The designation as an American Viticultural Area was granted by the US Department of the Treasury. Officially, it means the area and its grapes have distinguishing features and helps assure consumers of certain characteristics and a level of quality. It follows an application made in April 2015.
Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dahlonega has the highest concentration of wine producers in the state – seven wineries and eight commercial vineyards in total – and is already home to a well-established scenic wine trail. Most of the locally owned producers have on-site tasting rooms and even venues to rent, set amongst a backdrop of rolling hills.
As for the wine itself, due to the elevated landscape, mountainous surroundings and plenty of sunshine, it can produce a variety of hybrid grapes from all over the world. In fact, the region is hoping to brand itself as the ‘Napa Valley of the south’. Along with the wine, most tasting rooms will pair with local cheese and fruit and in some spots you can even take your own picnic to enjoy the surroundings.
Naturally, the local wine producers have been following the petition process avidly and hope the official recognition will lead to increased interest in wine tourism in the area. Georgia is not the best known of the USA’s wine-producing areas and, with many wineries being boutique operations, they rely on sales through their wine tasting rooms.