There will be something for nearly everyone on Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6, as wine aficionados, gourmet food lovers and folk art and music enthusiasts will gather at Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery in the northeast Georgia Mountains for two days of wine, food, folk art and music.

The 9th Annual Georgia Wine Country Festival will take place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on those days at Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery in Frogtown, located between Dahlonega and Cleveland/Helen and just an hour north of Atlanta.  Attendees will have the opportunity to sample fine wines from members of the Georgia Wine Council and guest wineries with wines to be poured by Boutier Winery, Chateau Elan, Crimson ‘n Scarlet, Georgia Wines, Yonah Mountain Vineyards, Serenity Cellars, Horse Creek Winery, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, Three Sisters, Chestatee and the Walasiyi Wine Company and more.

“I can’t think of anything better to do than to celebrate the beginning of your ‘Summer Staycation’ at a fun wine festival,” exclaimed organizer Doug Paul of Three Sisters Vineyards. “Dahlonega is right up the road from lots of people looking for something fun to do the first weekend of June.”

The Georgia Wine County Festival provides its attendees the opportunity to visit a real working farm winery and vineyard. They will be able to see farm exhibits of alpacas by Ridgeview Farms Southern Suris, breeders of RFSS Peruvian Mac’samillion, a four-time champion brown suri male in 2009; meet John “Cornbread” Anderson and enjoy his folk art, purchase local honey and blueberries from Allison’s Honey Farm, and soak in just about every kind of music from bluegrass to folk to classic rock on the Crush Pad Deck.  Festival attendees will also be offered horse drawn vineyard wagon rides by wrangler and singing cowboy Les Strader.

This year’s festival is sponsored by Ridgeview Farm Southern Suris, Upper River Adventures, Three Sisters Vineyards and The Georgia Wine Council. All the wine tastings by participating wineries are complimentary. However, food and beverages (bottled water/soft drinks) are extra, and this year’s featured Georgia chefs are Dairen Roberts and Kelly Finucan. In addition to Chef Kelly and Chef Roberts, the 2010 festival marks the return of Ooh La La Cheesecakes of Gainesville, which will have slices of gourmet cheesecake and whole cheesecakes for sale.

The 2010 festival musical guests include The Buzzard Mountain Boys, The Georgia Waybacks, Cindy Musselwhite & Family, and Route 66, with a special appearance by The Appalachian St. Andrews Pipes & Drums Corps. Special Guest Artist John “Cornbread” Anderson is one of Georgia’s best known folk artists.

“Our family invites the wine community and the local agri-tourism, art and hospitality industry to our vineyards the first full weekend of every June to celebrate the wonderful appeal of Georgia Wine Country,” noted Doug Paul. “We’ll have all types of wine  from French barrel-aged merlot to native muscadine at the event. You’ll taste fine dry wines to fun sweet dessert wines. Come and sample a little bit of Georgia from our participating wineries.”

Three Sisters Vineyards is situated on 184 acres in Lumpkin County and is claims fame to being “Dahlonega’s First Family Farm Winery” and Lumpkin County’s first vineyard since prohibition. The Atlanta business couple turned grape farmers, Sharon and Doug Paul, purchased the property in the summer of 1995, cleared and planted winegrape vines and bonded the first winery in Dahlonega in 2000.  A tasting room opened the following year and the vineyards have grown to nearly 18 acres of varietals including cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, pinot blank, vidal blanc, touring national, and cynthiana-norton.

The Georgia Wine Country Festival, which is Dahlonega’s original Wine Festival, takes place on the Three Sisters property at 439 Vineyard Way, Dahlonega. Daily tickets for the festival are $20 per person at the gate, and admission includes all wine sampling; demonstrations and entertainment; vineyard wagon rides, and a keepsake tasting glass. Food is available for purchase. Designated drivers and those under 21 will be charged an admission price of $10, while children 12 and under will get in free and there is no charge for parking. For driving instructions, maps and more information, visit www.ThreeSistersVineyards.com or call 706-865-9463.The website also contains background information on the musicians, guest artist, featured chefs and festival sponsors.

Photo: ATTENDEES SHOWN enjoying activities at Georgia Wine Country Festival, held at Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery in Lumpkin County, Ga.

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Jimmy Booth

Jimmy Booth

Lifelong Georgia resident Jimmy Booth, who was a longtime Atlanta area journalist and public relations consultant, moved in fall of 2006 from Peachtree City, Ga., to Dahlonega, Ga. He and his wife Margo have become involved with several Dahlonega-based not-for-profit cultural arts and historical organizations working to keep alive the traditional mountain music, art and folkways which are a vital part of the area's heritage. Jimmy graduated from Emory University, where he served as editor of The Emory Wheel. During his journalistic career, he worked as publisher or editor of several Georgia weekly and small daily newspapers, and he was a section editor for The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Now officially retired, he handles publicity for some of the events and organizations in the Dahlonega area.