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OS Grapes

First AVA Designation in Georgia

Locals have known for a while, but now it’s official. There is great wine coming out of North Georgia.

After four years of paperwork, petitions, and substantial evidence that Western North Carolina and Northeast Georgia has a unique natural boundary and growing conditions unlike any other neighboring region, an American Viticultural Area (AVA) known as Upper Hiwassee Highlands was designated to our region.

This prestigious designation includes parts of Clay County and Cherokee County in North Carolina and Towns and Union Counties in Georgia. The Upper Hiwassee Watershed acts perfectly as the natural boundary for the eight wineries that fall into the Upper Hiwassee Highlands AVA.

An American Viticultural Area designation is not an easy process and they are not freely given out. Regulations require only wine that derives 85% or more of their content inside the boundaries of a designated AVA can use the AVA name.

The majority of AVAs are located in California with notorious names like Napa Valley and Sonoma. The Upper Hiwassee Highlands region makes the fourth designation for North Carolina and the first ever for Georgia!

So, what does this mean to the wineries?

It means that each vineyard in the Upper Hiwassee Highlands has a way to point vintners and consumers to a special characteristic or overall quality of grapes grown in the region.  

Additionally, they have permission to use a tag on their label called an appellation of origin, which proudly states the wine was made in the Upper Hiwassee Highlands region. Having the AVA designation assures wine enthusiasts of a product’s quality and characteristics.

So, take a ride around and get to know the wines of your region. Most vineyards offer tastings and typically have music or other fun events as you sniff, sample, and enjoy each unique vintage. Paradise Hills Farm Winery also has a resort and spa onsite, perfect for a North Georgia getaway.  

For a full listing of wineries or other activities in Union County and the North Georgia Mountains please go to www.VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.

Vineyards included in the Upper Hiwassee Highlands region:
Clay County Eagle Fork Vineyard
Cherokee County Calaboose Cellars, Valley River Vineyards, Nottlely River Valley Vineyards
Towns County Crane Creek Vineyards, Hightower Creek Vineyards
Union County Paradise Hills Farm Winery, Odom Springs Vineyards