drive from North Atlanta to Frogtown, the old Cherokee community near
Dahlonega, is almost a National Geographic experience.
countryside showcases North Georgia in all her stunning array of colors
and rural life. Frogtown communityalso is home to one of the best wineries
in the region, Three Sisters Vineyards, owned and managed by longtime
Atlanta residents and business successes, Doug and Sharon Paul. Three
Sisters, named after the trio of mountain peaks that glisten on a divine
horizon bordering the vineyard, is the product of the couples hard
work and vision, a labor of love, according to Doug Paul.
Entering Three Sisters Vineyards is an advance glimpse
of the Promised Land. The acreage is cultivated, manicured and productive.
A beautiful gazebo sits atop the highest point on the premises, with a
spring-fed, crystal clear lake below. There is a large white tent pitched
near the lake for wine festivals, special events and weddings. The mountain
air is clean and therapeutic.
Three Sisters is about wine, and the Pauls hasten
to emphasize that their winemaking mission is to consistently produce
high quality wine that merits recognition by consumers and critics while
inspiring others to establish vineyards with equally high standards. My
dream, revealed Doug Paul, is someday soon to see great vineyards
from Savannah to Young Harris.
and Sharon Paul exude optimism and are justifiably proud of their wines
and high winemaking standards. Along with my friend, Atlanta lawyer Tom
Chason, I journeyed with Doug through Three Sisters wine production
from beginning to end observing huge stainless steel fermentation tanks
and French and American oak barrels filled with still-developing noble
wine destined for bottling, labeling and a dinner table. The fermentation
and aging environment speaks volumes for care and concern for quality.
We sampled from the tanks and barrels. I heard angels singing.
One genuine delight is Cynthiana, an almost indescribably delicious red
wine. Once described by pioneer American winemaker and importer Thomason
Jefferson as the American Claret, it becomes a magic potion
when poured and consumed. Some fascinating research, which Doug Paul confirmed,
revealed that Cynthiana was the wine of the Cherokee. New Echota, the
ancient national capitol of the Cherokee is also in the north Georgia
Mountains, and likely hosted many feasts where Cynthiana was served.
Sharon Paul is part Cherokee and eight years ago when the winery was founded,
she wanted the land, which was once Cherokee property, blessed by appropriate
Cherokee officials. They told us the land was already blessed,
according to Doug. Spiritual officials in traditional dress participated
in the opening ceremonies and once again blessed the land. We will always
honor the integrity and traditions of the Cherokee.
In addition to Three Sisters, wine is produced under Chestatee, Crane
Creek and Walasiyi, part of the Pauls business umbrella. Walasiyi
White is a traditional southern-style wine. The unreleased Blood Mountain
Red will also be under the Walasiyi label. It is named after the great
mountain outside Blairsville where the Cherokee gold was hidden by Cherokee
tribal officials to avoid confiscation by U.S. soldiers during the unconscionable
Trail of Tears imprisonment and removal of Cherokee citizens
to Oklahoma in the 19th century.
Three Sisters produces wines that are easily the equal of many heralded
wines from the west coast, Virginia and New York. The styles range from
Bordeaux-like reds, to popular Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, Three Sisters
answer to the great white wine from Alsace. Because of limited yield and
hands-on production, these are not lower end wines destined for the bottom
shelf of grocery stores. Instead, they are ready to be consumed immediately
and are very food friendly. Cynthiana, Meritage, Merlot and Cabernet Franc
may be confidently cellared.
down in the comfortable tasting room near the painting, Winged Elvis,
by Rev. Howard Finster, and tasted an array of wines accompanied by Thomasville
Tomme, one of the great cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy, the acclaimed
cheese maker near the Florida border. It was an all-Georgia moment. Doug
and Sharon Paul are visionaries who see great Georgia wines and cheeses
as the wave of the future. We will always make great wines,
said Doug, others will make great Georgia cheeses. They truly taste
wonderful together and need only more exposure and promotion to take off.
Three Sisters is off the beaten path but still quite accessible from Atlanta.
The vineyard attracts wine enthusiasts and those who just long for a bucolic
escape. During our visit, guests were dropping in for tasting, touring
and purchase from California and beyond, a testament for the good efforts
and hard work of Doug and Sharon Paul.
Doug Paul enjoys sharing stories about other wine makers. Jimmy
Carter makes wine and I understand its very good. Wed love
to have a bottle signed by him and permanently show it in a display case.
Three Sisters Vineyards is a multi-faceted Georgia marvel. Doug and Sharon
Paul are trendsetters who have established wine making as a major force
in the states future. Spend a renewing day at Three Sisters. Its
an act of self-love. For directions, visit their website at www.threesistersvineyards.com.
better, Ill meet you there for some North Georgia wine and South
Follow the arrow to learn more
about the wonderful cheeses of Sweet Grass Dairy . . .