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Habersham Winery & Vineyards Profile
Written by Brian Dec 13, 2018
In the North Georgia town of Helen, sitting alongside the Unicoi Turnpike, you will find the tasting room for Habersham Vineyards & Winery. The winery is reported to be the oldest and largest in Georgia.
The tasting room is primarily about pouring wine, but there is a large component that sells a variety of wine swag. It gives the space a slight “souvenir shop” feel, but don’t be put off by that. The staff is excited to pour the wines and the overall experience is as good as or even better than you will find in other local wineries.
Owner(s): Tom Slick
Winemaker: Andrew Beaty
100,000 bottles sold annually.
The tasting menu is divided into three parts that correspond with the vineyard where the fruit originated. Habersham Estate and Creekstone are the local holdings and contain both vinifera and hybrids. Southern Harvest grows exclusively Muscadine. I did not sample any wines from the latter. The standouts from the local vineyards were a Seyval Blanc/Chardonnay blend called Chalet White and the Cherokee Rosé made from Chambourcin. I must also mention the Port-style Chambourcin, which was just off the charts.
I really like what they are doing at Habersham Vineyards & Winery. If you are exploring Georgia wine or just passing through, it is definitely worth a stop. After your visit, let me know what you think.
95% of the wine is from wine is made from estate grapes.
7025 S Main St, Helen, GA 30545
phone: (706) 878-9463
email: See website
Inside the tasting room.
Habersham is Georgia's oldest and largest winery.
The winery is a passion project of owner Tom Slick, who also once owned Slick Airlines--that flew exclusively cargo and military charters into the 1960s. The foray into wine is more than a viticultural project. Slick is one of the region’s first and largest advocates of agritourism and this is where he is hoping to establish a lasting legacy. Throughout the region you will see references to agritourism and wine is just one small part of that industry.
Habersham has two local vineyards and one in Southern Georgia for a total of 42 acres under vine. Planting took place between 1980 and 1983. Today the three holdings account for 96% of the winery’s fruit. The remainder is Riesling sourced from New York. Recent production numbers have fluctuated, but the winery is currently selling about 8500 cases of wine annually.
The winemaker recently retired and the replacement did not meet expectations. So a consortium of local winemakers came together in support of Habersham and produced the most recent vintage. This was something of a happy ending. I tasted about a half dozen of the offerings so I can vouch for their quality.
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