Since I moved to Atlanta, visiting the North Georgia vineyards has been on my day-trip bucket list.
Just north of the town of Dahlonega, there are 5-6 vineyards, all within a manageable 20 mile radius. From the heart of Atlanta, reaching the vineyards takes about an hour and 15 minutes; from the northern parts of the city, you can make it to Dahlonega in just under an hour.
The vineyards are a great day trip from Atlanta, and an affordable way to sip on some award-winning wines just a short drive from the city.
My Favorite Dahlonega Vineyards
Montaluce Winery & Restaurant
Montaluce, about 8 miles northwest of downtown Dahlonega, is the most upscale of the vineyards in the area. Styled after an authentic Tuscan villa, Montaluce sits atop a small hill overlooking the rows of grapes, a small irrigation lake, and the mountains beyond.
The wine offerings at Montaluce are extremely affordable for the quality – for a flight of 5 wines (red, white, or mixed), you can expect to pay just $16. Glasses are also available, as well as craft cocktails and beer.
My favorite red was Montaluce’s Malbec – we even picked up a few bottles to take home for Thanksgiving! Note that bottles are a bit pricey (ranging from $32-50), but all of the wines are bottled in-house by hand, and can rarely be found outside of the vineyard.
Each Saturday and Sunday at 12 pm, Montaluce offers a free tour of the vineyard with no reservation required (which is surprisingly unique for the area). The 30-minute tour provides detailed insight into the winemaking process at Montaluce; visit between August and October to see more of the action, when the grapes have just been picked and are going through initial production.
If you’re feeling hungry after your tour, sit down for an incredible meal at Montaluce’s superb restaurant. With many of the restaurant’s fruits and vegetables grown on site, the food is fresh and seasonally inspired. Our group had a delicious cheese plate (pictured below), and I enjoyed a so-good-you-should-write-home-about-it sweet potato risotto with lobster mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and candied hazelnuts.
Ask to sit on the enclosed terrace, where you can stay warm while taking in the vineyard’s vistas below. While reservations are recommended for the restaurant, you can often grab a table if you arrive before the weekend tours at noon.
If you’re looking for a more personal experience, Montaluce offers a variety of specialized tours, from their 1.8 mile Wine Hike ($45/pp) to their reservation-only Deluxe Tour ($65/pp).
Before you leave Montaluce, don’t forget to walk around the grounds. The entire property is open to tour, so you can get up-close-and-personal with the grapes themselves! While the vineyard feels upscale, dress is casual, and all ages are welcome.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards
Situated about 10 miles from Montaluce, Wolf Mountain has a completely different atmosphere than it’s predecessor on our tour.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards attracts a demographic of college-aged visitors and groups of young couples, giving it the feel of a hip bar in a mountain setting.
The tasting room at Wolf Mountain is small and intimate, leading out onto a pretty patio with fall foliage, mountain views, and lots of table seating.
Wolf Mountain’s Vineyard Cafe is a casual lunchtime restaurant, also serving brunch on Sundays at 12:30 and 2:30 pm. Reservations are required for lunch, so make sure to plan ahead if you want to eat. A small bar menu is available for purchase in the tasting room if you forget!
Tours are available at Wolf Mountain for groups; parties less than 8 do not require a reservation. For only $20 per person, groups can sample 6 wines, occupy a private tasting area, and have a designated wine steward.
Other North Georgia Vineyards
While I only had time to visit 2 vineyards on my trip, there are a few others in the area worth noting:
- Three Sisters – Touted as Dahlonga’s first family farm winery, the vineyard often has live folk, bluegrass, and jazz on their Crush Pad Deck
- Frogtown Cellars – Just a half mile from Three Sisters, Frogtown offers one of the largest wine varieties in the area, growing 27 types of grapes!
- Cavender Creek – The closest of the vineyards to Dahlonega, Cavender is rustic, homegrown, and arguably the most moderately priced in the region
*Note – some of the roads to reach the vineyards can be relatively steep and winding. If you do choose to visit, please make sure you have a designated driver! Consider going with a group, like Georgia Wine Tours, which arranges transportation so that you can drink without driving.