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Two wine festivals are twice as nice
Three Sisters Vineyards is one of two wineries hosting festivals this weekend.
Georgia Fine Wine Festival
When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Blackstock Vineyards and Winery, 5400 Town Creek Road, Dahlonega
How much: $35 for one-day ticket, $50 for two-day ticket; nondrinkers need only pay for food tickets, which are $5
More info: 706-219-2789 ext. 223

Georgia Wine Country Festival
When: 10:30 a.m-6 p.m. Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Three Sisters Vineyards, 439 Vineyard Way, Dahlonega
How much: $20 for ages 21 and older, and $10 for nondrinkers; kids younger than 12 are free
More info: 706-865-9463

If you’ve always wanted to take a tour of North Georgia’s wineries but haven’t been able to trek all over the mountains, you’ll be in for a treat this weekend.

Many of the wineries will be coming to two central locations — Blackstock Vineyards and Winery and Three Sisters Vineyards — on Saturday and Sunday for the Georgia Fine Wine Festival and the Georgia Wine Country Festival.

The weekend-long events are a chance to sample dozens of Georgia-grown wines, taste gourmet food from local restaurants and hear live music, all in picturesque vineyard settings.

A one-day ticket to the Georgia Fine Wine Festival is $35, with $25 going toward the wine tasting and $10 for two food tickets. A two-day pass is $50, and individual food tickets may be purchased for $5 each.

And nondrinkers can enjoy the day, too — and not pay the price for the wine tasting wristband — said Marcia Mohler-Steele, manager of events and the tasting rooms at Blackstock.

“If you have a nondrinker, they don’t have to buy a ticket. And there’s water available — free bottled water — so if you have a nondrinker, they’re golden because they don’t have to pay the first $25,” she said. “So it is really a thing families can do.”

It’s the same idea at the Georgia Wine Country Festival, where attendees pay $20 for wine tasting from about a half-dozen wineries. Nondrinkers pay $10 for admission, and kids younger than 12 are free.

Both festivals will feature lots of local artists, along with samples from area restaurants and specialty shops.

The festival at Three Sisters will feature tents of folk art, handmade items, local resorts and local honey. Dawsonville folk artist John Cornbread Anderson will have original art for sale, and food and beverages will be available from local chefs like Dairen Roberts, who served as executive chef for Jimmy Buffett and his yachting business, and Kelly Finucan, who has cooked for Celine Dion.
There will be artists at Blackstock’s festival, too.

“Everyone from a blacksmith to fine painters, everyone in between, who will be selling their wares and demonstrating. There’s things for the kids to watch, too,” she added. “It can be a family thing in that you can bring your children who drive and they can drive you home.”

There will be jazz on the deck outside Blackstock’s tasting room, bluegrass at the outdoor amphitheater and a sampling of dulcimer music outside near the vineyards.

At Three Sisters, music will be provided by The Appalachian St. Andrew’s Society Pipe Band, The Buzzard Mountain Boys, Cindy Musslewhite & Friends, Queen Deaton and The Hot Dates, Tim Quigley, Route 66 and The Georgia Waybacks

Parking will be “all over the place,” Mohler-Steele added; she recommended large groups carpool or chip in for a hired driver.

“There’s going to be a lot of people — it’s going to be well attended,” she said. Earlier this week more than 500 tickets had been sold for the Fine Wine Festival.

Wineries will share outdoor tents with the restaurants, and Fine Wine Festival attendees will be given a card to keep track of the vineyards, restaurants and artists they see.

That way, Mohler-Steele said, they can check off the wines and restaurants they’ve sampled. Wines from the guest wineries will be available for purchase at both festivals.

“You just hang out under the trees and on the deck — we have trees and the vines are around us,” she said.
“There’s plenty to keep you busy. It’s the finest the North Georgia mountains can offer.”