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.
Appalachian Wilderness Guides leads avid adventurers on Mother Nature explorations and mountainous hikes. Teaming with northern Georgia wineries, the wine-tasting trek whisks vino-lovers through Georgia vineyards, helmed by a tour guide and including a palate-pleasing tasting with accompanying snacks. For the wide-eyed wilderness warrior, the family camping trip provides one night of mind-melding with the outdoors in a provided tent with sleeping bags. Start with a brisk day hike, and then finish with a campfire to nibble on hot dogs, hamburgers, and marshmallows. Along the way, Appalachian Wilderness Guides participate as little or as much as you like, meaning its leaders can leave after setting up the tent or stay to tell campfire stories about the Supreme Court justices who are lurking in the woods. All guides of the uneven grounds are certified in wilderness first-aid, CPR, and Leave No Trace Outdoors Ethics, ensuring the safe removal of unnecessary waste.
WineStyles helps imbibers take their technique from semi-inspired slosh to sophisticated swirl by traversing taste buds across a variety of distinct wine blends. The shop hosts a range of rare reds and whites at each tasting, and specializes in hard-to-find wines from vineyards large and small, ensuring tasters get to shake tongues with a few blends for the very first time. During the tasting, Groupon holders and palate pals will spend the evening imbibing vibrant varietals, allowing mouths to mingle with an array of intriguing flavor profiles. If something strikes your fancy throughout the tasting, simply spill a few drops on your shirt and the expert staff will happily sniff out a corresponding bottle for purchase. Like wallet chains and second helpings of pie, reservations are recommended, though not necessary.
Dan Vallish has been homebrewing beer as a hobby for more than 20 years. During that time, he often envisioned the perfect place to shop for his supplies. It would have all the specialty grains one could want, an onsite milling facility, and fresh yeast and hops. Ultimately, he made that vision a reality, founding Barley & Vine to be a one-stop shop for beer lovers and beer brewers, complete with a 27-tap growler bar with 26 craft beers and a cider on tap at all times.
Of course, Dan offers more than just disparate beer-brewing supplies. He teaches classes on the subject, or provides cloning kits for beginners, which contain all the ingredients to mimic Irish stouts or American pale ales. He also provides winemaking kits, which produce 6 gallons of fermented libations at a time. He even offers instructions and supplies to make cheese, so that his customers can pair their homemade beverages with the perfect snack.
At the summit of Mount Yonah, hikers bask in the dying sunlight and soak up views of verdant foothills that span the horizon. Before the sun dips below the peaks, they meander back down the craggy trail toward Habersham Vineyard, where they can toast to a wholesome day of hiking. This scenic hike is one of dozens of possible routes led by Skywater Georgia Wine Hiking’s knowledgeable guides. They draw upon their knowledge of the region to showcase the best trails and wineries during daylong tours. Based on each group’s fitness level, interest, and ability to tolerate photo-bombing sasquatches, guides can plan easy-going three-hour hikes around Victoria Bryant State Park, or embark instead on a 10-hour journey up the steep foothills of Standing Indian. Regardless of the tour route, guides take time to point out local flora and fauna, and energize groups’ with a light lunch.
San Francisco Coffee Company beans are roasted fresh every morning and brewed throughout the day at 45 South Cafe, enhancing the aromas of the lattes and mochas complementing a menu filled with light breakfasts and lunches. Sun-dried-tomato wraps envelop breakfast burritos, and handmade maple-ginger granola dapples bowls of organic yogurt and fresh fruit. As the sun reaches its zenith, panini presses melt swiss and cheddar cheeses in monte cristo sandwiches, preempting desserts and other treats served all day.
The café invites the local community to relax and socialize amid its art-laden exposed-brick walls, whether for book-club meetings, children's story time on Wednesday mornings, or monthly wine tastings, prompting Norcross Patch to dub it the Best Coffee Shop in 2012. Within those inspiring confines, local musicians let loose on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, inspiring sing-alongs and dreams of one day being a roadie. The shop further supports the local community by donating a portion of its profits to the Summerour Middle School Foundation.