September 30 – On-farm wineries – which make and sell wines and grow the fruits and berries used to make the wines – are common in Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties. And a local businessman is looking to start the first agricultural winery in Whitfield County.
The county council of commissioners is expected to vote at its Monday October 11 meeting on a law that would allow the operation of agricultural wineries in Whitfield County. Michael Roberts said that if commissioners approve the law and he receives a county license, he can apply to the state Revenue Department for a license to operate an agricultural cellar.
“If the commissioners approve the (local) law, I can apply for my county permit on October 12,” he said. “I’m told it will take about three weeks to process. Once I get this, I will be able to apply to the state, which will take about another 14 days. ‘State, we will be able to start production. It will take about 90 days before we have a sufficient quantity to start selling our own product. But state law allows new wineries to sell and taste wines from other wineries on the farm. ‘
Roberts has been making wine as a hobby for 40 years.
If all goes according to plan, he is expected to open the winery at 1606 Beaverdale Road NE before the end of the year. Visitors could tour the cellar, taste and buy wines.
“When we open the doors, we will have 20 different labels on our wine list available,” he said.
Georgian law requires that agricultural wineries produce at least 40% of their wine from fruits and berries grown in Georgia, must be on property “a substantial part of which is used for agricultural purposes” and must cultivate a “Substantial part” of the fruits and berries used to make their wine.
County committee chairman Jevin Jensen said he was “delighted to be working with” Roberts.
“Bringing the wine tasting experience and wine tours of Napa Valley (California) to our local community will be a real treat for residents and visitors,” he said.