Wine Tasting Through Rabun County

Wine Tasting Through Rabun County
Are you a wine connoisseur? Are you just a lover of a good glass of wine?  Are you a newbie to the whole wine thing and want to learn more?  Well, if you are any of the three in Rabun County is the place to be.  You can make a day or a weekend visiting all the great wineries once you get to our piece of the Northeast Georgia Mountains.
You can start your wine trek at the oldest of the three wineries here in Rabun County, Tiger Mountain Vineyards.  Tiger Mountain Vineyards planted their first grapes on the five-generation family owned farm in 1995.  John Ezzard and his wife Martha, owners, with the assistance of a successful Virginia vineyard carefully selected the varieties of grapes suited to the climate of the southern Blue Ridge, creating a vinifera vineyard.  From there the rest is history.  Tiger Mountain Vineyards is well known for its award winning wines.  They are located in tiger, GA at 2592 Old Highway 441.  The tasting room is open daily with seasonal hours.  You can check their website at www.tigerwine.com for details and events.
When you leave TMV, turn right onto Old 441 South and proceed for .2 miles.  Take a slight right onto Syrup City Road (named for the old moonshine route) and proceed for .5 miles.  Make a slight right onto Bridge Creek Road and proceed for 3.5 miles.  Turn left onto Apple Orchard Lane, and proceed for .2 miles to Standing Deer Lane.  You will drive through the vineyards and rolling hills with a beautiful view of Stonewall Creek Vineyards.
Stonewall Creek is one of Northeast Georgia’s smaller wineries but they pack a lot into their use of the land and their production.  Owners Carl and Carla Fackler were drawn to Rabun County b the cool climate, clean air and relatively easy access from their home in Atlanta where they had lived for 30 years.  They purchased several acres of an old apple orchard and began planning vineyards and vegetable gardens.  On the advice of Tiger Mountain Vineyards winemaker, John Ezzard, they chose to plant 150 Malbec grapevines in 2005.  Over the next three years they planted more grapes and experimented with different clones and rootstocks – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Tannat, Petit Manseng and even more Malbec.  Meanwhile, since grapes take a minimum of three years to be truly established, they cultivated a beautiful produce garden and began selling veggies to Chef Linton Hopkins for his Café Eugene in Atlanta.
Stonewall Creek Vineyards opened their doors to the public in 2012 and drew immediate appreciation for their wines.  Among their awards they are most proud of the 2016 Georgia Trustees Wine Competition Awards: not only did they win a gold medal for their Cabernet Franc and a gold medal for their Petit Manseng, they also took home the 2016 Oglethorpe Award for the 2016 Best Wine in Georgia from Georgia grown grapes.
For more information, visit www.stonewallcreek.com.
From Stonewall Creek Vineyards, turn right and retrace your route to Tiger, GA.  At the stop sign, go straight and turn left when you reach new Highway 441.  Proceed north, through Clayton, GA, and continue approximately 4.1 miles and turn right on York house Road.  Proceed 1.4 miles and turn right on Black Branch Road.  Proceed 0.5 miles to 550 Black Branch Road and 12 Spies Vineyards will be on your right.  (Red roof building).
The vineyard’s name has an interesting story.  It came from the Bible and tells the story of Moses sending 12 spies to investigate the Promised Land.  While there, they discovered grapes so large that it took two men just to carry one cluster.  They brought the grapes back on a staff along with figs and other fruit to show off the bounty they had encountered.
The gift shop and tasting room were opened August of 2012 and added a new covered deck in 2013 which looks out to spectacular western sunsets.  The four varieties of grapes grown in the 12 Spies vineyard are Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tannat and Traminette.  All grow well in the climate and altitude of Rabun Gap, Georgia.  In addition, 12 Spies searches for grapes from the best Georgia vineyards for blending and to make their Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc.  To learn more about 12 Spies Vineyard, visit www.12spiesvineyards.com.
Back on Main Street in downtown Clayton, GA, delight your taste buds at Noble Wine Cellars. Owners Jabe and Barbara Hilson feature a variety of Georgia Grown/Georgia Made products.  Featured wines include winemaker Eric Seifarth’s Crane Creek Vineyards wines from Towns County, GA.  Eric is a recognized vintner/winemaker and frequently teaches classes in pruning, planting and winemaking as the seasons allow.
A tasting room for local Tiger Mountain Vineyards, Noble Wine Cellar features TMV wines and Noble Wine Cellar wines (all crafted by Jabe Hilson) along with other Georgia wines.  Jabe and his wife, Barbara, also offer micro-brews and growlers and a curated selection of Georgia-made products and art.    www.noblewinegeorgia.com >
Definitely plan to do the Wine Tasting Tour through Rabun County on your next adventure in Rabun County.  In fact, stay a while to shop and to dine here in the Farm to Table Capital of Georgia.  Your taste buds will enjoy the treat.