Georgia’s peaches, sweet tea and Whistle Stop Cafe may have put the state on the culinary map, but it’s the wine and moonshine that continue to tempt the palate.
Look to off-the-beaten path destinations to deliver these authentic flavors. In a pastoral hillside of the North Georgia Mountains, Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery, north of Atlanta, groups are experiencing handcrafted wines, winery tours and estate tastings matched with gourmet dinners. Wolf Mountain is the first Georgia winery to win best-in-class and double gold medals at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles International Wine competitions (more than 200 medals in major US wine competitions). Likewise, sommelier-led tastings happen at Montaluce Winery & Restaurant, as well as guided wine hikes that end with tastings of five wines on an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard. Both wineries are located in Dahlonega, on the National Register of Historic Places and site of the first major US gold rush. Here, gold panning, historic sites and bites can be easily woven into meetings and incentives.
The 424-room Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, also north of Atlanta, offers winemaking classes, “Sip & Swirl” art and wine combos, murder mystery dinners and a number of culinary team building options. The resort’s spa has its own restaurant, Fleur-de-Lis, overlooking the lake with healthy gourmet breakfasts, lunch and afternoon tea. As the resort sprawls across 3,500 acres, any number of nature experiences can also be arranged such as yoga and Segway tours among the vines, luxury houseboat charters, zip lining over a canopy of trees and night golfing. More than 50,000 sf of indoor-outdoor space is available for meetings and events.
Georgia moonshine, meanwhile, is so popular that many summer and fall festivals are dedicated to it solely. The Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show, Moonshine Market Arts & Crafts Show and Georgia Mountain Moonshine Cruiz-In are a good place to start. In Southwest Georgia, Still Pond Vineyard and Winery crafts their moonshine from muscadine grapes, distilling them three times to make muscadine moonshine.