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.
Peaches aren't the only great fruit to come out of Georgia. That fact becomes evident on visits to Paradise Hills Winery and Hightower Creek Vineyards along the Georgia Wine Highway. Backdropped by the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, the wineries invite guests to taste the complex vintages that result from the region's well-drained mineral soils and combination of warm, dry summer days and cool mountain nights.
At Paradise Hills, patrons meander past rows of grapes and abominable snowmen on vacation back toward an all-wood mountain lodge set far back in the trees. Part of a larger resort, the winery tasting room shares space in the lodge with guest rooms and a full-service European spa. A short stroll brings you to the cabin rentals from rustic to luxury. In good weather, the outdoor deck is the perfect setting for sipping a cabernet sauvignon with hints of fruit or nibbling a picnic lunch.
At Hightower Creek Vineyards, live music often complements visitors' sips of wine. A full calendar of events brings everyone from bluegrass musicians to barbecue chefs to the hilly estate. On other days, guests can enjoy a picnic lunch amidst views of mists slowly rolling over the tops of the mountains. Paradise Hills Winery and High Tower Creek Vineyards
Boutier Wine & Design owners James and Laura Cawthern oversee a collection of award-winning, locally produced red, white, and fruit wines. Inside their facility, the couple casts casual vibes across a variety of special events, including Ladies Night on the first Thursday of every month and Wine Down Fridays, when visitors can celebrate the weekend by sipping wine instead of by fervidly burning their work clothes. In addition to their potables, the Cawtherns help lift spirits with personalized gift baskets and custom labels that outfit bottles with personal photos.
The first person at Chattahoochee Gold Swim to exemplify the attributes of determination and tenacity so highly valued by coach Pat Murphy, the club's founder, was not a swimmer, nor did the character-defining event occur near the water. The person in question was a hard-working landscaper, who—though he had only one arm—approached his work with an unbridled passion that coach Murphy couldn’t help but admire. Keeping the landscaper ever in his mind, Pat—with the help of his team of coaches and instructors—strives to impart a similar sense of commitment, integrity, and inspiration in swimmers of all ages via a host of lessons, programs, and swim meets.
Throughout the year, the crew of coaches can be found in the pool and on the deck helming fun and educational lessons for students of all levels. The introductory parent-tot program teaches first-time swimmers the basics of water safety, and the swim league grants kids the opportunity to meet for weekly practices in a noncompetitive environment, free of the middive thumb wars often associated with competitive programs. Along with lessons and classes, Chattahoochee Gold Swim offers fitness programs, such as water aerobics, to help participants streamline their physiques.
Giving gifts is its own reward, but at The Gifted Ferret, get-well cards, trinkets and candles accompany a robust collection of boutique wines so gift-givers can reward themselves as well. The shop's wine racks brim with vino crafted by vintners who treat winemaking not just as a business but also as a passion as well as the best way to teach grapes a lesson. During onsite wine classes, industry experts regale attendees with information while pouring samples from among the shop's dozens of varietals. For those seeking an intoxicant-free fix, the staff brews Newman's Own coffee and Green Mountain Naturals apple cider. In the gift area, patrons peruse handmade cards and Arthur Court pewter home-decor items alongside gift bags and an expanded array of gourmet food items.
Longtime residents Steve Rabb and Shannon Fannin often thought about ways to improve downtown Woodstock. They wanted to see the area become more sophisticated, so one night over dinner they casually discussed a concept of gourmet food and cocktails prepared with simple, raw flavors. The couple had no idea that, within a matter of months, this concept would grow into a chic, downtown eatery: Wink Woodstock. A menu of small plates—favorites include steak empanadas, shrimp and grits, and charcuterie and cheese samplers—complements Wink’s diverse selection of red and white wines. Behind a steel-topped bar, bartenders mix signature cocktails, known as Winktinis, from infused vodkas and specialty garnishes such as raw lemon sugar, graham crackers, and olive-scented fireworks. According to Patch, Fannin drew on her background in interior design to produce a layout representative of both sexy LA nightclubs and downtown Atlanta bars. Steely grays, vivid purples, and electric teals flow throughout the open bar space and into themed areas such as a pillow room and VIP booth.