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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Explore Award-Winning Wines at Tiger Mountain Vineyards

Oct 24, 2016 05:32PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

View from the Red Barn Cafe at Tiger Mountain Vineyards.

Tiger Mountain Vineyards has provided the community tasty wine and scenic views since its first vintage in 1999. Within this lovely vineyard lives the Red Barn Cafe, a beautifully refurbished 75-year-old barn that overlooks the vineyards and Tiger Mountain. With a spectacular view of the vineyards, visitors can enjoy fine cuisine, a glass of 100% Georgia-grown wine, and the warmth and beauty of North Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains.

Lisa Ezzard is the manager and events manager of the Red Barn Cafewho is also 6h generation on the farm, she took some time out of her busy week to answer a few questions for us about Tiger Mountain Vineyards. 

Tell us a little about Tiger Mountain Vineyards. When and how did it get started?

The vineyards got started when my Dad, Dr. John Ezzard, came back to the land he was born on, and having been a farmer at heart all of his life, decided to grow vinefera grapes. He and my mom, Martha Ezzard - a successful journalist at the Atlanta Constitution, carefully selected the varieties of grapes suited to the climate of the southern Blue Ridge, creating the first vinifera vineyard in the state. Tiger Mountain Vineyards now grows six French vinifera varieties: Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Mourvedre, Petit Manseng, Tannat, and Viognier, as well as the Portuguese Touriga Nacional. 

In addition to the European varieties, John also planted the American Norton grape, native to Virginia. The first Norton vines were rooted from Virginia cuttings. Nine acres in total were planted, all by hand. Now Martha, an environmental lawyer and author, is focusing on growing the hardy Norton grapes, free of chemicals. 

What is your personal favorite space at Tiger Mountain Vineyards?

The stone patio at the Red Barn Cafe, which overlooks the vineyards, is the best spot to relax and enjoy. Guests can get a beautiful glass of wine, a cheese and charcuterie board, sit back and enjoy the magic of the spring, summer, and fall seasons. It's a place where they can feel like they've been transported to Napa! Winter is even fun, as guests can bundle up, huddle around the fire, and enjoy soup, wine and music. The Red Barn Cafe is  the perfect site for gorgeous rehearsal dinners and vineyard weddings!

Lunch and dinner are served with wine pairings in the café and on the patio at this indoor/outdoor facility, open May-November on weekends. The Red Barn Cafe hosts fine chefs, including this season's chef from Atlanta - David Sweeney. Guests can also enjoy gourmet wine pairing dinners throughout the season. 

What's one of your most memorable moments while working there?

There have been so many memorable moments, whether it's been sharing the pure, dancing joy of a wedding celebration, or the 103rd birthday of a special guest. Each customer at Tiger Mountain brings their story, and the shared moments of good wine and good stories are priceless.

We also hold fond in our memories the many medals we have won in fine wine competitions over the years - over 250, including our latest gold medal from the San Francisco International Wine Competition for our Petit Manseng. Yes, touché Napa! 

What can someone expect while visiting?

One can expect to be greeted at our tasting room in that warm, southern way, and to taste between 8-10 locally-grown, hand-crafted fine wines. One can also expect to take a nice glass of wine and stroll around the vineyards, stop at the Red Barn Cafe for lunch or dinner, and experience the beauty of the Appalachians while appreciating the fine wines from a new wine growing area. 

If you are a wine enthusiast, you can even become a Wine Club member and enjoy two celebrations a year for wine club members only: our Harvest Party, where wine club members come and help us harvest, then celebrate on the knoll with fine food and wine; and our Awakening Party, where wine club members "awaken the vines" with a huge bonfire, burning the old vines from the past year, and a parade through the vineyards with the Abominable Seed and Feed Band from Atlanta. 

What would you say is the most popular wine so far?

John, our winemaker, is best known for introducing Petit Manseng to the state of Georgia. Called "a new southern classic" by Wines and Vines Magazine (Nov. 2011), Petit Manseng is ideally suited to the region's terroir. Tiger Mountain Vineyards is currently the only producer of this unique white wine in Georgia, and we have most recently won a gold in the San Francisco International Wine Competition as well as the Oglethorpe Award for Best Wine of Georgia for our Petit Manseng.

Are there any upcoming events that we should know about?

We have regular live music at our Red Barn Cafe and tasting room, and we also have regular parties for our new wine releases. You can go on line to to check out our upcoming events. 

October 29: Celebrate Halloween with cheese and chocolates. Enter a drawing for a bottle of Mountain Cyn! No admission fee; tasting fees only. Music at the Tasting Room by 14 Roots.

October 28-30: Last dinners of the season at The Red Barn Café! Two glasses of wine for the cost of one---a thank you from the owners and staff! Call 706-782-4777 for reservations!

November 5-6 & 12-13:  Saturday and Sunday lunch and brunch only. Call 706-782-4777 for reservations! 

For more information about this beautiful vineyard, you can visit their website

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