I recently discovered this absolute gem of a place. Research for my previous article about the Hungarian Community in this area of Georgia (read here), brought me to Trillium Vineyards’ door one Saturday afternoon last month. I was intrigued because most of the wineries in Georgia are not in this area, even though they used to be. As or right now, Trillium is the only vineyard and winery in Haralson County.
My friend Susan and I were warmly greeted by the owners, Bruce and Karen Cross. The space that is the Tasting Room is absolutely stunning. Previously a barn, it is rustic and chic and makes you want to settle in and never leave. I wish I had taken more pictures, but here are some of the space. It sits on a beautiful piece of land with plenty of outdoor seating.
Having just opened its doors in August of 2017, they also had their first harvest in 2017. Having a winery and no wine to taste doesn’t really work out very well so Bruce purchased grapes from vineyards in Texas and made 6 wines to offer guests while the grapes he grew are busy fermenting and aging. We tasted through 5 of the wines and both Susan and I really enjoyed each one. One of the wines had already sold out – a dry Moscato that Bruce named Woolgathering. So unusual! I would have loved to try it and hope to get the chance in the future. To the right, you will see the current options and description of each. Susan and I both purchased the Forever Friends and I also took home a bottle of the Huckster.
Just this week Trillium posted on their social media accounts that they won three Double Gold awards and one Silver award at the Texas International Wine Competition!
Bruce and Karen were pharmacists in their previous life. Karen grew up right here in Bremen. Trillium Vineyards is named for theTrillium flower — Karen’s favorite flower from walks with her Aunt when she was young. The entire concept of the vineyard is based on the Trinity represented in the flower and also by friendship. Their flagship wine, Forever Friends is a tribute to this. The label includes the Trillium flower and the Celtic symbol for friendship.
If you like to get a little geeky about grapes, I think you will find this a little bit interesting. Bruce is growing some unusual varietals in his vineyard. So unusual, that I couldn’t recall the names, but I did find reference to two of them on their website: Blanc du Bois and Lenoir. I am by no means a viticulture expert, but I was intrigued by these varietals because I know enough to know that they are not common. Bruce tried to explain a little bit about them but I was sampling his delicious wine and not retaining information – haha. I did remember that he mentioned that they are not Vitis Vinifera, and this too, is very unusual. A little research revealed the following.
The Blanc du Bois grape and the LeNoir grape both belong to the Vitis Aesteivalis species. This is interesting because the vast majority of wine grapes in the world are grown on Vitis Vinifera rootstock. This is because Vitis Vinifera is resistant to Phylloxora — a plague that entirely eradicated vineyards across Europe in the late 1800s. The Vitis Aesteivalis varietals are resistant to a different disease – Pierce’s Disease – which is a more present danger to grape growers in southern states (or anywhere that can have a mild winter). Pierce’s Disease is fatal to the vines it affects can spread quickly over an entire vineyard.
I know I lost some of you with this grape geek speak, but this is another difference that I think makes Trillium unique. I don’t think many other Georgia wineries, if any, are growing these two varietals.
Trillium is currently open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for tasting, however, they host a variety of events every week, including a guided tour from Bruce himself. Check out upcoming events here. You can also host your own private event here and, as stated above, the setting is absolutely stunning.
They have a wine club that has events just for members. Wine Club Manager, Sherri Boon, mentioned that they will be having an event in February for Wine Club Members to taste the wines being made from the 2017 harvest. If getting a sneak peak (taste) of these wines is not incentive enough, Sherri pointed out that members will be a part of history as they will be the first people since Prohibition to drink wine from grapes that were grown and produced in Haralson County. I don’t know about you, but I love this sort of thing.
Trillium is only about an hour from Cobb County, an easy and beautiful drive. I sincerely hope that Bruce and Karen are the pioneers that will make Haralson County a booming grape growing region once again. But, even if they remain the only winery in the area, it is worth the drive to visit them.