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Ring in the first grape harvest at Crush Fest
Yonah Mountain Vineyards first Crush Fest will celebrate the vineyard’s very first harvest. The Fest will include bands, horse and buggy tours of the farm, a cave tour with food and arts and crafts.

Crush Fest

What: Celebration of the first grape harvest
When: noon to 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Yonah Mountain Vineyards, 1717 Ga. 255, Cleveland
How much: $15

To celebrate the first grape harvest at Yonah Mountain Vineyards, the winery is welcoming any wine enthusiast to come and help stomp the first grapes.

Along with grape stomping there are wagon tours set, a tour of Georgia’s only wine cave, music, barrel samples and arts and crafts.

“What we basically have is we have a big 7-foot barrel and we are going to be crushing our grapes,” said Joe Smith, wine maker at Yonah Mountain Vineyards. “We’ve got three musical acts that will be performing. We’ve got horse and wagon rides through the vineyard, tours of our caves; we have Bernie’s, Natalie Jane and Hog Wild food being served.”

The wine cave on the property serves as the cellar for the wine barrels and is the only wine cave in the state.

“That’s one of the only times you can go 6 feet under and still breathe,” said Smith, who expects about 1,000 people this weekend at Crush Fest.

All activities, except for food, will be included in the $15 ticket to enter. Monica Spears, Kyle & Jeremiah and Curtis Jones and Insomnia will be providing all the music for the day.

This is the vineyard’s first grape harvest since the 190-acre property was turned into a vineyard. Prior to the harvest, the vineyard bought local grapes for their wines.

Smith, who moved to Georgia in 2005 from upstate New York, said he has high hopes for Yonah Mountain Vineyards.

“I think we’re at such an early stage of our grape growing, but I think the potential upside is fantastic,” he said. “Since I’ve been up here, there’s been two or three phenomenal seasons and there’s been some challenging seasons; I think we have the ability to grow some of the best red wine on the East Coast.

“This 197-acre estate is one of the most beautiful pieces of property in White County.”