Exploring North Georgia Wine Country and Helen with Kia Optima

Tucked away in the valleys of Georgia’s mountains is North Georgia Wine Country. Up until this day, I had only known this region for its jaw dropping waterfalls, outdoor adventure and the Alpine village of Helen. Little did I know, they were hiding some of the best tasting grapes I’ve ever had. I know what you’re thinking, there’s no way. Right? I encourage you to test my claims. I drove two hours there in the Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-in (on an immeasurable amount of gas since it was so little). I was just as surprised as you after having toured five wineries and vineyards with VIP Southern Tours.

 

 

Exploring North Georgia Wine Country

 

The contrast is astounding between the high rise buildings wrapped in miles of traffic in Atlanta to the fairytale-like half-timbered Alpine city (more like a village) of Helen. But drive outside Helen and you’ll be even more surprised to spend the day winery hopping! This was the perfect little mini vacation for me to take with the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-in. And just what I needed after weeks of hard work.

 

Kia Optima Hybrid Plugin

 

Named by White County as the Unicoi Wine Trail, North Georgia Wine Country boasts seven Wineries and Vineyards on the trail. I enjoyed five of them with VIP Southern Tours and as a guest of White County. Here they are in no particular order.

 

Kaya Winery

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Kaya Vineyards

 

I tasted my favorite red at Kaya Winery and Vineyards on a ridge 1,600 feet above sea level. It’s true, and I’ve been to a lot of wineries in my time. Fun fact, it was the most inexpensive of all the wines I tried with a mere $19.99 price tag. I had the 2015 Sangiovese. I brought some home, and it was just as amazing on my porch as it was on theirs.

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Kaya Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Kaya Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Kaya Vineyards

 

Habersham Vineyards and Winery

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Habersham

North Georgia Wine Country, Habersham

North Georgia Wine Country, Habersham

North Georgia Wine Country, Habersham

North Georgia Wine Country, Habersham

 

Prepare yourself for shopping when you visit Habersham Winery and Vineyards. Their gift store is full of wine lovers collectibles. And their wine is among the oldest in the region! I enjoyed tasting their wines and touring their wiery along with shopping their store. This is no doubt a must do when in Helen. Part of the historic Nacoochie Village, you’ll find yourself wandering the area with all the nostalgic feels and snapping all the pictures to remember them by.

 

Yonah Mountain Vineyards

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

This is a unique vineyard in North Georgia Wine Country as it sits at the base of what geologists call “the oldest mountain in the world” thus, growing their grapes in very rich soil. The Mountain views here are lovely as are their handcrafted wines, and their tasting room is downright fancy. And if that’s not enough, you can get a wine cave tour too! If you’re looking for a relaxing place to chill with a side of elegance, check out Yonah Mountain Vineyards.

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

North Georgia Wine Country, Yonah

 

Serenity Cellars

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

 

Serenity Cellars is a boutique winery that had me pairing all the wines with all the yummies from Tina’s amore corner. My favorite part is their gathering spaces. Their inviting front patio with its string lights and a cozy grotto with an outdoor brick oven will invite you to bring your own pizza. That’s right, on Friday nights they cook your pizza for you! A perfect local hangout if you want a touch of Alpine Georgia life.

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

North Georgia Wine Country, Serenity Vineyards

 

Sylvan Valley Lodge and Winery

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Sylvan Valley Lodge

 

The Sylvan Valley Lodge and Winery is unique for two reasons. One, it’s the only wine I’ve ever had which is entirely themed after fairies! Yes! This makes these wines not only super awesome to collect, but great for gifting. It’s also the only winery in the area which is a bed & breakfast. I was lucky enough to have a lovely dinner here, perfectly paired with their wines, and let me tell you, it was amazing! And the family operated staff is so nice, you’d think they were your family.

 

North Georgia Wine Country, Sylvan Valley Lodge

North Georgia Wine Country, Sylvan Valley Lodge

North Georgia Wine Country, Sylvan Valley Lodge

North Georgia Wine Country, Sylvan Valley Lodge

 

About VIP Southern Tours

 

North Georgia Wine Country, VIP Southern Tours

 

Let me tell you about spending your money on things that are worth it. Nothing is worse than taking time off from work and dropping your hard earned money on a tour that makes you feel like a number or worse a dollar sign. VIP Southern Tours is family owned and operated. And I do mean, you’ll have the owner with you. And they know everything there is to know about the region. So go ahead and ask! Get all the details on the wineries and the area to make your trip to North Georgia Wine Country and Helen perfect. They’ll even give you insider tips on what to do in Helen.

 

The wine tour includes four wineries with wine tastings, a gourmet picnic lunch and hosted transportation on board a deluxe mini coach or SUV. Have something special? They offer custom tours too! The price point is about $100/person.

 

In and Around Helen with the Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-in

 

Kia Optima Hybrid Plugin

 

The Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-in was perfect for my two-hour drive to Helen. Its massive panoramic sunroof, highway safety features, and cabin comforts made me feel like I had all the class when I arrived in Helen. Not to mention, my fuel gauge didn’t even move! Want to know more about Hybrid technology? Get answers to all your questions on Kia.com.

 

Kia Optima Hybrid Plugin

Kia Optima Hybrid Plugin

Kia Optima Hybrid Plugin

 

In Closing

 

You’re going to find good wine, good food, unique sights and good people in North Georgia Wine Country. If you’re dying to escape the city for the weekend, I can promise you, this is a great experience for anyone who loves food and wine and is looking for something unique to do without diving deep into their paid time off.


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day.

“It’s never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams.” -Christa Thompson

4 Comments on this post

  1. […] owning a Sorento, I’ve spent this year driving the Kia Niro Hybrid, the Kia Optima and the Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-in. You can see my details from the NY Auto Show […]

  2. I have always wanted to go to a winery it seem like it well be so much fun.

    eclectickristal / Reply
  3. I have recently returned from a trip to South Africa in the garden route and one of the highlight there was wine country and Stellenbosch. Your post took me back to my holiday. I am inspired to visit North Georgia too, thank you for the inspiration.
    And then as I always say there is nothing like a good glass of wine at a perfect spot. Cheers.

    The Gypsy Gurl / Reply

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