You’re dreaming of a vino-centric getaway, but don’t want to hop the pond to Europe. Actually, you don’t even want to hop across the country to go to California. And the good news is, you don’t have to. Enter: Helen, Georgia. With the soil akin to the soil found in winemaking regions in Italy, Helen has a wide offering of wineries showing off the fruits (or vines) of the land. Helen is your destination to get on cloud wine all 365 days of the year. Here are just a few of our favorite selections at some of the region’s best in sips.
Pouring in Helen and Proud
Serenity is a family-owned boutique winery steeped in Tuscan inspiration with national recognition. Their lemony Luce del Sole and Ghirardelli chocolate-infused Dolce Bello were dessert blends featured in Forbes Magazine!
Remember a hostess that welcomed you in with a warm hug and a special spot on the back porch? If that person was a winery, CeNita would be it. Sip on a variety of friendly reds or whites as you toss a round of cornhole or kick back in a hammock – their Suavis white blend pairs perfectly.
Ready to get lifted in body and buzz? Plenty of wineries offer picturesque mountain views – some with elevation. The Cottage Vineyard and Winery has over 12 wines – between whites, reds, and sweet wines – so everyone in your crew will have something to smile about while sipping. May we suggest the Baby Doll Legs Rosé with hints of pink lemonade and strawberries?
Perfectly perched at the base of its namesake, Yonah Mountain Vineyards is home to eight varietals. Try the “2017 La Fin”, which fuses the gap between an off-dry and dessert wine with finesse.
For a delightfully “twisted” experience overlooking Yonah Mountain, Sylvan Valley Lodge and Cellars prides themselves on putting exciting spins that stand out on classic wines, like their 2018 Twisted Merlot or their 2019 Twisted Stainless Steel Chardonnay.
At 1,000-foot elevation, you will have panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains while at Kaya Vineyards. Sip on the Oola, a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that was the first wine ever made on the property. For those desiring a lighter ABV, the Piquette Rosé is a slightly fizzy treat sure to please. You’ll be asking Siri to play “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers as you bask in the beauty of the great outdoors surrounded by great wine and memories in the making.
As one of the oldest and largest wineries in the state, Habersham Winery and Vineyards knows a thing or two about making magic from grapes. Their best-selling Scarlett blends Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, and Seyval Blanc. It’s the perfect complement to pretty much anything – come see for yourself!
Have Fun AND Be Responsible
You have all your winery stops picked out…but wait. How can everyone in your party let loose without having to worry about who will be the designated driver back to the hotel? VIP Southern Tours will drive you to your stops of choice and back, so that everyone can have unrestricted fun while also being entirely responsible.
“Wine” Down at Valhalla Resort
When you are ready to “wine” down, indulge in accommodations that pay attention to all the right details at Valhalla Resort. A stay at Valhalla Resort means you will retire for the evening in a peaceful retreat, not just a hotel room. No matter if you’re on a romantic getaway or a weekend with the girls, a diverse offering of rooms – from suites to bungalows and a private villa – will make a great day continue on into the evening. If you need a little nibble, The Staghorn Grill offers craveable casual bites (who can say no to their cheeseburger?). Caledonia offers modern takes on traditional Southern cuisine if you find yourself in the mood for a notch above casual. Don’t forget about the on-site spa or golf course for more R&R.
It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere
While any time of the year is prime time to visit, the Georgia Wine Highway is the perfectly unstructured yet structured month-long event occurring every March that is wildly popular. For just $75, you can buy a passport that entitles you to either 4 tastings or 1 glass at participating wineries. The passport is your roadmap for the Highway, but it also serves to tabulate which wineries and wines you’ve tried – handy for marking favorites or plotting visits for your next time in town.
Helen’s wineries are magical year-round, but the most serious sippers should start to make plans now for the Georgia Wine Highway in March 2024. If you can’t wait that long (totally understandable!), venture over whenever the mountain-kissed vines start calling, #OpenGeorgiaWine, and get ready to let the good times roll.