Three Sisters Vineyards & Winery Profile
Written by Brian—Jan 10, 2019
In a particular Yin and Yang moment, I left what was arguably my worst winery experience ever and drove a couple hundred yards down the hill to one of my all-time-favorites. Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery is the whole package. Great wine and great customer service are just two the draws at this beautiful little North Georgia winery.
Originally dedicated to cattle, Doug and Sharon Paul purchased the 184 acre estate as alternative to raising their daughter in Atlanta. In an area devoid of wineries, Doug decided the south-facing slopes might support viticulture and subsequently planted 20 acres of vines. It turns out he was right and today that the vineyards generate enough fruit to make between 4000 and 5000 cases annually.
When Three Sisters opened shop in 1995, it was Lumpkin County’s first winery. Indeed, it was the first business to produce alcohol of any kind. Doug Paul is subsequently credited with opening the first farm winery, which made him something of a pioneer. Doug passed away in 2017, but his vision paved the way for all the wineries that followed.
Sharon Paul continues to carry the torch and she was in the tasting room when I visited. She explained that while Hezzie Patrick is the official “winemaker,” the wine is actually produced using a process of consensus that involves Karen, Hezzie and a pair of other employees. All are self taught, which is in many ways remarkable because the wines are of exceptional quality.
This was one of those rare visits where every wine in the lineup was simply stellar. The single-varietal Pinot Blanc and Cabernet Franc/Merlot rosé were both worthy of note, but the steel Chardonnay was over the top. Time on the lees added complexity to this perfectly balanced wine.
Among the reds, the Cabernet Franc and Fat Boy Red blend were extraordinary, but the Cynthiana (aka Norton) was the big surprise. I had encountered a couple other local examples, but they were simply not in the same league as the one I tasted at Three Sisters. It was not overly fruity and lacked any hint of off putting astringency. I found it complex and extremely drinkable. It is rare that I am so completely blown away by a Norton.
I can give very high marks to Three Sisters Vineyards. There is simply no downside to stopping in. The wine, the experience and the beauty of the venue all converge to make this a must-visit winery. Make it a point to stop in and after you do, let me know what you think.