Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crane Creek Vineyards

I first visited Crane Creek Vineyards last fall, and was completely charmed by the unpretentious, scenic vineyard. Since last fall, I have been back three times! I cannot get enough of the relaxing atmosphere and the light, refreshing vinos.
Crane Creek Vineyards is located in Young Harris, Georgia, which is a short 2 hour drive from Altanta, or if you're staying in the mountains for the weekend, just 45 min from Blue Ridge. Seated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the vineyard's lovely grounds make the trip worth the car ride.
Being a wine novice, I get excited to soak up some wine knowledge, and at Crane Creek, the staff are great teachers. The full tasting, which can include up to 15 varietals, is only $3 a person! A super good value for an informative lesson on native Georgia grapes and the wines they can produce. Crane Creek grows 8 different grapes, including two native American varieties, Catawba and Norton.
On to the wines! My new favorite is the Seyval Blanc, with its light, crisp, green flavor reminding me of my trip to Barcelona. The Hellbender red varietal, which is made with the Norton grape, has won multiple awards. Sweet Sally, named after a beloved vineyard dog, is a wonderful white dessert wine made from the native Catawba grape. Last September, when it was about 90 degrees out, we bought a bottle of Sweet Sally and sat around the vineyard enjoying the view and the last of the summer heat.
The vineyard is laid back, and family friendly. You can order a glass of wine and the soup of the day, or a block of cheese, and sit out on Adirondack chairs facing the vines whiling the day away. It's a wonderful place to take friends, especially if they are from out of town, and at Crane Creek you have the opportunity to buy truly local wines that are also delicious!


  1. You nailed it, - Crane Creek is a relaxing, unpretentious venue. What a nice place for a black bean soup and Norton (Hellbender) wine. Georgia now has eight wineries growing and producing wines from the Norton grape. In total there are now 239 Norton wineries in 23 states. But it should be noted, to enjoy a Norton wine it must be put away for five, six, or more years to truly mature due to its inherent malic/tannic acids. In other words, the Norton wine is not an "instant gratification" wine. There are several to be found Norton blends that can be enjoyed at an earlier maturing age. In any case, let your Norton wine breathe for an extended time before serving, to include, Crane Creek's nice "Hellbender" example. The best Norton examples come from mature vines, which Georgia has few of at this time, but good bets can also be found from Three Sisters and Boutier Vineyards in Georgia.

  2. Wonderful info on the Norton Grape! Thanks!

  3. Wow! I never knew! I am going to plan a day trip there very soon. Thanks!