Or maybe they just don't have it yet. Crane said the region is at "a pretty cool crossroads" in terms of figuring out "what Georgia wines are supposed to taste like." For Georgia wine drinkers getting to follow along, sip by sip, year by year: Also pretty cool.
Ezzard's father lived long enough to see the first plantings, and while "Dad never had a drink in his life, probably," Ezzard said, "he was so glad I was coming back, it wouldn't have mattered if I was growing marijuana."
Instead, Tiger Mountain Winery, which the Ezzards co-own with Atlantans John and Marilyn McMullan, produces about 2,500 cases of wine annually. Daughter Lisa Ezzard, 48, recently relocated from California to learn all about growing grapes and making wine - including the award-winning Petit Manseng, described by Woodfire Grill's Quinones as "a treasure" and "the best white wine made in Georgia when it's done right."
It doesn't stop there. Like wine, winemakers - and wine regions - improve with age, too.
"It's getting better every year," Ezzard said about the Petit Manseng he has been bottling since 2003. "Because every year, I know better what to do with it."
IF YOU GO:
Most North Georgia wineries feature tasting rooms for sampling and purchasing wines made on the premises. The Georgia Winegrowers Association website (( http://www.georgiawine.com ) is an excellent source of information on nearly a dozen area vineyards and wineries.
BlackStock Vineyards and Winery. 5400 Town Creek Road, Dahlonega. 706-219-2789, http://www.bsvw.com. Winery hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday, 12:30 -6 p.m. Sunday.
Crane Creek Winery. 916 Crane Creek Road, Young Harris, 706-379-1236, http://www.cranecreekvineyards.com. Tasting room hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1 -5 p.m. Sunday.
Frogtown Cellars. 700 Ridge Point Drive, Dahlonega. (706) 865-0687, http://www.frogtownwine.com. Tasting room hours: Noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, Noon-6 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 -5 p.m. Sunday.
Three Sisters. 439 Vineyard Way, Dahlonega. 706-865-9463, http://www.threesistersvineyards.com. Tasting room hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1 -5 p.m. Sunday.
Tiger Mountain Vineyards. 2592 Old 441 South, Tiger. 706-782-4777, http://www.tigerwine.com. Tasting room hours: 1-5 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and by appointment.
Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery. 180 Wolf Mountain Trail, Dahlonega, 706-867-9862. http://www.wolfmountainvineyards.com. Tasting room hours: Noon-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 12:30 -5 p.m. Sunday.
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