in downtown Dahlonega and the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville!