Visit This Underrated Southern Town For A Picture-Perfect Wine Vacation

When you say you're longing to enjoy a wine-focused getaway, there's a good chance you'll be asked if you're heading to the rolling green hills of Napa Valley, California. While this beloved wine mecca is as scenic as it is delicious, once in a while, it's worth looking at other destinations on the map that have just as much in the way of charm and flavor to offer. When you're hoping to make it a picture-perfect wine vacation that takes you south instead of west, you're going to want to set your sights on Dahlonega, Georgia.

While the destination may be quaint, it's home to some made-to-impress wineries. Situated just an hour from Atlanta, Dahlonega hosts 12 tasting rooms and eight wineries for flavor enthusiasts to check out.

Making a wine vacation to Dahlonega even more appealing is the fact that your visit will be like walking onto a movie set ... literally. In addition to being surrounded by the beautiful North Georgia mountains, Dahlonega is a destination where many Hallmark movies have been filmed through the years. This is thanks to Dahlonega's picturesque small-town architecture and a downtown that's dripping in charming holiday decorations when Christmas rolls around. If you're hoping to pair your wine-tasting getaway with a winter horse and carriage ride, take note that Dahlonega does that in picture-perfect style too.

A legacy of flavor and fantastic tasting rooms

While Georgia might be known as a state where moonshine production thrived, that skillset would also lend itself well to a winery boom later. Today, Dahlonega finds itself in an area of the Appalachian foothills with rich soil content that's great for grape growing. The area is often compared to Italy's Piedmont and in 2018, the Dahlonega Plateau was officially designated an American Viticultural Area.

Dahlonega puts visitors right in the heart of Georgia's wine country. Whether you have a passion for white, red, blended, or sparkling varietals, there are tasting rooms to enjoy it all. Making a visit even more convenient is the fact that seven of the 12 tasting rooms in Dahlonega are located right downtown.

If you don't have time to check out every single tasting room in town, be sure to add a stop at the Dahlonega Tasting Room on North Park Street to the top of your list. This tasting room sits on the public square and offers guests access to the full line of wines from Habersham Winery, one of Georgia's oldest wineries. Wine-tasting sessions are offered daily between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. with options to browse their wine racks, customized gifts, and home decorations after your savory moment.

Explore wineries on your own or with a tour group

Tasting room visits are always fun, but sometimes it's refreshing to get out and see where the grapes are grown. A great place to do exactly that is Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery. Top-rated wine grapes here include the bold Cynthiana-Norton, the fruitier Cabernet Franc, and the slightly spicy Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend. Walk-in tasting sessions are available during regular hours of operation Thursdays-Sundays. There are also VIP tastings offered on-site on Saturdays by reservation only. These sessions include a tour of the vineyard and an in-depth look at the winemaking process. 

If you're looking to make it a more comprehensive wine vacation that includes the top vineyards in the area, booking a tour is usually the best way to go. The team at DSH Wine Tours is a great option when you're looking for help putting together a customized itinerary. Personalized tours typically take you and your crew to at least four of the area's highly rated wineries for tastings, grounds tours, and time to browse.

In addition to tours and individual winery visits, Dahlonega hosts an annual Wine Trail Weekend each August. If you plan your visit around this event it can certainly boost the fun of your wine vacation even further. Participating area wineries offer leisurely wine samplings during this time, and it's common to find live music and specialized snack trays infused into each gathering as well.