The Vineyard and Winery Association of West Georgia will have a Friday night wine tasting at the depot and a free Saturday morning wine workshop at the Carroll County Ag Center.
“A Train Station Tasting” is being billed as a “soft opening” for the 1882 depot, once used by the Savannah, Griffin and North Alabama Railroad. The tasting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. in the large warehouse section of the Bradley Street depot.
“We’ll be serving wines made from the same varieties of grapes that our members are now growing,” said Doug Mabry, the association’s CEO. “These will include Blanc Du Bois, Lenoir and Norton. We’ll have a special toast to the reopening of the depot with Blanc Du Bois Madeira wine.”
Carrollton City Manager Casey Coleman said the train depot renovation will be completed enough for Friday’s wine tasting event, although work still remains on some parts of the building.
“The parking lot has been paved, which will have about 30 spaces,” Coleman said.
Mabry said these spaces will be reserved for handicap parking. He said parking will be available on Bradley Street at the city hall parking lot and at the city’s two downtown parking decks.
Mabry said the first crops of West Georgia grapes will be harvested next year and wine produced in the fall. He said American Heritage hybrid grapes are being grown since the French variety of grapes don’t do well in this area.
The tasting event will also include hors d’oeuvres from the Little Hawaiian Restaurant and $20 raffle tickets for a Savannah, Ga., vacation for two. The winner will receive two nights’ hotel accommodations, breakfast, city tours, riverboat cruise, museum admission, a $100 gas card and all taxes and handling charges.
Mabry said drawing for the vacation would be held near the end of the wine tasting, but the winner does not have to be present. Other door prizes will be given throughout the event.
“Come early and visit the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum near the city hall parking lot,” he said. “After the tasting, you can go back up Bradley Street a few blocks to Adamson Square and a wide variety of unique top end restaurants.”
The Saturday vineyard and winery economics workshop will begin at 9 a.m. at the Carroll County Ag Center, 900 Newnan Road, Carrollton, near the Highway 166 bypass.
Cindy Norton, agri-tourism manager for Georgia Department of Agriculture, will open the meeting. Joe Smith, a winery consultant with Serenity Cellars in Cleveland, Ga., will talk about winery startups.
Mabry will present case studies of two successful wineries, Cavendar Creek Winery in Dahlonega, Ga., and Fruithurst Winery in Fruithurst, Ala.
Cheryl Smith, tourism regional project manager of the Georgia Tourism Division, Georgia Department of Economic Development, will speak on the economic impact of wineries on local tourism.
The final presentation will be an association update, with a general membership meeting and discussion of planned 2013 projects, conducted by Mabry.
The program will conclude with a question and answer session about 11:35 a.m., with drawing for door prizes at 11:45 a.m.