Yes, you read it right: wine caves. This age-old tradition may be commonplace in those highfalutin' Napa Valley regions, but in the state of Georgia? There's only one vineyard that sports 'em. Luckily, we're getting you in for a tour – and taste – of Georgia's own Yonah Mountain Vineyards.
We're well aware that with wine, good storage is pretty key. And in Atlanta, it can prove quite challenging to find the optimal storage settings for our bottles of vino. (A space between 55˚ and 60˚ you say? Aren't you aware of our old nickname?) In fact, bottles of wine aside, we're pretty hard-pressed to keep ourselves at reasonable temperatures this time of year. So what are we to do?
It's times like these we're obliged to take to the hills – or rather, the paradisal bluffs of Yonah Mountain Vineyards. It's a splendid retreat, a place to breathe in the fresh North Georgia air and taking in the idyllic environs. Because really, what better way to spend a weekend afternoon than by taking in nature and sipping on the premium wines of one of the region's most beautiful wineries? Yonah Mountain Vineyards is just that. Just under 20 acres of the estates' 197 boast seven varieties of grapes of varied nobilities. Since taking their first harvest in 2010, the winery has developed over 17 different vintages. Oh, and back to that storage thing – they've got it on lockdown: the vineyards host Georgia's only wine caves. With a design derived from the cellars so often found around Europe and Napa Valley, Yonah Mountain Vineyards set out to store their barrels at natural temperatures – and boy did they succeed. The result? A facility that's over 20,000 square foot in storage, and boasts two caves filled with barrels upon barrels of some of the best vino the region has to offer.
There's no better way to learn about it all first-hand than by embarking on one of Yonah Mountain Vinyards' Cave tasting and tours. The 90-minute tour and tasting is led by none other than the Vineyards' owners, Bob Miller or Eric Miller. From the moment you first step into the vineyards' tasting room to your final sips of the eight vintages you'll taste throughout the tour, they'll be filling you with the rich history of the region, their boundless knowledge of wine-making and the story of how exactly their caves came into being. Sure, we could pass another weekend in the sweltering city heat, struggling to simmer down as we struggle through yet another bottle of three buck chuck – but why would we? A little cavern of paradise is just a short jaunt away.