Back-to-back festivals celebrate the state's wine industry in June. by Linda M. Erbele Sometimes you have to wonder if the GPS is really taking you to a winery. There’ve been so many turns since leaving the main road that you don’t know how the mailman finds it, but discovery is part of the delight when visiting Georgia's wine region. Once there, stretch out on the tasting room deck, admire the neat rows of vines behind the hillsides and sip what just might be the next gold medal winner. If your idea of Southern wine is Kool-Aid sweet and made from muscadines, you’re in for a surprise. Georgia is producing Cabernets, Merlots, Viogniers, Chardonnays and a number of excellent blends. “It used to surprise people that Georgia has a whole wine industry that doesn’t involve muscadines,” says Steve Gipson, president of the Georgia Wine Association. A number of the vineyards, especially in North Georgia, grow European varieties of grapes, producing award-winning varietals. “There’s a tremendous amount of interest," continues Gipson. "I think the state lists 32 bonded wineries, and several more are very close to becoming bonded.” Like craft breweries, local wineries produce a product unique to an area, made with a hands-on, personal touch.