Tiger Mountain Vineyards, a boutique North Georgia winery, cultivates all of its grapes and produces all of its handcrafted wines right here in the mountains of Rabun County. The winery, along with its historic Red Barn Cafe, is owned by native Georgians, the Ezzard and McMullan families.
In January of 2009, John and Marilyn McMullan joined the Ezzards as partners in the winery. A principal with Camden Properties in Atlanta, John McMullan brings his successful and varied business experience to Tiger Mountain Vineyards and serves as our new Chief Financial Officer. His wife Marilyn contributes her gifted palate to our fine wines and her artists eye to the ambiance of our winery. Together, the Ezzards and McMullans created a new business strategy and in 2011 began refurbishing the historic 75-year-old barn into what is now our new cafe and events venue.
Dr. John began planting European vinifera grapes in 1995 on his five-generation-old farm at Tiger Mountain where he was born. He and his wife Martha, with the assistance of a successful Virginia vineyard, carefully selected the varieties of grapes suited to the climate of the southern Blue Ridge, creating the first vinifera vineyard in the state. Tiger Mountain Vineyards now grows six French vinifera varieties: Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Mourvedre, Petit Manseng, Tannat, and Viognier, as well as the Portuguese Touriga Nacional. In addition to the European varieties, John also planted the American Norton grape, native to Virginia. The first Norton vines were rooted from Virginia cuttings. Nine acres in total were planted, all by hand. Now, Martha, an environmental lawyer and author, is focusing on growing the hardy Norton grapes free of chemicals.
John, our winemaker, is best known for introducing Petit Manseng to the state of Georgia. Called “a new southern classic” by Wines and Vines Magazine (Nov. 2011), Petit Manseng is ideally suited to the regions terroir. Tiger Mountain Vineyards is currently the only producer of this unique white wine in Georgia.
A divided trellis system allows an abundance of sun and air to move through the vines. The 2,000 foot altitude, mineral-rich soils and well-drained slopes are the perfect terroir for impeccable fruit.
Tiger Mountain Vineyards is proud of the old-world methods used in creating our handcrafted wines. We produce traditional dry wines in the European style from each of our grape varieties, three red blends, and an award-winning semi-dry Rose as well as a late-harvest dessert wine. Our red wines are fermented in small-batch open tanks. Each tank is meticulously monitored and tended by hand. White wines are fermented in French oak barrels and bottled precisely when the desired crispness is achieved. We barrel age our reds for two years in American oak. All of our wines are delicately pressed using water pressure. While continuing to focus on traditional methods, Tiger Mountain Vineyards has recently invested in expert consultation so that we may continue improving each new vintage of our top-quality wines.
We take great pride in our outstanding staff: Lisa Ezzard, Vineyard Manager and Winemaker; Red Barn Chef ÊLeon Lemoine; Webmaster Tom Lamb; Sydney Gooder, social media coordinator; Tasting Room staffers Debbie Brunnen, Jim Campbell, Bill Brickell, Michele Allen, Jinky Anderson, and college intern Nyla Graham.