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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Georgia Wine Producers Plan for Growth in 2017

Feb 02, 2017 03:14PM ● By Tracy McCoy

Helen, GA: The Georgia Wine Producers, a non-profit organization whose membership represents vineyards and wineries from across the state, held its second Annual Meeting and Conference January 24-25, 2017. Well over 50 people gathered at Unicoi State Park & Adventure Lodge in Helen for seminars, membership meetings and election of officers.

At the opening reception, Georgia Representative Terry Rogers from District 10 and Misty Holcomb of McGuire Woods, the newly hired Government Affairs Representative, spoke enthusiastically about the business and legislative forecast for Georgia’s wineries and vineyards.

Dr. Cain Hickey, the state’s first full-time Extension Viticulture Specialist, introduced himself and spoke on how he can assist vineyards, orchards and wineries in improving the quality and renown of Georgia’s wines. Based in Athens, he begins work with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in March. Hickey will work with both muscadine growers as well as vitis vinifera growers to improve vineyard practices and research new varieties.

The new officers elected at the meeting represent vineyards and wineries from one end of Georgia to the other. For 2017, the Georgia Wine Producers Board of Directors and officers are:

Emily DeFoor, President (Habersham Winery) - At Large Board Member

Larry Lykins, Vice President (Cartecay Vineyards) - North Region Board Member

Eric Seifarth, Treasurer (Crane Creek Vineyards) - At Large Board Member

Jerry Culver, Secretary (Little Vine Vineyard) - Central Region Board Member

Clayton Moss (Farmers Daughter Vineyard) - South Region Board Member

Patty Prouty (Georgia Winery) - At Large Board Member

Ray Parker (Big Door Vineyard) - Vineyard/Orchard Board Member

Incoming president, Emily DeFoor, who is the General Manager of Habersham Winery in Helen, is pleased with all that the Georgia Wine Producers has achieved in its short 2-year history. DeFoor said, “The goals for GWP in the near future are to facilitate educational seminars for our membership, work to ensure that state level legislation and regulation uphold the growth of the wine industry, and craft a marketing campaign that will raise awareness of the beautiful, award winning wineries and vineyards within the State of Georgia."

The mission of the Georgia Wine Producers is to support the growth of commercial wine production in Georgia. The 47-member organization is composed of wineries, vineyards and orchards, and other businesses and individuals interested in the success of Georgia’s wine industry. For more information about GWP, visit

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