Once you’ve bellied up to the cozy tasting room’s bar like an urbane, sophisticated cowboy, you’ll be treated to a few flavorful wafts and quaffs of Montaluce's finest 2008 and 2009 red and white wines, fermented from the carefully maintained fruits of its 35-acre vineyard. The 2008 chardonnay massages the nose with aromas of green apples, pear, and lemon zest mixed with smoke, walnut, and honeysuckle. And the 2008 risata (Italian for laughter) will put your palate into hysterics with notes of cherries, raspberries, cranberry, savory herbs, and just the faintest hint of Joker venom. Otherwise, go snorkeling for the dark chocolate notes buried in the oaky, deep violet, kraken-filled deeps of the cabernet sauvignon. Much like wine itself, your experience at Montaluce will be different depending on the exact point in time you partake of it. Gracious guests who arrive for their wine flight Tuesday through Saturday will be treated to a complimentary guided winery tour at 2 p.m. Likewise, Sunday sippers can tune their taste buds to live musical performances on the veranda from noon to 5 p.m.
After marrying into an Italian family, Let's Make Wine owner Cheryl Lisi discovered winemaking and, at the behest of friends, opened her own shop where everyone could participate in the art. Her stock includes a menu of winemaking kits for varietals from around the globe, such as riesling, Chilean malbec, and Lisi's favorite, Italian sangiovese, stomped with Gucci loafers. In addition to wine-crafting opportunities, Lisi hosts wineglass-painting classes and will soon add beer-brewing supplies to the store's inventory.
On any given day, visitors to the tasting room at Blue Ridge Cellars can explore the world through their taste buds. Here, oenophiles pour glasses and curated flights of wines crafted locally on the North Georgia Wine Trail or internationally in Europe, South America, or South Africa. Meanwhile, a simple menu of artisanal small plates helps guests discover their own perfect pairings for the wine.
And yet the selection doesn't end there: an adjacent boutique houses shelves of local reds and whites, including organic and sulfite-free vintages, as well as a deli counter stocked with Boar's Head cheeses and Columbus cured meats. Because they know that tasting wine should be a true experience, Blue Ridge Cellars also hosts live music and organizes its own tours of the North Georgia Wine Trail. These tours may include visits to several wineries, stops for taking pictures and eating a picnic lunch, and the chance to spend the night in an old wine barrel. Blue Ridge also offers locally crafted beer with Growlers available to be filled and purchased.
Since its founding in 1983 in the foothills of Lookout Mountain, Georgia Winery has produced more than 20 fruit-forward small-batch wines. All of them begin life on the winery's 15 acres of vineyards as five varieties of muscadine vines bedded in organic fertilizer. At harvest time, these organic grapes are transferred to a facility where a blend of old-fashioned and new techniques slowly conjures each wine into being. Here, the juices are fermented for up to nine months at low temperatures?a process that preserves the fruit flavors?and then bottled by hand. Guests can get an up-close look at this unique process during winery tours or sample the end product at guided tastings by the sleek, modern bar. Meanwhile, a gift shop stocks each style of wine alongside gourmet foods and chocolates.
Cuisine Type: Muscadines
Most popular offering: Muscadine wine, juice, jelly
Delivery / Take-out Available: No
Alcohol: Wine Only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Pro Tip: Come try our wines and stay for the view.
The lush greenery seems to extend in every direction at Tsali Notch Vineyard, the horizon broken only by views of the mountains within the Cherokee National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, most of the 6,435 vines are home to five varieties of ripening muscadine grapes. Stretching more than 21 miles, these plants yield a harvest that is transformed into handcrafted wines, jams, jellies, and salsas. On weekends, the tasting room is open to visitors, who are welcome to sample the fermented and cultivated fruits of the farmers' labors.
The chefs at Terra Nostra Tapas and Wine mix European, American, Asian, and Caribbean cuisines on a small-plates menu that changes daily, ensuring consistently fresh tastes. Within the bustling kitchen, they can be found architecting shareable servings of tender meats, fresh vegetables, and market fresh seafood. Servers keep diners hydrated as they pour out 80 wines by the glass and 90 wines by the bottle, offering palate-tickling quaffs that both sate grape thirsts and wash away tablemates' memories of conversational gaffes.
Terra Nostra's space comes to life with international art and nautical murals depicting schools of fish. Outdoor seating is available in a festive patio area, and indoor diners are arranged at spacious dining bars designed to foster sharing of food, conversation, and bootlegged films. Along with bringing the local community together over shared meals, Terra Nostra's staffers remain committed to serving the global community via work with charitable organizations. In 2010 and 2011, they took part in medical-relief mission trips to Ecuador.