My family loves to go up to Ellijay when it’s a beautiful weekend. There are cute little shops to visit, plenty of orchards, and, of course, wineries. There are wineries in abundance, but I’ve only ever been to one (and for a very good reason): Engelheim.
I’m not sure why my parents stopped by the first time a few years ago. The vineyard is owned by Gary and Jan Engel. Gary served in the military, and they purchased the land and got started once they retired. Gary and Jan are two of the kindest people you will ever meet.
This past weekend, my family got out of the house and spent the afternoon in Ellijay. Normally, this is touch and go because it means my niece doesn’t get her nap. After the world’s longest lunch and some shopping, we decided to stop in at Engelheim on the way home. It was busy, so my mom grabbed a table outside to give Ellie the space to run around. After just a few minutes in the Georgia summer heat, we decided to go inside and grab a table there. Tucked away in the corner, we were able to enjoy our wine and Ellie still got to walk around and “socialize”.
Jan and Gary were making the rounds separately. Jan comes up to us and her sweet dog Coco comes as well. We start talking, and it gets around to Ellie. She says that her niece writes children’s books, and she has a new one about “Ella”. “That’s close to Ellie! Let me run up to the house and get it.”
You guys. Jan was so sweet that she went all the way back to her house to get a book to give to my niece because her name was close to the one in the book.
Gary was making his rounds as well. My brother in law’s service generally comes up. With Gary serving previously, he’s always interested in learning of where Aaron is and how he’s doing. The Engels have four grandchildren of their own, and Gary mentioned how happy he is that people like us bring Ellie in and really make it a family environment. They even mentioned that their daughter comes to work on weekends and holidays, though she has a “big girl” job of her own.
Engelheim Vineyards is a passion project for these wonderful people. They make you feel welcome as soon as you arrive. Tucked away in Ellijay, Georgia, you should absolutely make the detour and have a glass. The wine is absolutely delicious and the owners are just too kind. If you can’t make it up there, their wines are sold in some Whole Foods now as well!