Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Annual Georgia Wine Highway Day 2; Friday March 22, 2014 WOOOOO

Day two of the Georgia Wine Highway 2014 started pretty early. We had to get from Dahlonega, Georgia to our next destination outside Blue Ridge, Georgia so we were up at 7:00 to be sure we were able to hit all of the wineries we wanted to hit. We expected it to be our busiest day as it was also the most driving intensive of the weekend. We had five wineries to visit between 11:00 am and 5:30pm and some of them were pretty far apart.
We left the Super 8 in Dahlonega super hungry and super excited. The hotel had a coupon for a local cafe that was open for breakfast and we couldn’t wait to try some nice home cooking. Alas, the Country Cafe looked like it had turned into a tex-mex chicken place. Since we were pressed for time, we decided we would just find a place to stop along the way. We headed out Hwy 19 to Hwy 60 to cut through the mountains. There weren’t any places that looked like they served food along the way so we decided to head toward the town of Blue Ridge and see if we could find a Huddle House or something similar. We drove by the turn to our first winery because we knew we needed to have breakfast before we got started with a wine filled day. After a bit more driving, we found a Super Waffle King just outside of the town of Blue Ridge, Georgia. Fortified with good diner food, we headed back to our first winery of the day, Serenberry Vineyards in Morganton, Georgia.

Serenberry is a new Vineyard on the tour and it’s tasting room is a refurbished barn from the 1920s. We met the owners outside the tasting room and they were extremely nice folks. We got a brief history lesson about the vineyard while we were waiting for them to officially open, and then we went in to taste. Because they are fairly new they source their grapes from other vineyards, but the wine they make is pretty tasty stuff. I am looking forward to seeing what they can do when their own vines start producing.
After Serenberry, we headed north to Crane Creek Vineyards. The previous two years our visit to Crane Creek, we had gone on a Friday and came away disappointed. Crane Creek’s tasting room is a lovely venue with an outstanding view of their vineyard, but the past couple of years the delicious wines were overshadowed by bad pourers. R__ insisted that they were worth another try and changed our visit from Friday to Saturday and she was right. The feelings of poor customer service were all redeemed with our Saturday visit. We walked in and were greeted by a pourer on the deck. We sampled the delicious wines that Crane Creek puts out then went to try the soup and sandwiches were set up for folks on the Wine Highway. R__ asked the pourer if there was any vegan fare. There wasn’t any out, but the pourer comp’ed R__ a cheese plate. Crane Creek has some outstanding local cheeses and that bit of customer service put our visit to Crane Creek over the top.
From Crane Creek, we made our way to Hightower Vineyards. Hightower was new to us last year and we were excited to see how well they performed in their first official time on the Wine Highway. The tasting is one of the most effortless that we have had. We were in and out in no time, even with the crowd in the tasting room. The wines were fantastic with a nice range from dry to off-dry to sweet. B__ and R__ were discussing which bottles they were going to purchase so Charles and I stepped outside to give other folks room at the bar. After B__ and R__ were done we loaded up and headed to our next destination.

B__ is a huge fan of Tiger wines so he was really excited about visiting them this year. He likes them so much that he became a member of their Tigerwine Tasters wine club. Tiger is really really good at making big bold dry reds. Unfortunately, Charles and I are not as big on the reds as B__. After our wine highway tasting, Charles and I walked up the short lane to the Red Barn, Tiger’s event venue. The view from the barn is fantastic. The fields and vineyard with a view of Tiger Mountain in the background make the barn one of my favorite places in Georgia Wine country. It’s a great place to hang out while B__ takes his tasting and purchases his first case of the year. When B__ was finished he came got us and let us know that we had a couple of ladies following us to the next venue on the tour. Since I can’t remember their names, I’ll call them Blanche and Dorothy.

We all loaded into the Jeep and R__ called our next stop on the highway. Stonewall Creek isn’t officially open yet, but a quick phone call to them made sure someone would be there to give us a tasting. Blanche and Dorothy following us, we made our way to Stonewall with only one cargument when we missed the turn to the winery. We were met at the winery by the rescue dog the owners were fostering, and the owners guided us into the winery for our tour. The Facklers have a truly beautiful vineyard and their wines reflect that natural beauty. Dr. Fackler offered B__ at tasting of one of their reds that was still in the vat. By his reaction we have some really good wine to look forward to next year. Dorothy and Blanche chatted with Mrs. Fackler and enjoyed the rose’ that they offered us for tasting. After Dorothy and Blanche helped themselves to some tasting glasses, we geared up and headed to our final stop of the day.
Our final stop was 12 Spies, another new winery on the tour. We had visited them last year before they were on the tour and found out that they were big University of Alabama fans. Charles and I are Auburn fans so we made sure to wear our Auburn gear to the tasting. We didn’t get to spend as much time chatting with the owners this year as we had last year. Last year, we were the only ones in the tasting room, and B__ and R__ got an informative tour of their wine making. This year we barely had room to move in the tasting room. Dorothy and Blanche loved the atmosphere as they made their way to the bar. After our tasting, Charles and I went out back to the porch to enjoy the view and wait on B__ and R__.  

B__ and R__ finished up their tasting and we all met outside the winery, Dorothy and Blanche made it out and we said our goodbyes. The we loaded back into the Jeep to head into Clayton, Ga to find some supper and a place to crash. We all had a fantastic meal at Mama G’s Italian Restaurant and grabbed a room at the Clayton Days Inn.
And the evening and the morning were the second day on the Georgia Wine Highway 2014 WOOOOOO!