Imagine sitting on a hillside stone terrace on a warm fall evening, breezes blowing softly as you enjoy an outstanding glass of wine while watching a glorious sunset over acres and acres of lushly planted vineyards.
You needn’t travel to Napa or Tuscany or even France to enjoy this experience – it can be found in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Wait –Georgia - the state? Yes - the state of Georgia.
A little known fact is that Georgia has a long history of growing grapes for wine reaching back through the 19th century. By 1900, Georgia was sixth among states growing grapes.
Then in 1907 the state’s wine-making industry was abruptly shuttered when Georgia adopted full prohibition and many vineyards were abandoned. Farmers moved on to other crops and it wasn’t until the 1970s that growing grapes for wine began to make a come back in Georgia.
With new legislation in the 1980s supporting the industry, by the mid 1990s Georgia experienced a rush of growth in vineyards and wineries that readied the stage for Bear Claw Vineyards, a new premium vineyard and winery, to successfully enter the U.S wine market.
Today the North Georgia Mountains anchor the Georgia Wine Country, producing premium wine grapes and award winning wines and serving as a tourist destination. In 2013 there were 38 wineries in Georgia that were generating as much as $400 million dollars in economic impact for the state. In addition, the Georgian wine industry is recognized as a hot new “green agribusiness industry” categorized as “Agritourism and Agritainment."