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Get on track with The Railcar Red Wine

Posted on 06/26/2019 by Jean Sexton

In honor of George Vanderbilt's personal ties to the American railroad industry—and as a complement to our Biltmore Gardens Railway exhibition—Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak has handcrafted a powerful new red wine that's just the ticket for sipping and savoring with your favorite foods.

The Railcar Red Wine and Biltmore Gardens RailwayThe Railcar Red Wine is an elegant complement to Biltmore Gardens Railway

A powerful red blend

"The Railcar Red Wine is a distinctive blend crafted predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Sirah," said Sharon. "I selected fruit from our vineyard partners in Dry Creek Valley and Mendocino—two outstanding grape-growing regions in California's wine country." 

As soon as you uncork The Railcar Red Wine, you'll experience its earthy bouquet that includes hints of caramel, vanilla, plum, black cherry, and baking spice.

On tasting this medium-to-large bodied garnet-colored wine, you'll discover bright cherry, plum, and dried fruit flavors up front, a bit of spice, and nice full tannins that make it an excellent pairing partner with barbecue, smoked meats, and pasta with red sauce.

A distinctive label

"When we first talked about creating this wine, we knew it would need a special label that showcased how distinctive it is," noted Jill Whitfield, Senior Marketing Manager, Biltmore Wines. "With that in mind, we reached out to Asheville, North Carolina, artist Bryan Koontz to see what he envisioned for The Railcar."

Train sketches by Asheville artist Bryan KoontzBryan refines his graphite concept sketches for The Railcar Red Wine 

Getting on track with a local artist

In addition to being an exceptional artist who created original artwork for our 2018 Christmas at Biltmore Wine labels and our 2019 Spring Release label, Bryan is a train aficionado whose detailed illustrations of trains have appeared in books depicting the historic development of railroads in this country.

Refined train sketches by Asheville artist Bryan KoontzTransitioning from a graphite sketch to watercolor 

Concepts and sketches

He's particularly knowledgeable about the types of steam engines that would have been in use in George Vanderbilt's day, and he drew on that knowledge to create several concepts that he began to refine with a final destination in mind.

"I knew about George Vanderbilt's railway connections," said Bryan, "and that he had his own private railcar. That was the height of luxury at that time, to commission a custom-made railcar and travel in style anywhere a train could take you!"

Bryan's initial concepts and early sketches were rendered in graphite to provide the crisp clarity that characterizes his work. It's a medium that lends itself to creating all the tiny details of a vintage steam engine.

Artist Bryan Koontz works on The Railcar label in his studioBryan at work on the label in his studio

As the concept was refined toward its final iteration, Bryan used watercolors to bring the engine, its railcars, and the surrounding landscape to life. 

Final artwork for The Railcar label nears completionThe artwork for the new label nearing completion

The final version looks so real you can almost hear the engine coming down the track toward you—perhaps pulling George Vanderbilt's private railcar behind it! 

The Railcar Red Wine labelEnjoy all our wines

For a limited time, savor a complimentary taste of The Railcar Red Wine in the Tasting Room at Biltmore's Winery.

Purchase it and any of our other fine wines at estate shops, online, or find them close to home with our Retailer Locator.

-- Featured blog image: The Railcar Red Wine against a charming backdrop of Biltmore Gardens Railway

-- Finished label for The Railcar Red Wine, shown left

-- All images of artwork in progress provided courtesy of Asheville artist Bryan Koontz


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