A year into the pandemic, American travelers are eager to take a break from their everyday routine and embark on fun weekend getaways easily accessible by road. We’ve seen the revival of the great American road trip and the growing popularity of glamping and themed vacations over the past few months. Given American travelers’ love for fun, relaxation, and leisure, we thought a virtual tour of Georgia state’s best vineyards and wineries might inspire our American readers and fellow wanderlust-ers to head there next!
Rosé All Day
One of the best things about a wine vacation is that it can accommodate a bit of everything: limitless fine wine and gourmet food, wine education, and leisure — both indoors and outdoors.
Although famous for its bourbon, Georgia state is home to over 140 vineyards and wineries, and what better time to explore each of them than 2021 — the year of domestic travel.
Using our Culture AI, we studied 1000 travelers’ posts under the hashtags #georgiavineyards and #georgiawinery on Instagram. Our Culture AI detected Solitude, Happiness, and Affiliation as the top emotions from the posts, reflecting what travelers seek as well as what vineyards promise to offer.
Many of Georgia’s best vineyards and wineries are located in the north, as you can see on the map. Whether it’s a weekend wine tasting getaway or a vineyard crawl during the Wine Highway week, Georgia has plenty in store.
Trading pandemic isolation with solitary bliss
The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. With limited travel options available, a quiet staycation in a vineyard might be just what we need.
With hundreds of award-winning, family-owned vineyards, North Georgia promises picturesque views, much-needed outdoor time, and solitude. Our top picks are the Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery, Three Sisters Vineyards and Winery, Tiger Mountain Vineyards, and Frogtown Cellars, but many other lesser-known estates are waiting to be explored, especially in a pandemic year when they can do with all the local support they can get.
Most of these vineyards and wineries offer wine tasting tours with add on services like outdoor picnics with imported cheese and crackers, special brunch menu, wine library tours and access to the wine cellars, grape-picking activities, and a glimpse into wine-making — ensuring a fun getaway whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or with friends.
North Georgia is most known for sweet wines made from muscadine grapes, peaches, and berries. Still, many estates also have European-style wines, quenching American travelers’ thirst for international travel for now.
Some vineyards double up as resorts, such as the Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, 45 minutes north of Atlanta, and ideal for a weekend getaway. Travelers can attend wine tasting tours, enjoy a round of golf, take a spa break, and listen to live music while sipping on a variety of wines — no better way to unwind, we think!
A Grape Escape
Posts from Georgia’s vineyards and wineries have a positive, happy vibe and use hashtags like #winewednesday and #roseallday, showcasing day visitors posing with their wine glass (or bottle), with the endless expanse of the vineyard in the backdrop.
Hashtags like #finallyavacation reflect travel-starved Americans’ sentiments in finally being able to step out to enjoy the outdoors and take quintessential vacay photos for the ‘gram.
While the USA’s national parks offer hiking and other adrenaline-inducing activities, vineyards are for travelers seeking rest and relaxation, but with plenty of optional activities to keep them engaged. Vineyards and wineries make for a great getaway with friends and family, and spring and summer are the perfect time to explore them.
The Georgia Wine Highway, scheduled for August this year, is not to be missed. It is expected to feature 39 vineyards and 7 wine tasting rooms, each with its own wine tasting format, including complimentary food and live music. The Atlanta Spring Wine Festival, scheduled for June this year, is another option to enjoy unlimited glasses of 50+ varieties of wine, mimosa, cider, and beer. Both festivals make for a good break from Zoom-fatigue and pandemic-induced blues in the absence of larger festivals anytime soon.
Vineyards are also a popular destination for romantic getaways, wedding celebrations, and honeymoons. Travelers’ posts feature happy couples, pre-wedding shoots, anniversary celebrations, and wedding ceremonies, explaining the detection of Affiliation as one of the top three emotions by our Culture AI.
Vineyards offer an optimal setting to reignite connections with loved ones. Our top picks for romantic wine getaways that guarantee breathtaking views are Crane Creek Vineyards, Yonah Mountain Vineyards & Winery, and Chateau Elan Winery & Resort.
Whether travelers’ are celebrating a milestone and embarking on a new phase of life, or simply looking to reconnect at a deeper level, away from day to day chaos, Georgia states’ family-run vineyards and wineries are an ideal destination to slow down, reflect, cherish, and drink up.
The future of wine: Consumer trends in 2021
Based on our cultural analysis of both travelers’ posts and wine brands’ marketing, we reflected on how vineyards and wineries can embrace evolving consumer trends in 2021.
For one, international travel is unlikely to resume at full throttle, so the wine industry must focus on increasing its domestic customer base. To attract more domestic tourists to vineyards, wine brands will have to innovate on the types of wine experiences offered, keeping in mind COVID-related safety measures, as well as other factors like accessibility, pricing, and so on.
The pandemic forced wineries to embrace e-commerce, phone sales, and curbside pickups last year, and this is likely to remain a permanent shift in how wine brands sell wine. They must now attempt to ramp up direct-to-customer sales channels and endeavor to forge long-term relationships with domestic customers.
Given that many of the vineyards in Georgia are family-run businesses, the vineyard experience can be pitched as an intimate and experiential getaway, not confined to purchasing and tasting wine. Farm stays, engaging wine-making activities, wine-pairing workshops, and small-scale community events and festivals are some options — all of which are likely to attract more casual wine tourists, who make a third of the vineyard visitors.
Unique experiences are likely to be a game-changer, and digital tools can further accelerate these efforts. There are many options, from virtual wine tours and Zoom tastings to creative digital marketing of the wine tasting experience. Wine brands must use this time and opportunity to better market Georgia’s 8000-year-old wine-making culture.
As for travelers, which Georgia state vineyard are you heading to this weekend?
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