We were blessed with warm, sunny North Georgia skies this past weekend, the kind of skies that make you want to just soak up the sun and enjoy a crisp refreshing glass of wine.
I was in full staycation mode, and I usually don’t like to contend with holiday weekend crowds, but when my husband suggested we head out to a winery for an afternoon wine, I couldn’t say no.
I had been following the progress of Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery’s new tasting room on social media for the past few months, and they celebrated the grand opening of the new building on July 4, 2019. We knew we had to check it out.
What is a Tasting Room?
A “tasting room” is an area on the premises of a brewery or winery where you can sample and purchase the beer and/or wine for consumption on or off the premises. The bars are usually “walk-up” bars, where you will have the option to taste a few wines or purchase wine by the glass or bottle.
Wine tasting rooms are often not just a single room, but instead refer to the whole facility where you can drink wine. So, the new Cavender Creek tasting room is not just a new room, but a whole new building, with indoor and outdoor areas where you can imbibe.
There are some instances in North Georgia where there are tasting rooms that are not on the premises of wineries. These establishments are more like wine bars.
The reason for the nomenclature is all legal, due to strict laws in Georgia regarding the sale of alcohol and the restrictions placed on businesses based on what they are classified as.
The First Time We Visited Cavender Creek
The last time we visited Cavender Creek was in 2015. We were on a trip to scope out the area and see if we could envision lives in North Georgia. We spent the early mornings hiking, and the early afternoons visiting wineries.
One of those afternoon stops was at Cavender Creek Winery in Dahlonega, Georgia. The original tasting room was small, rustic, and being a non-local at the time, what I considered to be authentic to the North Georgia experience.
The staff was friendly and the patrons all seemed to know each other. The tables were repurposed wine barrels, and I remember dark wood panels everywhere.
My favorite part about my first visit was hanging with the donkeys by the vines. They were friendly and adorable, and my lasting impression of Cavender Creek was that is was peaceful and quaint.
Visiting the New Tasting Room
Since it had been so long since we had returned, I was excited to see what all had changed over the past few years. I did not expect to be as impressed as I was.
We turned onto the gravel winery road, and to the right of us were lush, healthy vines with plaques noting the varietals.
As we got closer to the tasting room, we saw the barn wedding venue, which looks like a great option for a classy but rustic vineyard wedding.
Soon in view was the historic, 1820s Cabin in the Vines, and just behind it, the new tasting room.
We parked the car and walked up to the front porch. The strums of the guitar and the soft voice of the live singer echoed through the valley. My husband opened the door for me and I stepped foot into a cozy and bright atmosphere, bustling with people.
As I looked around, the friendliest member on staff, Tucker the Great Pyrenees, walked right over to me to welcome me in! There are a few vineyard dogs that made their rounds around the building, mingling with the guests and maintaining a clean floor. They certainly are living an enviable life.
The interior of the tasting room now has plenty of different spots to hang out in, and while the room was full, it was not overwhelming. There are areas that will make you feel like you are hanging with your friends in a well decorated living room, relaxing on couches and putting your wine on coffee tables.
Outside, there was a large covered open-air room, where big groups of friends and families enjoyed the live music.
We went to the back screened-in patio, which was covered and had a chill vibe.
I usually opt to go straight for the glass rather than go through a tasting. I do recommend doing a tasting on your first visit to any winery, as it is a fun opportunity to experience the wine and learn more about the history of the vineyard.
We selected the viognier, which has become my go-to white varietal, especially during the summer heat. I love sauvignon blanc, and I have not yet met a viognier I can’t enjoy. The Cavender Creek viognier had a hint of sweetness, the pucker of fruit, and the refreshing drinkability of a white wine in July.
Cavender Creek also serves wine slushies, which seemed to be popular. I did not have one this visit, but I most certainly will next time.
To Go or Not to Go
If you would have asked me before if this winery was a must-visit, I probably would have said, only if you have extra time.
Now, I would say to all of my local and non-local friends, if you are ever in the Dahlonega area, Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery is a must-do.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I want you to have your own experience, and not spoil the magic of this place.
It is obvious that the owner is putting a lot of love and care into their business, and also investing in their customers. All of the staff was attentive, and I could feel their pride in ensuring that we were enjoying our experience in the new tasting room.
Even with the new construction and modern improvements, Cavender Creek still retained their essence, and now better highlight what makes them them. I think I will be hanging around here more often.
Have You Been?
Have you been to this winery or any other North Georgia wineries? If so, let me know which ones and what you thought in the comments.