Pocketed in a little corner of northeast Georgia on roughly 46 acres of family land, Matthew and Lindsey Vrahiotes are changing history by opening Hall County’s first farm winery. Starting out as a family farm growing berries, bees, and more, they have now branched out into the winery business and we, and our taste buds, are thrilled! Opening in mere months, Sweet Acre Farms Winery will include a wide selection of country wines, good company, and I even hear there’s a karaoke stage underway!
So, what’s better than homegrown wine, live karaoke, and socializing with friends? Knowing that at this farm winery resides an HSNEGA alumni! Sammy, an American Bulldog/Lab mix, was adopted from HSNEGA a little over 3 years ago by Matthew. Starting out as a farm dog, Sammy has now been crowned “Ambassadog” of the winery with his very own wine named after him!
We had the chance to visit Sammy at the farm and see the new building being built (which looks AMAZING!). Sammy is extremely excited and I was able to snag a quick interview with him about life on the farm and soon-to-be winery!
What does a typical day at the farm consist of for you?
“Generally, I love running around greeting everyone that comes by. I’m a social butterfly (speaking of butterflies have you seen the one I was chasing earlier?). After I’ve done my duties as the host I take a quick nap, but not too long because I don’t want to miss all the fun. After waking up from dreaming about berries, bees, and play time, I continue greeting and purrviding kisses. At the end of the day I like to sit at the top of the hill, ponder life and think about all the cool people I got to meet. I also am constantly scouting for thieves like squirrels and birds.”
You have a bottle of blackberry wine inspired by you called “Bramblin’ Sam” which is a blackberry apple wine. Can you tell us a little bit about how you had a bottle of wine named after you?
“In the summer my parents love to host U-Pick events, in which people come and pick blackberries and blueberries. The blackberry bush area is my favorite place to play in, so as everypawdy walks through picking their berries, I like to have a look to make sure that they’re getting the best berries they can find! I’m sort of like the blackberry supurrvisor if you will! I will even purrform taste tests to make sure they’re ripe enough! (I don’t eat them; just do a little chomp to test the consistency). Given that I’m prone to hiding among the blackberries, I’m paw-sitive that Bramblin’ Sam Blackberry Apple Wine will be a success!”
What other kinds of wine are made at Sweet Acres?
“We carry strawberry, peach, apple, blueberry, muscadine and, of course, my favorite, blackberry. We also carry a line of lemonade-style wines called “Quittin’ Time” which is unique because you don’t hear of too many lemon-flavored wines around here! Also what makes it so special is that we don’t use concentrate… we use all natural lemon juice! So, while I may not be a fan of lemon, I hear our “Quittin’ Time” lemon-based wines are PAWesome! And even though I personally believe Bramblin’ Sam is the purrfect wine, I hear a lot of buzz (and not just from the bees!) about our Lemon Blueberry wine in particular.”
How long does it take to make a bottle of wine?
“It takes about one to 1.5 years to make a bottle of wine. That’s SEVEN dog years! That’s like…a bazillion rounds of fetch! Why they choose to make wine rather than play with me I will never understand… I suppaws it’s so they can feed me and get me toys and get gas so they can drive me around and feed themselves so they can have enough energy to play with me.”
When is the winery scheduled to open?
“Construction is scheduled to be finished by early March. I personally love the construction process because there are sooo many things to play in… there’s dirt, rocks, and more dirt!.. however, I am much more looking forward to the grand opening because of all the people I’ll get to greet and play with! April is when the grand-opening will be so please everypawdy come see me! Oh, and enjoy the wine too. I hear Bramblin’ Sam is good.” *wink*
Sweet Acre Farms Winery is scheduled to have its grand opening in April, but until then you can find their wine at a wide variety of places including Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, GA, Cavender Creek Vineyards in Dahlonega, GA, Downtown Drafts in Gainesville, GA and Green’s Grocery in Gainesville, GA.
When the winery does open, be sure to go… Sammy will be waiting to greet you at the gate!
Written by Nikki Means, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern