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Georgia winemakers opening conference for public tasting
01182018 WINE 1
Georgia winemakers are gathering next week for the Georgia Wine Producers annual conference at Chateau Elan in Braselton, which include a public wine tasting event Tuesday evening. - photo by Nick Bowman

Saunter with sommeliers next week at the Georgia Wine Producers’ wine tasting at Chateau Elan.

The statewide winemakers association kicks off its annual conference at the Braselton resort on Tuesday, when the industry will gather to talk regulations, best practices and all manner of scientific mumbo-jumbo as relates to their art and craft.

But more important than the future of Georgia’s wine industry (and the millions of dollars and hundreds of people tied up in it) is the chance for the general public to get a taste of their product.

Tuesday’s agenda ends with a three-hour wine tasting session that’s open to the public — so long as the public has $30 to get in the door at the chateau. The event carries a “Taste Georgia!” theme and includes food samples from about 10 businesses with Georgia Grown, the state marketing agency for food grown or manufactured within the state.

For $30 each, wine enthusiasts can sign up to taste Georgia wines and hobnob with the experts and entrepreneurs from more than a dozen wineries who made it.

From Hall County, Sweet Acre Farms owner Matthew Vrahiotes and his assistant manager, Bill McCumber, will be at the tasting, and they’re bringing three or four of their wines.

Definitely making the trip are Sweet Acres’ Sweet Ass Peach, a 100 percent peach wine; Quittin’ Time, its lemon apple wine; and its medium muscadine wine.

For those wondering, the peach wine has a donkey on the bottle. It’s made with Jaemor Farms peaches and has basically no other ingredients — not even added water, Vrahiotes said.

He might bring an apple wine called Bullheaded that’s aged in bourbon barrels from a North Georgia distillery, but hasn’t decided.

Regardless, he said the event should be a treat for both winemakers and the public. While the wine industry gathers once a year to talk shop, it’s not often that the event is opened to the public for a tasting, he said.

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