We're still on the road in South Georgia and have been visiting lots of farms, growers, wineries and more. The state is working hard to develop its agri-tourism business, and we've been forging a trail from Vidalia to Valdosta.
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.
Tubing, hiking, waterfalls, wine and ultimately cooler temperatures await in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains. by Deanna Kuder We are close to shattering the record for the hottest summer in recorded history as I look at the Georgia map. It’s hard to ignore the big spot of green at the top, beckoning me to cool off in the mountain air. As I answered the call and headed for the north Georgia mountains, the main goal was escaping the heat, but what I found was a mecca of entertainment for the entire family and a playground to please every budget, age and activity level. Helen, Georgia, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the shores of the Chattahoochee River, launched its transformation into an Alpine village in 1969. Local business owners began to revitalize their mountain paradise by turning it into a Bavarian village. Faces of the buildings are now adorned with delicate gingerbread trim, intricate plaster relief and detailed scenes of Bavaria. And in keeping with the theme, visitors will find shopkeepers decked out in lederhosen and dirndls. Upon entering the Welcome Center, a helpful attendant was on the phone being quizzed about the weather. It was 90 degrees in town, but at home