Taste The Terroir Of Biltmore Wines

When you taste the terroir of Biltmore wines, you’re tasting some of the oldest terroir in the world in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Terroir refers to the complete natural environment in which the grapes for wine are grown and in which the wines themselves are produced and aged. It includes factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.

Long established among European winegrowers, the concept of terroir is becoming more important in the U.S. and other nations.

Interestingly, there is no exact translation of terroir from its French language origins—it loosely means “a sense of place,” and can be as broad as an entire region or as narrow as a few rows in a specific vineyard.

What is the terroir of Biltmore wines?

Grapes ripening in Biltmore's vineyard
Grapes ripening in Biltmore’s vineyard

Biltmore’s acreage—including the vineyard—is classified as a Low and Intermediate Mountain System between 1,400–4,600 feet above sea level with soil influenced by elevation, slope aspect, exposure, and vegetation. As part of the ancient Appalachian Mountain chain that formed 480 billion years ago, the Blue Ridge Mountains feature lower elevations and a soft, weathered appearance that shows much they’ve worn away over the years.

When George Vanderbilt’s grandson William A.V. Cecil envisioned developing an estate vineyard and winery, he felt it should be possible to grow grapes at Biltmore.

In his book Lady on the Hill, Cecil wrote that “Asheville was about the same latitude as Gibraltar in the Mediterranean, and with an altitude between 2,100 and 2,500 feet, the fields of the estate would enjoy warm days and cool nights in the summer.”

West coast advantages

California partner vineyard
Partner vineyards in California

Unlike the conditions of the Mediterranean and other classic grape-growing regions, however, the climate of Western North Carolina is notoriously unpredictable, averaging 47 inches of rain per year—more than twice the average amount that falls in Napa Valley.

In addition to a drier climate, California growers have another advantage when it comes to terroir: the geologic age of the area is much “younger” than that of the east coast. Wine grapes typically fare better in lower-nutrient, more alkaline soils preferably with gravelly or rocky substrates.

The idea is that the plants’ roots will grow deeper in such circumstances to seek nutrients and water, allowing the plant and eventually the fruit to express the unique characteristics of the specific location that the grower has chosen.

“Our west coast vineyard partners like those in Cienega Valley have the benefits of a maritime climate and rocky soils that create more intensity and richness in the grapes,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Wine Manager. “They may have lower yields there, but flavors develop more fully.”

Climate affects terroir

Picking red grapes at Biltmore
Grapes being picked by hand in Biltmore’s vineyard

“Soil and climate have significant impact on grape quality, but climate is the more important factor at Biltmore,” said Philip Oglesby, Vineyard Supervisor. Grapes can be more reactive to certain weather conditions than some crops, but when the weather is right in Western North Carolina, the fruit produced in our vineyards is exceptional.”

Try any of our Biltmore Reserve wines, such as Biltmore Reserve® Cabernet Sauvignon North Carolina, handcrafted from estate-grown grapes, and you’ll taste not only the character of the varietal, but the distinctive influence of our unique Blue Ridge Mountain terroir.

Fun Fact

The state soil of North Carolina is known as Cecil soil. Named for Cecil County, Maryland where the soil type was first documented rather than the family name of George Vanderbilt’s descendants, it is nonetheless a delightful coincidence that Biltmore’s vineyard and Winery are rooted in Cecil soil!

Purchase Biltmore® Reserve wines now and taste the terroir!

Bottles of Biltmore Reserve Rose North Carolina wine
Only wines handcrafted from estate-grown grapes earn our Biltmore® Reserve label

Find Biltmore wines, including Biltmore® Reserve wines, in estate shops and online.

Celebrate Biltmore’s Tree-Raising Tradition Virtually

This year, Biltmore invites you once again to join us online to celebrate our tree-raising tradition virtually!

“One of our most beloved Christmas at Biltmore traditions is raising and decorating the grand Banquet Hall tree,” said Lizzie Borchers, Floral Manager.

Man in Biltmore hat helps raise the Banquet Hall Christmas tree
Wade Ledford, a retired member of Biltmore’s Engineering Services team, enjoys returning each year to help raise the Banquet Hall Christmas tree

“George Vanderbilt first welcomed friends and family to Biltmore House on Christmas Eve 1895,” Lizzie said, “so we want to celebrate by sharing a closer look at the process, including many behind-the-scenes details.”

Experience this year’s tree raising virtually

With the health and safety of our guests and employees in mind, we’ve created a Christmas mini-documentary to give you an exciting virtual view of this 35-foot Fraser fir’s journey to become the seasonal centerpiece in America’s Largest Home®.

Celebrating Christmas at Biltmore

Christmas decorations on the mantel in the Music Room of Biltmore House
The Music Room is transformed by Floral Designer Cristy Leonard’s interpretation of the carol “We Three Kings”

Biltmore’s Floral Displays team developed a special “Christmas Carol” theme, using an array of traditional seasonal songs that were as popular in the last century as they are today, to create the décor in America’s Largest Home.

The Vestibule, Entry Hall, and Winter Garden feature inspiration from Deck the Halls because the words “boughs of holly” reflect George Vanderbilt’s request for “barrels of mistletoe and wagonloads of holly” to decorate his new home.

Sheet music decoration on Christmas tree
This year’s decorating theme in Biltmore House is “Christmas Carols,” so look for ornamental details like sheet music and instruments

“Look for the traditional reds and greens of the season as you enter,” said Floral Designer Lesley Tobar. “And be inspired to deck your own halls!”

Star of the show

For 2021, the Floral team once again used an enormous eight-pointed Bethlehem star, custom built by Jason Pleva, a member of Biltmore’s carpentry team, as the decorative topper for the 35-foot-tall Banquet Hall Christmas tree.

Christmas tree topper
Lucinda Ledford (right) and her teammates adjust the 8-pointed golden star atop Biltmore’s largest Christmas tree

“I chose The 12 Days of Christmas as inspiration for interpreting the Banquet Hall,” said Lucinda Ledford, Floral Designer. “In addition to traditional Christmas colors of red and green, I included shades of gold,” Lucinda noted, “so the beautiful golden star was a perfect complement for the tree.”

Golden wreaths above the Banquet Hall fireplace
Inspired by “The 12 Days of Christmas,” Lucinda placed five golden wreaths on the mantel

“The Banquet Hall features other details from the beloved carol, like these five golden ring-like wreaths on the fireplace mantel,” said Lucinda.

Make it jolly

Biltmore House Library mantel hung with stockings
Cheerful stockings and fringed swags on the mantel lighten the formal tone of the Library this holiday season

Biltmore Floral team member Don Holloway chose the Christmas décor in the Library with inspiration from Jolly Old St. Nicholas, a lively carol that always sets a cheerful mood.

“I chose classic reds, greens, and golds for this room that displays about half of the 23,000 books that George Vanderbilt collected,” said Don, “but I also allowed the playfulness of the song to shine through, lightening the formal tone of the Library.”

Suggestions of stained glass

The Oak Sitting Room, decorated for the holidays in Biltmore House
Translucent jewel-tone ornaments suggest stained glass and complement the vivid tones of the Oak Sitting Room

Inspired by the carol O Holy Night, Kyla Dana, Floral Supervisor, selected jewel-toned decorations to complement the rich, vibrant colors of the recently restored Oak Sitting Room.

“The worshipful tone of that song led me to think about All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village, which has many ties to the Vanderbilt family. The translucent ornaments I chose for the Oak Sitting Room represent the stained glass windows in the church.”

Magnificent details

Hanging Christmas lights on the Banquet Hall tree in Biltmore House
Once the Banquet Hall tree is in place, strings of lights are added with help from team members in the Organ Loft

“These are just a few of the magnificent details we’ll have ready for you,” said Lizzie. “So whether you’re able to visit in person or simply enjoy seeing our updates on Facebook and Instagram, Christmas at Biltmore and Candlelight Christmas Evenings add a lot of excitement to the holiday season.”

Virtual entertaining ideas

Three friends in front of a Christmas tree with Biltmore wines and charcuterie
Whether you’re gathering with friends or hosting a virtual celebration, Biltmore has plenty of holiday hospitality inspiration!

In addition to our virtual tree-raising event, we’ve also created a special video to help you host a virtual wine tasting at home. To make it even easier, select our Virtual Wine Tasting Set featuring each of the wines from the video.

Our Biltmore Tree Raising Wine Trio makes a great gift
Savor the delights of our 2021 Tree Raising Wine Trio

We’re also offering a Tree-Raising Wine Trio to help you celebrate our virtual event (or your own tree raising festivities), plus our 2021 Seasoned with Cheer holiday hospitality guide filled with inspirational ideas for perfect pairings, gracious gatherings, and gift-giving suggestions to make the season even more merry.

Pair Biltmore Wine with Cookies for Holiday Cheer

‘Tis the season to pair Biltmore wine with your favorite cookies to create plenty of holiday cheer!

Pairing wine and cookies

“Whether you’re baking at home, participating in a neighborhood cookie swap, or sending sweets to someone far away, our wine and cookie pairing ideas are the perfect way to pour on the cheer this holiday season,” said Courtney Miller, Vanderbilt Wine Club® Manager.

Bottles of Biltmore wine, cookies, and other foods
Pour on the cheer by pairing Biltmore wines with cookies this holiday season

In the recipes below, we’ve paired each cookie with Biltmore wine to make it even easier to match the distinctive flavors with wines that complements them.

“Go ahead and sweeten the season by purchasing Biltmore wines,” advised Courtney, “then bake some cookies, or snag similar styles from your local bakery; we won’t tell!”

Pour on the holiday cheer

According to Courtney, you generally choose a wine that’s a little sweeter than the treat with which you plan to pair it, but richer, heavier sweets can stand up to dryer wines.

“Either way, you’ll be ready to savor a sophisticated treat for the holidays,” Courtney said. “And if you upgrade Santa’s usual glass of milk to a glass of Biltmore wine, I’m pretty sure he’ll add you to his ‘nice’ list!”


Gingersnap cookies paired with Biltmore Estate Riesling
Spice up your holiday wine and cookie pairings by serving Honey Gingersnaps with Biltmore Estate® Riesling!

Honey Gingersnap Cookies

Heidi Badger, Pastry Sous Chef at Cedric’s® Tavern, developed this recipe. “These honey gingersnaps are soft, tender, and nicely spiced, especially if you use freshly grated ginger. The honey flavor is very subtle,” said Heidi.

Chef Heidi recommends serving these traditional holiday favorites with lightly sweet wines such as our delightful Biltmore Estate® Riesling.

Yield: approximately 3 dozen cookies
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1½-2 hours (includes 1-hour chill time)

Ingredients
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 large egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger or freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Method
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and honey until fluffy. Mix in egg and set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir into wet ingredients until combined.

Chill dough for 1 hour or until slightly firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Biltmore Estate Limited Release Petite Sirah paired with holiday cookies
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside–these chocolate cookies pair perfectly with our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Petite Sirah

Flourless Fudgy Chocolate Mudslide Cookies

“These cookies have a rich, intense chocolate flavor, especially when enhanced by the coffee liqueur,” said Angie Chan, Pastry Chef, Deerpark/Amherst/Lioncrest/Biltmore Catering. “They feature a crispy outer shell that reminds me of meringue and a fudgy, soft interior. Because the recipe is already flourless, the cookies can be made gluten free.”

For a match made in heaven, Chef Angie suggests pairing these rich chocolate cookies with red wines like our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Petite Sirah.

Yield: approximately 2 dozen cookies
Preparation Time: about 15 minutes
Total Time: about 2 hours (includes 1-hour chill time)

Ingredients
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup cocoa powder
3 egg whites
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur or coffee syrup*
1–2 tablespoons milk

*Coffee syrup: dissolve 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder with 1/3 cup sugar in 1/3 cup hot water. Allow to cool and use the same amount noted in the recipe.

Method
In a large bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites, coffee liqueur, and vanilla extract until lightly foamy. Combine wet and dry mixtures and stir until well mixed. Dough will be very thick and sticky once it comes together. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to help with mixing, if needed.

Add in the chocolate chips and refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and coat with a thin layer of non-stick vegetable oil spray to prevent sticking.

Scoop 1 tablespoon worth of dough and place onto prepared cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the top is slightly cracked and dry. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Lemon-Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat wine paired with Lemon-Cranberry Shortbread cookies
Pair these citrus-and-cranberry-kissed shortbread cookies with our lightly sweet Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Orange Muscat

For an updated version of a classic treat, Chef Angie also created Lemon-Cranberry Shortbread Cookies with bright hints of citrus and the tart tang of cranberries.

“There’s nothing more perfect for the holidays than shortbread cookie like this with fresh flavors to lighten the richness of the recipe,” Chef Angie said. “In addition, they pair perfectly with the hints of tropical fruit in our lightly sweet Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Orange Muscat.

Yield: about 2 dozen
Preparation Time: about 15 minutes
Total Time: about 2 hours (includes 1-hour chill time)

Ingredients
1¾ cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon extract (or fresh-squeezed lemon juice as substitute)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ teaspoon salt

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar, butter, and lemon extract together until light and fluffy.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until just combined. Add lemon zest and milk, mix well. Gently fold in the dried cranberries. Mixture will be crumbly.

Work dough by hand into a ball and then roll into a log about 2-3 inches thick. Wrap with parchment or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Once dough is chilled and firm, use a sharp knife to carefully slice dough into about ½-inch pieces and place onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart.

Bake for approximately 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Enjoy Biltmore wines this holiday season!

Biltmore wines and cookies
Enjoy perfect pairings with Biltmore wine and cookies this holiday season

Whether you’re pairing them with cookies, entertaining friends, or simply enjoying a peaceful glass by a crackling fire, you’ll find all our award-winning Biltmore wines in our estate shops, online, and close to home with our Retail Locator.

For a special gift for yourself and others, consider joining our Vanderbilt Wine Club®. You’ll enjoy hand-selected Biltmore wines delivered to your door each season, plus all the other privileges membership brings.


Select Special Gifts They’re Sure to Savor!

Let Biltmore’s experts in holiday hospitality help you select special gifts that your recipients are sure to savor. From thoughtful thank-you gifts to perfect pairings and more, we’ve got everything you need to uncork the cheer all season long.

We asked Natalie Hackney, Vice President of Retail, and Alisha Forester, Wine Sales Director, for recommendations on selecting special gifts for everyone you want to delight during your seasonal celebrations. Here are some of their personal favorites:


Gifts for Her

Couple gives woman a gift bag with Biltmore wine
Give her special gifts–including our award-winning wines–from Biltmore this holiday season!

“For all the ladies on your gift list this season, we’ve got everything from award-winning Biltmore wines to estate-inspired jewelry, elegant handbags, and more,” said Natalie.


Gifts for Him

Man holding a glass of red wine
Surprise the men in your life with special gifts from Biltmore to celebrate the season

“If you’re looking for gifts for guys during the holidays, consider a mix of Biltmore wines, gourmet foods, and a selection of our delicious seasonings, rubs, and sauces,” Alisha advised.


Gifts for Kids

Biltmore sparkling grape juice with star ornament
Biltmore Sparkling Grape Juice is a perfect gift for the kids on your list (or anyone who prefers an option without alcohol)

“We’ve got so many ideas for the young, and the young at heart, that it’s hard to choose!” said Natalie. “But the following list is a fun selection filled with estate-related items that many ages can enjoy.”


Gifts for Foodies

Biltmore wines and charcuterie board
All the foodies on your list are sure to love delicious pairings with Biltmore wines and gourmet goodies

“The holidays offer so many opportunities for foodies that it’s easy to give gifts of good taste with perfect pairings of Biltmore wines, serving accessories, and gourmet delights,” Alisha said.


Gifts for Wine Enthusiasts

Biltmore Grown Beef Brisket with a bottle of The Hunt
Perfect pairings: The Hunt Red Blend Sonoma County and Biltmore Grown Beef Brisket


“We know how important fine vintages are to wine enthusiasts, and these are wines you’ll want to share with those who appreciate the craft of winemaking. As for a gift membership to our Vanderbilt Wine Club®, your recipient will thank you all year round!” said Natalie.


Gifts under $50

Facebook fans helped choose the labels on Biltmore Christmas wine
The 2021 Christmas at Biltmore wines makes a perfect gift for someone special

“In this category, we’ve got some delightful wines that make great gifts,” said Alisha. “The three I’m recommending are lightly sweet and pair perfectly with holiday desserts, as well as being a thoughtful way to thank your host for including you in a seasonal celebration.”


Gifts under $100

Antler Hill wines with plates and glasses
Handcrafted with premium vintages from the finest growing regions, Antler Hill® wines offer extraordinary taste and excellent aging potential. The handsome label is reproduced from a sporting print in George Vanderbilt’s collection.

“If you want to give someone a very special gift during the season, our Antler Hill® wines are truly extraordinary. You can savor them now, or allow them to mature and deepen with time,” Natalie said.


Gifts for Biltmore Enthusiasts

Bottle of Biltmore Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and two glasses
Handcrafted from estate-grown grapes, Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is aged 18 months in oak

“This is a special category,” said Alisha, “because these are the folks who love Biltmore in every season! We’ve selected some wonderful wines that they’re sure to savor, whether giving or receiving them as special gifts.”


Seasoned with Cheer


Group of friends toasting with Biltmore wine
With Biltmore wines, all your gatherings are seasoned with cheer!

In addition to these ideas, find more inspiration and stock up on award-winning Biltmore wines for all your celebrations with our Seasoned with Cheer guide to holiday hospitality.

Holiday Décor Ideas from Biltmore and Balsam Hill

Once again, Biltmore® and Balsam Hill® have teamed up to help with all your holiday décor ideas, from beautiful basics to helpful hints that tie it all together.

An expert partnership

“Our holiday decorating traditions are always something we look forward to sharing,” said Lizzie Borchers, Biltmore Floral Manager, “and as you prepare to deck your own halls, we hope you’ll be inspired not only by Christmas at Biltmore, but also by our partnership with the experts at Balsam Hill. Together, we can offer helpful ideas for filling your home with the spirit of the season!”

Choose your holiday décor theme

Three decorated Christmas trees by Balsam Hill

Featured: Biltmore Spruce Tree, Biltmore Legacy Sapphire & Gold Ornaments, Ribbon, Tree Skirt

“Consider your theme and the type of decorations you want to use, including ornaments and matching ribbons or garlands,” said Lizzie, “just like we do each year at Biltmore.”

For 2021, Lizzie and her team of talented floral designers chose “Christmas carols” as their theme to inspire the holiday décor in Biltmore House.

“You can find inspiration anywhere,” Lizzie noted, “from your interests and hobbies to a color you love or a time period that excites you.”

Since the Christmas tree is usually the central element of any holiday décor, Lizzie recommends completing the look of your tree by picking a tree topper and a skirt, collar, or replacement stand such as a galvanized tub or decorative basket that suits your overall theme.

Light up your holiday décor

Holiday decor: prelit Christmas trees by Balsam Hill

Featured: Silverado Slim Christmas Trees by Balsam Hill

“Pre-lit Christmas trees are a convenient option since they minimize the time you spend setting up,” said Jennifer Derry, Balsam Hill’s Executive Vice President of Product Merchandising, “and they provide effortless elegance and sparkle to your holiday décor.”

Jennifer also noted that you can choose between traditional incandescent lights or energy-efficient LEDs. “Go classic clear, multicolored, or look for pre-lit trees that offer twinkly light shows you can control from your phone,” she said.

5 expert tips for staying on track

Holiday decor: Biltmore Legacy Collection blue and gold ornaments

Featured: Biltmore Legacy Sapphire & Gold Ornament Set

Now that you’ve considered some of the basics of how you’d like to decorate, here’s are some tips to help you make the most of your time while creating the perfect holiday mood in your home:

  1. Choose a theme
    Start considering a theme as early as three months before Christmas. At Biltmore, we begin planning a year in advance to make sure we’re ready for the holiday season in America’s Largest Home®!
  2. Make an inventory of your collection
    After selecting a theme, list items needed and set a working budget. If you’re reusing existing decorations, check their condition and look for any damage. Test light bulbs and repair or replace anything as needed.
  3. Clean up before decorating
    It can be tiring to clean and decorate at the same time. If possible, clean the house a day or two before adding holiday décor. This makes the task easier and more enjoyable.
  4. Work with a team
    Ask for help from family members and friends to make setting up more manageable. Start with the big tasks first, and leave simpler jobs for last.
  5. Make time for gift wrapping
    For a special touch, consider matching your gift wrapping materials with your decorative theme. If you have young children or indoor pets, you may want to wait a day or two before Christmas to lay out the gifts.

Ready…set…decorate!

Woman fluffing the branches of an artificial Christmas tree
Take time to properly fluff up artificial trees and greenery–it makes a big difference in how good your holiday décor looks!

“One of the most important things we do when we begin decorating for Christmas at Biltmore is to properly fluff up the branches of any artificial Christmas trees or greenery before adding decorations,” said Lizzie. “It makes a world of difference in how full and natural your display looks.”

To prevent dislodging or breaking ornaments, Lizzie suggests working your way down from the top of the tree. Start with those items that need to be hung all the way around your tree, such as light strings, ribbons, and garlands.

Expert Tip: Spread out ornaments in various sections of your tree. Every once in a while, step back to check if everything looks balanced.

Holiday décor ideas to make your mantel merry

Holiday decor: Biltmore Gilded Stockings hanging on a mantel
Make your mantel merry with Biltmore Gilded Stockings

Featured: Biltmore Gilded Stockings

“Once you’ve decorated your Christmas tree, think about other focal points in the room,” said Jennifer. “A wreath above the fireplace mantel draws the eye and immediately establishes a holiday tone.”

The addition of garland or greenery softens the architectural details of the mantle and can also enhance family pictures or holiday collectibles you want to highlight in that space.

“One of my favorite holiday touches is to hang a group of stockings on the mantel,” Jennifer said. “It creates a merry mood and helps bring out the child-like wonder in all of us!”

Jennifer also suggests creating holiday scenes with tabletop accents like musical snow globes and figurines, noting that console tables also provide nice display areas for flameless candles, greenery, and more.

Expert Tip: Small details matter—they make your holiday décor individual to you and much more meaningful.

Find holiday décor and more!

Perfect pairings: Biltmore wine and cheeseboard gift
Perfect pairings: choose an elegant Biltmore cheeseboard and a favorite Biltmore vintage as a gift for someone special

We hope these ideas have helped you prepare for your own holiday decorating.

Look for more holiday décor inspiration throughout the season, plus browse the newest Biltmore Legacy Sapphire & Gold Collection by Balsam Hill featuring ornaments and accessories in glorious jewel tones that are sure to delight!

Find everything you need to celebrate the season, from award-winning wines and gourmet food to jewelry and gifts, in our Seasoned with Cheer holiday hospitality guide.

Featured image: Biltmore Spruce Tree, Biltmore Legacy Sapphire & Gold Ornaments, Ribbon, Tree Skirt


Celebrate Small Moments That Matter With Biltmore

This season, celebrate the small moments that matter most with Biltmore.

“Gracious gatherings, special events, and festive decorations accompany the holiday season, but many times it’s the small moments that we really remember most, like catching up with friends over a glass of Biltmore wine,” said Jan Douglas, Director of Guest Relations.

Group of friends toasting with Biltmore wine
With Biltmore wines, all your gatherings are seasoned with cheer!

Make it meaningful

“Amidst the exciting rush of the holidays, it’s important to celebrate small moments that matter. Remembering what’s meaningful, carving out time for ourselves, and prioritizing family and cherished friends is truly what this joyful season is all about,” Jan said.

We’ve gathered some of our guests’ favorite memories and traditions to inspire your own celebrations.

Collecting special memories

Jim Shore Biltmore Santa keepsake
Discover all the delightful details that make this collectible Jim Shore Biltmore® Santa so special!

For Cheri Compton, a long-time Passholder from Knoxville, Tennessee, time spent at Biltmore with her mother was a cherished Christmas tradition.

“My mother and I went to Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore for several years before she was unable to travel,” Cheri explained. “We would spend hours looking at the trees and the beautiful decorations, and her favorite thing was to be sure we were there while there was seasonal music in the house.”

When her mother could no longer make the trip, Cheri continued the tradition with friends and always brought her mother a keepsake Biltmore Santa for her collection.

Handwritten holiday wishes

Bottles of Biltmore wine on a table
Celebrate the season with Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine

Mailing handwritten Christmas cards is Paige Price’s favorite way to send a hug to the special people in her life.

“At Christmas, I like to take time to remember friends and former co-workers whom I no longer see on a regular basis,” she said.

“In preparation, I make a trip to Biltmore every fall from my home in Lexington, Kentucky, to choose my Christmas wine to save for the card-writing occasion,” Paige said. “When I sit down to begin composing notes to each person and reflect on the memorable times we spent together, I celebrate them, and the season, by having a glass!”

This year, Paige opted for a bottle of our Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs to add special sparkle to the small moments that matter most to her.

Sounds of the season

Hands playing a piano
Music strikes a special chord for many guests at Biltmore

Kim Meade of Tennessee has been a professional pianist for most of her life, but a Christmas performance at Biltmore 30 years ago still holds a special place in her heart.

“I was blessed to be part of a church group that performed at Biltmore House,” Kim said. “Talk about a dream come true! There are few places left that allow you the feeling of stepping back in time. Biltmore is one of those, and that night was an evening I will never forget.”

Kim remembers the decorated trees in every room, and the feeling that for one moment in time, she and all the others were special guests of the Vanderbilts.

“We felt as if George and Edith Vanderbilt might just walk in at any moment to make sure every detail was in place!” said Kim. “Being a small part of the magic of Biltmore during Christmas was a forever moment for me.”

Seek out small moments that matter most

Couple toasting a small moments with Biltmore wine
Savor all your special small moments with Biltmore wines!

As the holiday season gets under way, we hope you’ll make time to visit Biltmore and discover your own small moments that matter.

Like many of our guests whose special Christmas memories are created with Biltmore as the backdrop, we invite you to join us to celebrate your own small moment traditions—or create new ones—that will bring you closer to family, friends, and what matters most to you.

Find everything you need to celebrate the season, from award-winning wines and gourmet food to jewelry and gifts, in our Seasoned with Cheer holiday hospitality guide.

Take Note: Pairing Biltmore Wines with Christmas Carols

Take note: we’re pairing Biltmore wines with Christmas carols in honor of this year’s dazzling carol-themed holiday décor in Biltmore House.

Seasoned with Cheer

“Happy memories are sparked when you hear the opening notes of traditional holiday music, and pairing Biltmore wines with Christmas carols can certainly season the moment with even more cheer,” said Jeff Plack, Senior Director of Wine Production Operations, and a wine enthusiast on his own time.

We asked Jeff to catch up with Biltmore’s team of talented floral designers and discover some of the Christmas carols that inspired this year’s décor for Christmas at Biltmore. Based on that inspiration, Jeff shared some light-hearted pairings of the season’s merriest melodies with our award-winning Biltmore wines.

Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina + Deck the Halls

Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay
There’s nothing finer than a glass of our smooth Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay handcrafted of estate-grown grapes

Lesley Tobar, a member of Biltmore’s floral team, has quite literally “decked the halls” of Biltmore’s unforgettable Winter Garden with the timeless reds and greens of the holiday season.

“I was inspired by the warmth and good cheer of the carol Deck the Halls and its reference to “boughs of holly” because that’s exactly what Mr. Vanderbilt brought in to use for décor during the first Christmas celebration at Biltmore,” said Lesley.

“To capture that feeling of Biltmore’s halls decked for the season, nothing could be finer than a pairing with Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina,” Jeff said, “especially since this smooth, classic wine is handcrafted from estate-grown grapes.”


Biltmore Tree Raising Wine Trio + 12 Days of Christmas

Our Biltmore Tree Raising Wine Trio makes a great gift
Savor the delights of our 2021 Tree Raising Wine Trio

For Biltmore’s baronial-style Banquet Hall, Lucinda Ledford, Floral Designer, chose the beloved English carol Twelve Days of Christmas to inspire her vision for the massive room.

“To complement the baronial splendor of the Banquet Hall, I selected traditional Christmas colors of red, green, and shades of gold,” said Lucinda, “and added touches of blue and orange to reflect some of the more whimsical details included in the song.”

“With that carol in mind,” noted Jeff, “I suggest pairing the majesty of the Banquet Hall and its 35-foot-tall Fraser fir Christmas tree with our Biltmore Tree Raising Wine Trio that includes Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine, Christmas at Biltmore White Wine, and Biltmore® Reserve Rosé North Carolina. That way, you can sip and savor throughout the 12 days of Christmas!”


Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Gewürztraminer + Here We Come A’Wassailing

Biltmore wine with mulling spices
Perfect pairings: Biltmore wines go a-wassailing!

Next door in the elegant Breakfast Room, Cristy Leonard interpreted Here We Come A’Wassailing, another traditional English carol of the season, with “vanilla and spice” hues that echo the ingredients in a seasonal wassail drink.

“I loved selecting a lot of copper, cream, and gold-colored ornaments to follow the theme of the carol,” the floral designer noted. “I think our guests will be dreaming of sipping a welcoming cup of wassail after their visit!”

Jeff agrees with that tasty description, and suggests that our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Gewürztraminer makes a lightly sweet and aromatic pairing. “For a richer, deeper flavor to spice up a winter’s evening,” he said, “go a’wassailing with our award-winning Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon.”


Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon North Carolina + Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Bottle of Biltmore Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and two glasses
Handcrafted from estate-grown grapes, Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is aged 18 months in oak

This year, Don Holloway is responsible for the Christmas décor in the Library, and he chose to interpret the room with inspiration from Jolly Old St. Nicholas, a lively carol that’s sure to set a cheerful mood.

“I chose classic reds, greens, and golds for this room that houses nearly half of George Vanderbilt’s collection of more than 23,000 volumes,” said Don, “but I also allowed the playfulness of the song to shine through, lightening the formal tone of the Library.”

“It’s easy to imagine Mr. Vanderbilt here by the crackling fire, his beloved St. Bernard named Cedric napping by his side, waiting for jolly old St. Nicholas to arrive,” Jeff said. “I think that’s a worthy pairing with Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon North Carolina—an outstanding wine handcrafted from estate-grown grapes.”


Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs + Joy to the World

Bottles of Biltmore wine on a table
Celebrate the season with Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine

Inspired by Joy to the World, the most-published Christmas carol in America, Joslyn Kelly, Floral Designer, created a monochromatic magenta color scheme for the Christmas décor in Edith Vanderbilt’s room.

“I wanted a unique seasonal complement to Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom because it has such a distinct look to it,” said Joslyn, “from the purple and gold hues of the wall coverings and draperies to the beautiful furnishings and the remarkable oval design of the ceiling.”

Jeff suggests that you allow the sweet strains of the joyful carol that Joslyn chose to bubble up into a perfect pairing with Biltmore Estate® Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. “Let’s raise a glass to Mrs. Vanderbilt,” he said, “who definitely added joy to the world with her gracious hospitality for the holidays.”


Vanderbilt Reserve wines
Vanderbilt Reserve Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with Christmas carols!

Vanderbilt Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir + O Holy Night

Inspired by the beautiful words of O Holy Night, Kyla Dana, Floral Supervisor, selected translucent, jewel-toned decorations to complement the rich, vibrant colors of the recently restored Oak Sitting Room.

“The carol has a worshipful tone,” said Kyla, “and that led me to think about All Souls Cathedral and the Vanderbilt family’s ties there, so I chose ornaments reminiscent of stained glass to adorn their private sitting room.”

As a perfect partner for pairing with this carol, Jeff suggests our Vanderbilt Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

“It’s an exceptional wine that’s still very approachable,” said Jeff, “It starts out soft and lovely, then soars, and then it lingers with you, much like the notes of O Holy Night.”


Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec + Canta, Rie, Bebe

Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec on a tray with candles
Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec

Floral team member Lesley Tobar created the design for the Louis XV Hallway. She pulled in shades of red, pink, blue, and pewter to portray the energetic beat of Canta, Rie, Bebe (Sing, Laugh, Drink), a traditional Spanish Christmas carol.

“This hallway provides access to the Damask Room, Claude Room, Tyrolean Chimney Room, and Louis XV Room—the grand guest bedrooms of the magnificent Louis XV Suite,” said Lesley, “and it also showcases a wonderful painting entitled Rosita by Spanish painter Ignacio Zuloaga.”

For Jeff, this is the perfect Christmas carol to pair with the bold flavors of Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec, “This spicy, award-winning wine has Spanish origins, just like the artist who painted the intriguing portrait of Rosita that graces the hallway,” said Jeff.

Celebrate the season with Biltmore wines

We hope you’ve enjoyed our perfect pairings with Biltmore wines and Christmas carols. You can find our award-winning wines—and everything else you need to celebrate the season—with our holiday hospitality guide: Seasoned with Cheer.

Top 10 Staff Favorites for Christmas at Biltmore

What are the top 10 staff favorites for Christmas at Biltmore? Among the multitude of joys experienced during the holiday season at America’s Largest Home®, we’ve collected a special list to inspire your imagination and assist with gift giving.

Staff favorites: Biltmore wine and gourmet food in a basket
Surprise someone special with a gift basket filled with Biltmore sparkling wine, gourmet food, and other goodies

“Many of our staff members have been part of the Biltmore family for decades, but their joy and wonder during the holiday season never fades,” said Terri Koestler, Senior Director of Employee Experience. “From festive food and drink to mementos and special moments, these top 10 staff favorites offer a special glimpse into our employees’ perspectives.”

Our holiday legacy continues

On an unforgettable Christmas Eve in 1895, more than 20 members of George Vanderbilt’s family gathered at Biltmore House for the first time. Their awestruck delight has been repeated throughout the decades as today’s guests experience Biltmore during the holidays.

Here’s how even our long-time Biltmore staff members catch the spirit of the season every year:

1. Laura’s favorite: the sounds of music

Staff favorites: Harpist playing in the Third Floor Living Hall
A harpist plays Christmas carols in the Third Floor Living Hall

Laura Cope, Collections Manager, ensures the proper care of Biltmore’s priceless furniture, art, and objects. An avid music lover, she enjoys the talented musicians who play at Biltmore–especially at Christmastime.

“I always get sentimental at Christmas when I hear a harp play inside Biltmore House,” she raid. “To hear What Child is This? or The Nutcracker Suite within these beautifully decorated rooms really gives you a sense of what guests of Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt would have experienced. It’s something that I look forward to every year!”

2. Jeff’s favorite: going a-wassailing

Biltmore wine with mulling spices
Perfect pairings: Biltmore wines go a-wassailing!

“Love and joy come to you” are among the New Year wishes sung in this traditional Christmas carol, and Jeff Jones, Carriage House Supervisor, enjoys the song’s warm sentiment while sipping a cup of spicy wassail.

“Nothing tastes as much like Christmas as a cup of wassail,” said Jeff. “It’s not just one of our staff favorites—our guests love it as soon as they sample it in our estate shops!”

According to Jeff, all three varieties of Biltmore’s Wassail Spice Blend can season your favorite wine, cider, or other hot beverage with cheer during the holidays and all year round.

3. Staff favorites: party starters

Staff favorites: Biltmore cheeseball and wine
Make entertaining easy with Biltmore’s delicious cheeseball and dip mixes

Another staff favorite? The ability to bring a bit of Biltmore elegance to any holiday gathering with our best-selling gourmet cheeseball and dip mixes.

With festive options such as Christmas at Biltmore Cranberry Pecan Cheeseball Mix, along with traditional crowd favorites like Biltmore® Spinach Dip Mix, no more than two additional staple ingredients are needed for a quick and easy way to let the fun begin!

4. Staff favorites: dazzling “decorations”

Staff Favorites: Oaken Necklace by Southern Gates®
Drawn from elements in Biltmore House, jewelry by Southern Gates® is a charming remembrance of the time you spent at Biltmore.

Biltmore staff members carry the legacy of the estate close to their hearts at Christmastime and beyond by wearing a piece of Biltmore-inspired jewelry or choosing it as a gift for someone special.

Staff favorites include collections by CRISLU, ALEX AND ANI®, and Southern Gates® that feature tiny tokens of timeless luxury found at the estate and highlight some of Biltmore’s most memorable features using precious gemstones and custom-designed charms.

5. Hannah’s favorite: wrapping up gift giving

Biltmore Reserve Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon
Handcrafted from estate-grown grapes, Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon make wonderful gifts for the holidays

As Visual Assets Coordinator, Hannah Parks sees the beauty of Biltmore through photographs and videos, including places that guests rarely visit, like the vineyards on the west side of the estate.

“I’m excited that the 2019 vintages of Biltmore® Reserve Cabernet Franc North Carolina and Biltmore Reserve® Cabernet Sauvignon North Carolina have been released just in time for the holidays,” said Hannah. “Not only are they two of my all-time favorite Biltmore wines, but the fact that they are handcrafted from estate-grown grapes makes them really wonderful local gifts. I’ve already bought several bottles to share with friends and family, and I may go back for more!”

6. Kyle’s favorite: the nicest spices!

Perfect pairings include wine and meatballs
Enhance all your Biltmore Grown® Beef selections with Spicewalla® Rubs

Many Biltmore staff members are fans of Spicewalla, a home-grown Asheville business that has gained worldwide attention for its unique small-batch spice blends.

“To complement your holiday meals, I suggest the robust rubs that Spicewalla has created especially for the estate’s Biltmore Grown® Beef selections, including Biltmore Grown Brisket Rub, Biltmore Grown Steak Rub, and Biltmore Grown Burger Rub,” said Kyle Mayberry, Director of Agriculture for the estate.

7. Courtney’s favorite: sipping and savoring all year-round

Women with Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
Give someone special the gift of membership in our Vanderbilt Wine Club®

According to Courtney Miller, Wine Club Manager, membership in the Vanderbilt Wine Club® is a fabulous gift for a loved one, or a decadent one for yourself!

“Surprise someone special with a gift membership that lasts for 12 whole months,” Courtney said. “You’ll definitely be on their ‘nice list’ every time a seasonal shipment arrives!”

Wine Club members receive their preference of red wines, white wines, a mix of red and white wines, or sweet wines each season along with tasting notes and chef-inspired recipes, plus exclusive access to special discounts, promotions, and invitations to members-only special events. 

8. Staff favorites: seasonal spreads

Sideboard filled with Biltmore wine, spreads, and dips
Delight your guests with gifts of good taste, including Biltmore’s jams, jellies, spreads, and syrups

Just as the Vanderbilts loved to host and entertain family during the holidays, our staff knows how to show hospitality to their own Christmas guests with more than two dozen gourmet flavors of Biltmore jams, jellies, preserves, honey, and syrups that delight at the breakfast table, enhance a charcuterie board, and make perfectly delicious gifts throughout the season—especially when paired with Biltmore wines!

9. Staff favorites: crowdsourcing our Christmas wine labels

Facebook fans helped choose the labels on Biltmore Christmas wine
The 2021 Christmas at Biltmore wines makes a perfect gift for someone special

Since 2018, Facebook followers of Biltmore have weighed in on the one-of-a-kind labels found on our bottles of Christmas at Biltmore’s Red and White Wines. This year, our employees couldn’t be happier that one of their own—Craig Sponseller, who works in Mail Services—was chosen to create the original artwork.

Our Biltmore staff members love giving these special bottles as thoughtful hostess or Christmas gifts, and many buy an extra bottle for themselves as a collectible keepsake.

10.  Brent’s favorite: raising the Banquet Hall Christmas tree

Celebrate Biltmore's tree-raising tradition virtually
Raising the Banquet Hall Christmas tree is a guest and staff favorite tradition at Biltmore

The rooms of Biltmore House will be filled more than 60 hand-decorated Christmas trees this year, but the one that stirs the hearts and imaginations of our guests and staff members the most is the 35-foot-tall fresh-cut Fraser fir in the tapestry-lined Banquet Hall.

Brent Merrell, Director of Engineering Services, oversees the installation of the towering tree. “Every year, we experience excitement mixed with some nerves on the day we bring in the massive tree, which weighs 2,500 to 3,000 pounds,” explained Brent. “The tree-raising is virtual again this year, but this tradition is always a staff favorite because it truly marks the beginning of the Christmas season at Biltmore.” 

What are your top 10 favorites for Christmas at Biltmore?

Our employees, both new and seasoned, enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for this special time of year with our guests. We hope you will join them and create your own top 10 list of favorites during Christmas at Biltmore!

Find everything you need to season your celebrations with cheer at Biltmore, or from the comfort of home with the convenience of online shopping at biltmoreshop.com.

Pick Perfect Pairings For Seasonal Celebrations

It’s that time of year when you want to pick perfect pairings for your seasonal celebrations, and Biltmore’s holiday hospitality experts are ready to help you!

“For more than 125 years, Biltmore has been sharing our expertise in gracious entertaining,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Wine Marketing Manager. “Whether you’re planning a holiday happening in your home, traveling to Biltmore for a family getaway, or hosting a virtual visit with faraway friends, we’ll help you pick perfect Biltmore wine pairings for all your gatherings.”


Friendsgiving (Saturday before Thanksgiving)

Perfect pairings include wine and meatballs
Enhance all your Biltmore Grown® Beef selections with Spicewalla® Rubs

Traditionally celebrated on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is often a less formal gathering of friends and loved ones, with dishes ranging from traditional to potluck to leftovers.

“If you’re not sure what your host is serving, or if you expect a lot of different dishes, it’s a good idea to have both red and white wines on hand,” Jill said.

Friendsgiving food-and-wine pairing suggestions:


Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November)

Biltmore wines make perfect pairings with your Thanksgiving menu

“Thanksgiving is probably the most food-oriented holiday of the year,” said Jill “and that’s why we created our Thanksgiving Wine Trio featuring three outstanding Biltmore wines to pair with a wide variety of your favorite dishes.”

For a traditional Thanksgiving menu, Jill suggests these perfect pairings with wines from our Thanksgiving Wine Trio:


Hanukkah (November 28–December 6, 2021)

Biltmore Grown Beef Brisket with a bottle of The Hunt
Perfect pairings: The Hunt Red Blend Sonoma County and Biltmore Grown Beef Brisket

Known as the Festival of Lights, this Jewish tradition encompasses eight nights of celebration including stories, music, gifts and a variety of special dishes.

“While Biltmore wines are not certified Kosher, we would like to offer pairings that complement the delicious foods that are such an important part of the Hanukkah festivities,” Jill noted.


Winter Solstice (December 21, 2021)

Biltmore wine with mulling spices
Perfect pairings: Biltmore wines go a-wassailing!

The winter solstice marks the start of winter in the northern hemisphere. Many cultures celebrate it in some fashion, although there are no well-established traditions for foods or activities.

“If you’re planning a winter solstice gathering, or just enjoying some star gazing on the longest night of the year, it’s a good time to sip something hearty like our award-winning Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec,” said Jill.


Christmas (December 25)

Perfect pairings with Biltmore wines
Celebrate Christmas with perfect pairings of Biltmore wines and your favorite holiday dishes

“There are as many ways to celebrate Christmas as there are people who celebrate it,” said Jill. “Instead of individual of wine-and-food pairings, we suggest choosing one of our convenient Biltmore wine bundles to have on hand for the holidays. That way, you’ll be able to pick perfect pairings for all your seasonal occasions.”


Kwanzaa (December 26–January 2)

Perfect pairings: pumpkin pie and Biltmore wine

This week-long celebration of African cultures and principles is usually individualized by families or communities, but often includes singing, dancing storytelling, and a bountiful meal on the final night.

“A Kwanzaa menu can incorporate many different foods, with as much emphasis on the sides and desserts as the main offerings,” said Jill. “For that reason, we’ve suggested Biltmore wine pairings with a selection of some of the more traditional dishes.”


New Year’s Day (January 1)

Vanderbilt Reserve wines
Vanderbilt Reserve Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with Christmas carols!

While New Year’s Eve is all about sparkling wine, the traditional menu for New Year’s Day calls for a bit more than bubbles to bring good luck in the coming months:

  • Pork tenderloin, Hoppin’ John, and collard greens
    • Some bold red wines are too much, while some white wines are too little, so we recommend pairing your New Year’s Day meal with our soft, approachable Vanderbilt Reserve Pinot Noir–it’s just right for the occasion!

Valentine’s Day (February 14)

Ventageo Red Dessert Wine with candles
Set a romantic mood with Ventágeo® Red Dessert Wine

“On this most romantic holiday, there are numerous ways to celebrate, so we’ve listed some wine-and-food suggestions that allow you to pick perfect pairings for your special occasion,” Jill said.

Pick perfect pairings for all your seasonal celebrations!

Find these Biltmore wines for perfect pairings–plus all your other handcrafted favorites–in estate shops, online, and close to home with our Retail Locator.

For more holiday inspiration, visit our Seasoned with Cheer hospitality guide.

Facebook Fans Help Create Our Christmas Wine Labels

For 2021, our Facebook fans helped create the labels for our Christmas at Biltmore Red and White Wines.

Facebook Fans helped create our Christmas wine labels
Facebook fans voting online chose the elements for both of our 2021 Christmas at Biltmore wine labels

“This is the fourth year that we’ve used this crowdsourcing process,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Wine Marketing Manager. “By voting for their favorite holiday styles and themes, our Facebook fans really help us capture the spirit of our annual Christmas at Biltmore celebration on our Christmas wine labels.”

Local artist chosen to create our Christmas wine labels

Biltmore employee by Biltmore House column
Local artist and Biltmore employee Craig Sponsellor

The Biltmore wine marketing team selected artist Craig Sponseller of Asheville, North Carolina, to create two original paintings that would incorporate the holiday images and elements selected by Biltmore’s Facebook followers for our 2021 Christmas wine labels.

According to Craig, this project was especially meaningful because in addition to being an artist, he has also been a Biltmore employee for the past 10 years.

“I work in Mail Services,” said Craig, “and my days are filled with routines related to ensuring that mail is picked up and delivered. This opportunity to develop the artwork for the 2021 Christmas at Biltmore wine labels allowed me to tap into my creative side while focusing on all the beauty of the season here at the estate.”

Facebook fans select two distinct themes

Facebook fans helped choose the labels on Biltmore Christmas wine
The 2021 Christmas at Biltmore wines makes a perfect gift for someone special

After two rounds of online voting, some distinct themes emerged: our fans wanted both a wintry outdoor scene featuring the iconic architecture of Biltmore House, and a warm and wonderful tribute to the towering Banquet Hall Christmas tree inside America’s Largest Home®.

Capturing the exterior of Biltmore House

Sketch for the Christmas at Biltmore White Wine label
Part of Craig’s creative process is the creation of sketches like this that help him refine the details he’ll include in a painting

Craig began the process of creating the Christmas at Biltmore White Wine label by sketching the exterior elements of Biltmore House. He started with a pencil sketch, then refined the details with pen and ink.

“I’m a watercolor artist,” Craig explained, “and it is a very unforgiving medium. If you make a mistake or need to move something around, it’s impossible. That’s why I do the preliminary sketches and refinements so I can be sure I’m on the right track.”

Craig chose to showcase the familiar view from the wall at the end of the Front Lawn. To further the holiday mood, he added a touch of snow to give the painting a frosty feel.

Exterior pencil sketch of Biltmore House with touches of watercolor
Craig refined his initial sketches before adding layers of color washes to the final painting

As for the cheerful red cardinal on the rail, that’s the state bird of North Carolina, and a familiar sight around the estate during this time of year.

“The cardinal was a very specific element that Biltmore’s Facebook fans voted to include on both labels,” Craig said. “It was a challenge to portray a small bird in front of such a large house, but I placed it on the Rampe Douce railing so the cardinal would appear larger in the foreground.”

Creating the Banquet Hall view

Our Facebook fans also voted to see the beauty of the season inside Biltmore House, and Craig was happy to oblige.

Orange tree centerpieces in the Banquet Hall
Inspiration for Facebook fans included this Banquet Hall scene with iconic orange tree centerpieces i

For the Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label, Craig was able to include many of the wonders in the Banquet Hall, from the grand Fraser fir that dominates the scene during the holidays to a grouping of festive orange tree centerpieces atop the massive dining table.

Pencil sketch for Biltmore Christmas wine label
One of Craig’s early pencil sketches for the Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label includes the cardinal ornament on the tree in the foreground

“The real challenge here was how to include a cardinal in an indoor scene,” said Craig, “but I was able to work it in as an ornament!”

Stock up for the season on our Christmas wines and more!

Christmas at Biltmore Red and White Wines with Facebook fans labels
Make sure your holiday is seasoned with cheer when you choose Biltmore wines!

Whether you’re in the mood for a fragrant, semi-sweet white wine or a soft, fruit-forward red, our Christmas at Biltmore Wines offer a classic complement to your favorite flavors at the holiday buffet or dessert table. As an added bonus, the lovely labels make both wines a charming gift of the season for someone special.

Find our Christmas at Biltmore Red and White Wines and all your other handcrafted favorites in estate shops, online, or with our Retail Locator.