This is Wine Trail Weekend in Dahlonega: just one more way to increase the wine industry’s impact in Georgia. And those efforts appear to be growing strong.
Doug Paul says the grape harvest is just beginning in North Georgia. “We’ve got the right type of elevation. We’ve got beautiful long growing days,” says Paul. “And we’re actually producing Cabernets and Chardonnays and also French-American hybrids like Vidal Blanc.”
Paul co-owns Three Sisters Vineyards, one of five Dahlonega wineries highlighting its wares this weekend to attract oenophiles and those who are just curious.
At the end of the harvest, Paul will bring in his Cynthiana grapes which vintners are now in the process of re-establishing in Georgia. Paul calls the Cynthiana, also known as the Norton grape “the noblest of American wine grapes, producing a really beautiful wine with black cherry flavors.”
Before Prohibition, Georgia had an active wine industry, according to Cheryl Smith of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. But that bit of history is new information for most of today’s visitors. “They discover one winery, and they go, ‘Oh wow: this is really good.’ And then they go to another winery in north Georgia, and they go, ‘Oh, we like this too,’” says Smith. “It’s all about the discovery, because we’re not associated with being a great wine producing state.”
Smith says that is changing. The University of Georgia is working on a study right now to measure the industry’s economic impact.
And Smith says she has to keep updating her own list of Georgia wineries. Right, it stands at 38, and she says more wineries are in the process of starting up in both north and South Georgia.