Georgia on my mind - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

April 11, 2022

Georgia on my mind

Starke, FL to Paulk Vineyards, Georgia

It was time to move on today and by 10:30, the bikes were loaded and we were headed north. We're actually finally leaving Florida after spending a month and half there. 

It was an interesting drive as we didn't take the interstate but stayed on smaller roads that ran through a number of little towns. As we moved north, the woods changed, with the live oaks and Spanish moss disappearing.

There was more cleared land now with fields that hadn't yet been planted. They grow peanuts, cotton, some tobacco, corn, soybeans and other crops here. There were also a number of pecan groves but no peach orchards yet (although we're a little early for peach season). 

After winding our way around on even smaller roads, we made it to our destination - the Paulk Vinyards. They're a Harvest Host and allow traveling RV'ers to park for the night on their property at no cost.

The field they directed us to was a little uneven so it took Don awhile to jockey us around to find a sort of level spot. When we got situated, he put out the awning and our chairs. We're not bothering to move the bikes outside so things are a little crowded in the trailer. We'll also just do an easy cold chicken salad for dinner tonight.

Then we walked over to the store to do some wine tasting. While we made our way through about 10 different varieties, the employee told us all about the history of the winery. 

Paulk Vinyeards is the world's largest muscadine vineyard in the world and has over 600 acres of grapes! Six generations of the Paulk family has farmed this land, growing crops ranging from cotton, peanuts and soybeans, and a wide variety of fruits. 

In 1970, the first grape vines were planted and the winery has grown from there. They sell everything from fresh grapes in the summer to processing them into juices,jam, jellies, and supplements. The winery is known for its' award winning wines.

I later read that Georgia is the largest producer of muscadine grapes in the nation with over 1,100 acres. Muscadines are known as the American wild grapes and are native to the SE part of the country. They are well adapted to the warm and humid climate. Normally purple in color, a bronze colored variety was found along the Scuppernong River in North Carolina and was thus named the Scuppernong grape. 

The grapes contain high levels of reversatrol (reduces the risk of abnormal cells and heart disease), Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B and other minerals. 

Since one of the things that's kind of encouraged while staying at a Harvest Host is to purchase any product they might sell. Okay, bring on the wine!!

They make a variety of wines from dry, to semi-sweet to sweet and a port dessert wine. Since we both prefer the sweet wines, we stayed with those types. And BOY - were they GOOD!! 

We tasted for a couple of hours and ended up buying a case of wine, as the prices were so reasonable. I mean - $10.00 for a bottle is unheard of at some of the wineries we've visited. But the pourings were very generous which left me feeling a bit loopy. Doesn't take much to affect me!

Out front, I talked to a couple that were doing a road ride in the area. We had noticed that the country side roads around here had very little traffic and that overall, it looked like an ideal spot to do some cycling. They concurred. 

Too bad we can only stay here for one night. But we'll flag it as an area to maybe return to in the future if we can find a campground to stay at. And of course, buy more wine!

Back at the trailer, we enjoyed a quiet evening on our patio as the sun set over the vines and occasional tractors rumbled by on the road.  What a beautiful place!

Our home for the night.
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They have over 600 acres of muscadine grapes.
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Some vines looked to be older ones that were very thick.
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The vineyard also grows strawberries as they make a strawberry wine. They have a separate u-pick field. These berries looked and smelled luscious, but unfortunately I'm allegeric to the fruit.
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Their drier wines are named for different couples in the family. Sweet wines like the blackberry variety are named for the road where the wild berries are picked.
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They have a huge processing facility.
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Our spot for tonight.
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