Wine flies when you are having fun ...

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Harvest at Sharp Mountain Vineyards, a set on Flickr.

Several years ago, I stumbled upon a wonderful gem, Sharp Mountain Vineyards. The service was wonderful and the wine was excellent. Needless to say, I've been a customer ever since.

Established in 1995, owners Ron and Jody Rathgeb hand-craft fine wines in the old-world fashion. Sharp Mountain Vineyards' solitary focus is on creating exceptional wines and providing a friendly, comfortable atmosphere for its customers ... distinctive qualities, indeed.

Sharp Mountain Vineyards doesn't strive to increase production or branch out into a full-service event venue. Instead, this family-owned vineyard intentionally maintains a lower output capacity and focuses on only one thing: the wine.

Speaking of the wine, perhaps the biggest make-or-break decision made by a winemaker each vintage is deciding when to harvest the grapes. The chemistry of the freshly picked grapes largely determines the potential of a wine’s greatness, as well as the amount of work and attention needed in the winery to coax the wine to that elite quality level.

I had the pleasure of experiencing harvest at Sharp Mountain Vineyards on Sunday, September 1st. Ron, Jody, Ron's grandson and granddaughter, along with eleven volunteers were there to share in the joys of harvest. Mother Nature, however, had other plans, as she graced us with rain an hour into picking. But that didn't stop the wonderful energy of the day, we gathered in the tasting room and, well, drank wine until the rain stopped.

After two rounds of picking - dodging rain at first, then braving the showers - the Pinot Gris and Primitivo grapes were ready for the winemaking process. While Ron and his oenologists carefully sifted through the grapes, Jody handed the soggy volunteers towels and poured us a glass of wine.

We then gathered under the massive pavilion for a lovely lunch and, you guessed it ... wine. Ron surprised us with a sampling of the juice of the Pinot Gris grapes we picked ... ah, our first sip of the wine in which we helped make.

Beginning this fall, Sharp Mountain Vineyards will be available for small (75 people or less) weddings and events. For more information, please visit the website
http://www.sharpmountainvineyards.com.

I highly recommend a trip to Sharp Mountain Vineyards ... Ron and Jody will make you feel like you are at home. Cheers!

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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, Georgia's Own Credit Union, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.