The third annual Crush Fest at the Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland, Georgia is proving that grapes may be the Peach State’s favored fruit. Set to highlight the area’s burgeoning wine business, the festival kicks off the Labor Day Weekend with an itinerary big on activities tailor made for groups.
This grape harvest celebration will offer plenty of opportunities to sample any of the seven varietals thriving on 13 acres of this rolling hills property set against the Appalachian Mountains. Still the grape stomping will likely be the highlight the day. Also horse-drawn wagon tours of the vineyard, tours of the winery and Georgia’s only wine cave are on the agenda. Likewise, the local arts community will get in on the action. Over 30 vendors and artists will sell local products and wine related merchandise such as pottery, jewelry and fiber arts.
The event aims to draw oenophile attention to Georgia’s northern region, typically synonymous with outdoor group adventures and naturally lush surroundings. The region located in the vicinity of Helen, a popular local tourism venue rebuilt to resemble a Bavarian village, is home to over ten wine growers. Yonah Mountain Vineyards is in position to lead the local wineries in recognition not only because it features state’s only wine cave, but also because vineyard’s varietals are winning major fanfare with the experts.
“This was one of the very few times, perhaps the only time, I’ve tasted a Georgia wine and thought I would absolutely choose this wine over a similarly priced wine from, say, Napa Valley or France,” says Atlanta wine writer and educator Gil Kulers.
For groups interested in exploring the Yonah Mountain Vineyards offerings throughout the year, a 40-pax Tour de la Cave and Barrel Tasting led by the winemaker Joe Smith offers samples of future vintages that include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.