Pairing Our Gardens with Biltmore White Wines

Looking for expert advice in selecting wines for spring entertaining? Be inspired by our playful pairing of our beautiful gardens with Biltmore white wines!

Biltmore Reserve Rose in the Walled Garden
Nothing could be finer than sipping our Biltmore Reserve North Carolina Rosé in the garden!

Outdoor entertaining with Biltmore Wines

From patios to picnics to pool parties, here’s a basic tip on serving and appreciating wine outdoors in spring:

“Just follow the ‘20-Minute Rule’,” said Spencer Knight, Winery Tours Supervisor. “Remove white wine from the refrigerator 20–30 minutes prior to serving so the flavor profile has a chance to expand.”

Bucket full of Biltmore Wines
Put Biltmore wines on your “bucket list” for summer sipping!

According to Spencer, it’s also a good idea to return open wine bottles to a container of ice and water between refills, especially if you’re entertaining outside in warmer weather.

Pairing Biltmore white wines with our historic gardens

Biltmore wines provide great summer sipping
Enjoy Biltmore white wines by the glass or bottle this summer

In addition to pairing the distinct “personalities” of Biltmore’s historic gardens and grounds with our refreshing white wines, you’ll also find suggestions for white wine pairings with your favorite seasonal flavors.

Diana at Biltmore

Temple of Diana overlooking Biltmore House
Temple of Diana overlooking Biltmore House

This elegant site overlooking Biltmore House offers a classic setting that calls to mind Biltmore’s outstanding sparkling wines.

Brighten any special occasion with our Pas de Deux Moscatohandcrafted in traditional méthode champenoise to create fine, tiny bubbles.

This aromatic semi-sweet sparkler features the essence of orange blossom and flavors of wild strawberry and lemon. Enjoy with fresh fruit, chocolate covered strawberries, or cheesecake. 

Spring in the Shrub Garden

Olmsted planned colorful blooms for spring in Biltmore's Shrub Garden
Colorful spring blooms in Biltmore’s Shrub Garden

Savor the beauty of Biltmore’s Shrub Garden—a picture-perfect pairing for Biltmore Estate Riesling as the wine’s fresh and fragrant style is reminiscent of early-blooming spring shrubs.

Beautifully balanced with sweet apricot aromas, light honey flavors, and a crisp finish, Biltmore’s Riesling makes a surprisingly savory companion to spicy Thai dishes as well as fruity desserts.

A classic wine pairing for the Walled Garden

White wisteria blooming in Biltmore's Walled Garden
White wisteria blooming in the Walled Garden

Stroll the paths of this grand garden and enjoy the sun-warmed stone walls that enfold you with tradition, much like the classic taste of our Biltmore Estate Chardonnay

Smooth and balanced with subtle floral aromas, crisp fruit flavors, and hints of oak, Biltmore’s Chardonnay shines when served with favorites including chicken and grilled vegetables, pasta with cream sauce, and even hard-to-pair fare like squash dishes.

Our Rose Garden paired with a special rosé

Roses blooming in Biltmore's Rose Garden
Biltmore’s historic Rose Garden in front of the Conservatory

Biltmore’s rambling rose garden is a perfect match for our Biltmore Reserve North Carolina Rosé 2018.

Crafted from select North Carolina Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, our pretty-in-pink rosé blossoms with beautiful color, layered aromas, and flavors of red berries, tropical fruits, and a hint of spice. Enjoy with cheese plates and pizza. 

Pairing our Spring Release Wine with the Azalea Garden

Azaleas blooming in late spring
Azaleas blooming at Biltmore in late spring

The informal feel and bright colors of the Azalea Garden make it a natural match for our fragrant and food-friendly Biltmore Spring Release White Wine.

Handcrafted to capture the essence of the season, this is the perfect wine for warmer weather and picnics. You can also spice up spring by pairing it with zesty sausage and Indian food!

Enjoy Biltmore white wines this spring
Pair Biltmore wines with all your favorite flavors this spring

Savor Biltmore wines now

Whether you’re stocking up on favorite varietals or trying new ones, you can purchase Biltmore wines online or close to home through our Retailer Locator.

Discover Biltmore White Wines

Discover Biltmore white wines, handcrafted in every flavor profile from crisp and dry to juicy and sweet, plus special tips to help you make a great choice, every time.

Discover all Biltmore white wines at Biltmore's Wine Bar
You’ll find all our white wines at Biltmore’s Wine Bar

Biltmore Century Sweet White Wine

Century White Wine with pumpkin pie
Century Sweet White Wine pairs perfectly with spicy dishes and desserts

One of our best-selling white whites combines Gewürztraminer, Muscat Canelli, and Riesling grapes in a fragrant, semi-sweet blend that refreshes with a tropical twist.

Biltmore Century Sweet White Wine is a great introduction to several different white grape varietals, and it pairs surprisingly well with many of your favorite foods such as shrimp and Asian and Vietnamese cuisine. 

Tip: A good sweetness-to-acidity ratio is the secret to pairing semi-sweet wines with surprisingly spicy foods.

Biltmore Estate Chardonnay

Woman enjoying Biltmore Estate Chardonnay
Savor the art and science of Biltmore wines by the bottle or glass!

One of the most familiar white varietals is Chardonnay. Generally well-suited to absorb the vanilla and other characteristic flavors imparted by aging in oak barrels, Chardonnays often mature into grand wines with a rich, buttery flavor.

Tip: Malo-lactic fermentation, a process in which the sharper-tasting malic acid in wine is converted into lactic acid, gives wines a more rounded, buttery taste without necessarily aging the wine in oak barrels.

Discover Biltmore white wines like our Reserve Chardonnay
Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay is handcrafted from grapes grown on the estate and by our local partners

Try all three of our Chardonnay options: Biltmore Estate Chardonnay, our Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina, and our Antler Hill Chardonnay Los Carneros.


Biltmore Estate Chenin Blanc

Biltmore Chenin Blanc in ice bucket
Biltmore Estate Chenin Blanc on ice

This varietal originated in the Loire Valley of France and might be considered a “low maintenance” grape that tends to be hearty and not too temperamental as it grows and ripens.

A slightly sweeter white varietal, our Biltmore Estate Chenin Blanc is a great choice for sipping by itself as well as enjoying with goat cheese, fresh fruit, and Asian cuisine. 

Tip: Although delicious on its own as a still or a sparkling wine, because of its fairly consistent acidity, you may find Chenin Blanc added to other white wine blends to improve their taste and character.

Biltmore Estate Pinot Grigio

Bottles of Biltmore Pinot Grigio
Savor refreshing Biltmore Estate Pinot Noir with seafood and other rich flavors

Pinot Grigio is generally known as a white varietal, yet the grape itself is actually a dusky, pinkish, blue-gray color. Some wines produced from it may take on a pinkish tone.

It has become one of the most popular white varietals in recent years because it tends to please most palates and pair well with a wide range of foods.

Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak handcrafts our Biltmore Estate Pinot Grigio to bring out its slightly spicy, citrusy qualities. Enjoy it with ricotta cheese, pasta with cream sauce, ham, ravioli, crab, oysters, salmon, and shellfish.

Tip: Try sipping a glass of our Pinot Grigio before a seafood meal—its crisp, refreshing taste helps open and prepare your palate to savor those particular flavors.

Biltmore Estate Riesling

Discover Biltmore white wines for outdoor entertaining
George Vanderbilt’s legacy of gracious hospitality lives on with Biltmore wines handcrafted from grapes grown in the estate’s own vineyard or selected from trusted west coast partners

Originally from Germany, Riesling is a versatile grape that is crisp yet semi-sweet. Our Biltmore Estate Riesling features nicely balanced fruit flavors with acidity and exotic floral notes.

Tip: Love sushi but can’t imagine pairing anything besides sake with it? Try our Biltmore Reserve North Carolina Riesling made from grapes grown here at the estate.

Biltmore Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Savor in place with Biltmore wines and charcuterie
Pair Biltmore wines with your favorite comfort foods!

Sauvignon Blanc is a dry, crisp wine that suggests elegant pairings plus the ability to stand up to complex layers of taste in rich seafood such as crab, oysters, scallops, lobster, and shellfish.

Tip: Sauvignon Blanc (also known as Fume Blanc) is generally very acidic and is often characterized by hints of grass in the nose and the taste.

Our Biltmore Estate Sauvignon Blanc has been awarded Best of Class in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and received 88 points & Best Buy from the Beverage Testing Institute.

Biltmore Sparkling Wines

Celebrate with Biltmore sparkling wines
Biltmore sparkling wine is perfect for any occasion

Sparkling wines are traditionally crafted from white grapes such as Chardonnay and Petite Meunier. Biltmore is one of only a handful of wineries that produce both still and sparkling wines, including our finest Biltmore Estate Château Reserve Blanc de Blancs North Carolina.

Tip: Pair our bubbly and festive Pas de Deux Moscato with a rustic apple tart—you’ll be amazed at the way the flavors come alive!

Purchase Biltmore white wines now

Purchase any of our fine wines in estate shops, online, or with our Retail Locator.

Discover George Vanderbilt’s Railroad Ties

To discover George Vanderbilt’s railroad ties, you have only to look at his family history.

Few names have been more closely associated with the rise of the American railroad industry than the Vanderbilts.

Theirs is a remarkable legacy, and one that would ultimately contribute to the development of Biltmore, George Vanderbilt’s magnificent private estate.

Portrait of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt in the Breakfast Room of Biltmore House

Railroad legacy

The Vanderbilt family’s success began with George Vanderbilt’s grandfather Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt—an entrepreneur from modest beginnings who spent his life building an empire based on shipping and railroad concerns.

His son William Henry Vanderbilt inherited the business after the Commodore’s death in 1877, doubling the family fortune before he passed away nine years later.

Cornelius Vanderbilt II and William Kissam Vanderbilt, William Henry’s two oldest sons, followed in their father’s footsteps to take on management of the family’s holdings, leaving George Vanderbilt—the youngest of William Henry and Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt’s eight children—free to explore his interests in art, literature, and travel.

George Vanderbilt’s vision

Formal photographic portrait of young George Vanderbilt 

By the time George Vanderbilt was in his twenties, he had begun planning the creation of a country estate similar to those he’d visited in Europe. After settling on Asheville, North Carolina, as the setting for his new home, he purchased considerable acreage in the area, breaking ground in 1889 for what would become Biltmore.

Vanderbilt party near Biltmore Station; March 1891. Seated (L-R) are Margaret Bromley, Maria Louisa Vanderbilt, Marguerite Shepard, and two unidentified women; unidentified person seated behind Mrs. Vanderbilt. Standing (L-R) are Margaret Shepard, possibly Frederick Vanderbilt, and George Vanderbilt.

While maintaining a permanent address at his family’s Fifth Avenue home, George made frequent trips to Asheville to oversee the project during the six years that Biltmore was under construction.

Swannanoa

In 1891, George Vanderbilt furthered his railroad ties by commissioning a private railcar from the Wagner Palace Car Company of Buffalo, NY. Showing affinity for his new home, George named his railcar Swannanoa after one of the two rivers that flowed through the property.

“Private railcars like Swannanoa were the height of luxury in the golden age of railroad travel, functioning as a home away from home for wealthy travelers” said Darren Poupore, Chief Curator for Biltmore.

For the railcar’s inauguration, Maria Louisa Vanderbilt gave her son an engraved tea service that read “GWV from MLV, November 14, 1891, Swannanoa.”

Teapot from Swannanoa’s tea service

Luxury travel

Swannanoa’s mahogany-paneled parlor was furnished with plush chairs and sofas; staterooms accommodated up to 12 people with comfortable beds and other furnishings.

George often sent Swannanoa to Washington and New York to transport family and friends back to Biltmore. While on board, a cook provided elaborate meals from a well-appointed kitchen and a porter tended to every passenger’s needs.

In addition to those comforts, guests could admire scenic views through plate-glass windows in an observation room in the rear of the car. And just like Biltmore House, Swannanoa’s interiors reflected George’s personality and interests, complete with countless books and etchings from his collections.

View of Biltmore’s Rampe Douce and Vista with construction sheds and train in foreground, c. 1892

Estate construction

As work on Biltmore House continued, a contract between estate architect Richard Morris Hunt and the project’s general contractor stipulated that the massive quantities of Indiana limestone required for construction be shipped by rail directly to the house site.

Working with a civil engineer and consulting with the superintendent of the Richmond & Danville Railroad, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted laid out a route for a standard gauge rail line connecting the depot in Biltmore Village to the building site.

The area’s uneven terrain—alternating between deep hollows and ridges—presented an added challenge for the rail line. In order to create a gradual incline from the depot to the building site, five trestles with a total length of 1,052 feet were constructed to carry the train across the gullies.

Steam locomotive in front of the Rampe Douce during construction; June 9, 1892

More railroad ties

George Vanderbilt purchased three steam locomotives for use on the estate. The two standard-gauge locomotives operated on the main railroad line to the Esplanade.

The first, Engine No. 75 (later renamed Cherokee) was purchased in 1890, but had to be modified because it lacked the coal and water capacity to make one trip to the Esplanade.

Another standard-gauge Baldwin locomotive, aptly named Biltmore, became the workhorse of the three engines.

Workers with a Baldwin steam engine on the Esplanade, 1892

The third locomotive, named Ronda, was a smaller engine used solely on the narrow-gauge line that ran between the Biltmore Brick and Tile Works and the clay pits on the estate.

After construction ended, the railway was disbanded and the steam engines were sold, but today’s guests can still see remnants of the railroad’s path in a few places around the estate.

Discover Biltmore Gardens Railway

Biltmore Gardens Railway display

From July 1–September 7, 2020, enjoy Biltmore’s historic landscape from a new perspective: accented with model trains and replicas of iconic American train stations during Biltmore Gardens Railway.

On display in Antler Hill Village, this charming exhibition showcases handmade buildings constructed of natural materials like leaves, bark, and twigs and large-scale botanical railways.

Plan now to enjoy this one-of-a-kind, fun-for-all-ages experience that honors George Vanderbilt’s railroad ties.

Featured image: Unidentified passengers gathered on the back of what is thought to be Swannanoa, George Vanderbilt’s private railway car

Celebrate Sauvignon Blanc in April

Since April 23 is National Picnic Day and April 24 is National Sauvignon Blanc Day, it’s a perfect time to celebrate Sauvignon Blanc with a picnic that includes chilled bottles of our Biltmore Estate Sauvignon Blanc AND our Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc!

Ladies enjoying a spring picnic with wine at Biltmore House
Enjoy summer entertaining with an outdoor picnic, just like the Vanderbilts!

What is Sauvignon Blanc?

The Sauvignon Blanc grape originated in the Bordeaux region of France where it was considered a good blending grape for other white wines rather than a stand-alone varietal.

Sun shining through grapes in Biltmore's vineyard
Grapes ripening in Biltmore’s vineyard

Later, Sauvignon Blanc became widely cultivated in Sancerre and in the 20th century was known by the name of that region rather than the name of the varietal.

Sauvignon Blanc (or Sancerre) is highly desirable for its food-friendly qualities that make it a natural to pair with a variety of flavors.

Fresh chilled seafood
Pair our 35th Anniversary Chardonnay with fresh seafood and other flavorful fare

A classic Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing, with a high acidity that can hold its own with rich seafood dishes and cheeses, yet is also delicious when sipped by itself.

Discover the Biltmore difference

Our Biltmore Estate Sauvignon Blanc is handcrafted for true varietal character with bright citrus aromas, fresh peach flavors, and an elegant finish.

Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak suggests pairing it well-chilled with everything from crab, lobster, oysters, scallops, or shellfish to goat and gruyère cheeses and green salads.

Selection of cheeses
Savor Biltmore Estate Sauvignon Blanc with a variety of cheeses

Though crafted from the same varietal, our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc gives our winemaker more leeway to express the possibilities of the grape.

“It is definitely refreshing,” said Sharon Fenchak, “but also unexpectedly creamy with hints of toasted coconut, key lime, and oak.”

Sauvignon Blanc and oysters
Our Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc pairs perfectly with oysters and other seafood dishes

She enjoys serving it with foods like crab, flounder, oysters, and mozzarella cheese. “It’s a perfect partner for sushi, too,” Sharon said, “which can be very difficult for wine pairings.”

Stock up on Sauvignon Blanc and celebrate!

Savor in place with Biltmore wines and charcuterie
Pair Biltmore wines with your favorite comfort foods!

Go ahead and stock up on now on both our delightful Sauvignon Blanc styles, then invite friends and family for a backyard picnic, grill some crowd-pleasing Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Pizzetas, and raise a glass to good times and great wines!

Head Over Heels for Hats and Headpieces

For Edith Vanderbilt and her peers, the fashion demands of the Gilded Age included regular visits to their favorite milliners for stylish hats and headpieces to match every outfit and activity from strolling in the gardens to attending fancy dress balls.

Ladies also kept up with trends by reviewing elegant magazines like Les Modes for the latest looks from couture design houses in cities such as Paris and London.

Front covers of Les Modes magazines in Biltmore's collection

Glamorous gowns and headpieces grace the covers of the June 1911 and February 1913 issues of Les Modes magazines in Biltmore’s collection

In style

Now through May 27, experience a fabulous array of hats and headpieces ranging from beautifully beaded butterflies and dove gray velvet to iridescent peacock feathers during our new exhibition: A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age. 

“We spent two years planning this exhibition,” said Leslie Klingner, curator of interpretation, “and we re-created many pieces of clothing from the original wardrobes of the Vanderbilts and their guests. We also looked at sources such as newspaper clippings and Edith Vanderbilt’s collection of Les Modes magazine in our archives for inspiration. The beautiful attire you’ll see in this exhibition would not have been complete without matching accessories.” 

An engaging headpiece

One of Leslie’s favorites is a velvet gown that Edith Dresser wore for her photographic portraits commemorating her engagement to George Vanderbilt. “The color is so deep that it looks black,” said Leslie, “but we know from newspaper articles and archival sources that it was actually midnight blue.” 

The matching headpiece features a diamonte ornament and a feathery black plume that adds additional height and elegance to the ensemble.

Edith Vanderbilt's engagement headpiece

Edith Dresser’s re-created engagement headpiece on display in the Tapestry Gallery

Feeding the swans

A vignette in the Second Floor Living Hall features Edith’s sister Pauline Merrill with the Vanderbilt’s only child Cornelia, dressed for walking out to feed the swans. While Pauline’s blue-gray tweed jacket and skirt seem sturdy enough for the outdoors, her hat is a delightful confection of soft gray velvet trimmed in matching ostrich plumes.

Pauline Merrill's gray velvet hat from A Vanderbilt House Party

Pauline Merrill’s stylish velvet hat draped in matching feathery plumes

Lady of the house

As the lady of the house, Edith Vanderbilt would always have been dressed appropriately for conducting her household responsibilities and attending to her family and guests. The elegant dress and hat featured in the Oak Sitting Room vignette were reproduced from an archival photograph.

Mannequins of Edith Vanderbilt and her daughter Cornelia

Edith Vanderbilt attends to the business of Biltmore House while daughter Cornelia and her cousin play with a toy 

George Vanderbilt's mannequin wearing a hat

George Vanderbilt’s mannequin sports a jaunty hat perfect for enjoying a stroll around the estate

And let’s not overlook the fashionable gentleman of the era. They, too, would have visited their trusted haberdashers for the finest bespoke styles—including hats—tailored to their needs and specifications.

Headpieces worthy of a grand gala in the Banquet Hall

Edith Vanderbilt mannequin with peacock feather headpiece

“For events like grand dinner parties, Edith Vanderbilt and other ladies would have worn stylish headpieces that coordinated with their gowns and accentuated their ornate hairstyles,” Leslie said. 
Edith Vanderbilt with an elegant spray of peacock feathers tucked into her chignon hairstyle

Katherine Hunt's mannequin with beaded comb in hair

Catharine Hunt, wife of Biltmore House architect Richard Morris Hunt, is shown with a comb in faceted jet to accent her curls

Beaded butterfly headpiece for Florence Vanderbilt Twombly's mannequin

The pièce de résistance: Florence Vanderbilt Twombly wears a beaded butterfly headpiece to match her exquisite gown, originally designed by the House of Worth. This stunning ensemble and many others were re-created for A Vanderbilt House Party by John Bright of Cosprop Ltd in London
 

A Vanderbilt House Party - The Gilded Age at Biltmore

Plan your visit now

Experience A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age February 8–May 27, 2019, and discover how the Vanderbilt family planned and prepared turn-of-the-century house party celebrations for their special guests. Receive our new Exhibition Audio Guided Tour featuring custom content created exclusively to enhance your visit—FREE when you purchase your estate admission online!

Main image: Clothing reproduced from archival photos of Pauline Merrill and Cornelia Vanderbilt 
 

Sip the essence of spring in a glass

Each spring, Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak handcrafts something special that captures the essence of the season.

Seasonal spring wine release

For 2019, Sharon has created a fragrant white wine that opens with a scented bouquet of tropical fruit, coconut, pineapple, vanilla, and clove.

“As you sip, you’ll experience tastes of rich tropical fruit with a complex body,” said Jill Whitfield, senior marketing manager for Biltmore Wines. “The wine has a smooth, balanced finish and mild acidity, so it’s perfect for pairing with your favorite warm weather fare and outdoor picnics.”

To complement this year’s wine, the label features original artwork of Biltmore’s iconic Winery clock tower. Bryan Koontz of Asheville, North Carolina—the same artist who created both our stunning 2018 Christmas at Biltmore wine labels—was selected to paint a scene that echoes the beautiful blossoms of our annual Biltmore Blooms celebration.

Let’s take a look at the process for creating a commemorative label:

“We initially asked Bryan to present several concepts for the label,” Jill said. “He offered four options of the Winery’s clock tower showing different angles and perspectives, and we talked through each one, narrowing the choices down to a pair of sketches.”
The original four concept sketches Bryan Koontz presented for the 2019 spring wine label

Back to the drawing board

Bryan went back to the drawing board–literally–and worked the two sketches selected by Biltmore Wines and Lisa Vogel, art director, into more refined pencil drawings.

Bryan’s two drawings in the process of being refined

Interpreting the season

“We’ve worked with Bryan on several wine label projects,” noted Lisa, “and he is always able to quickly grasp the tone and manner that we need for a certain season or type of wine and to interpret it into a beautiful piece of art.”

Bringing the drawings to life with vibrant watercolors

All in the details

“We loved both versions of Bryan’s vivid watercolor paintings,” said Jill, “and it was hard to choose between them. I think it was his charming little detail of the bluebirds in the tree branches that finally decided the winner!”

Bryan finalizes details for the 2019 spring wine label

Biltmore Wines 2019 spring wine bottleSip a glass full of spring with us

Join us on April 5 in the Delille Room at the Winery from 5–6 p.m. for a special event honoring our 2019 spring release.

In addition to tasting the wine, you can meet artist Bryan Koontz and have him sign your bottles.
Make reservations now for this delightful opportunity by calling 800-411-3812. You can also purchase our 2019 spring release wine on the estate or online.

Featured blog image: Detail of the 2019 Spring Release label 

Spice Up Your Wine Selections with Unique Varietals

Ready to spice up your wine selections with unique varietals?

From classic favorites to special blends, Biltmore handcrafts a wide range of award-winning wines.

two hands toasting with wine
Savor award-winning Biltmore wines

Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon tend to be the best-selling white and red varietals around the world—and we create excellent versions of each at our estate winery—but what lies beyond these household names?

Let’s take a look at some of the more unique varietals we offer.

Viognier

Although its roots are firmly planted in southern France, this white varietal is now grown around the globe—as long as the climate offers warm weather for growing and cool nights to protect Viognier’s moderate acidity.

Friends toasting with wine
Summer calls for outdoor entertaining with Limited Release white wines!

“As soon as you uncork our Viognier, you can almost imagine that it’s a delicate perfume,” said Jill Whitfield, senior marketing manager for Biltmore Wines. “It offers top notes of tangerine, peach, and honeysuckle.”

Based on variables ranging from the terroir of a vineyard to production and aging, Viognier can be lighter with more hints of fruits and flowers, or deeper and creamier with flavors of vanilla and spice.

Viognier offers a definite aromatic sweetness,” Jill said, “but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a sweet wine. Our Biltmore Reserve Viognier 2018, handcrafted from North Carolina-grown grapes, adds a bright twist of white pepper to its overall bouquet. Good balance and acidity make it an excellent choice with seafood.”

Tempranillo

Pouring Biltmore wine into a glass
Tempranillo is a great way to spice up your wine selections

Most of the world’s Tempranillo is grown in Spain where it is believed to have originated, but this earthy red wine is rapidly gaining a following around the globe.

Tempranillo has a lot of personality,” said Jill. “Ours is full-bodied and fruit-forward with earthy aromas, rich dried fig flavors, and lingering tannins—just what you’d expect in a classic barrel-aged version.”

Winemaker Sharon Fenchak carefully crafts Biltmore Estate Limited Release Tempranillo with grapes sourced from our partner vineyards in California.

“When I discover exceptional grapes from one of our west coast growers, it inspires me to create distinctive wines for our Limited Release series,” Sharon said. “It’s usually a smaller amount of fruit, and that gives my production team an opportunity to really bring out the qualities of the varietal.”

Because of its fuller body and savory qualities, our Limited Release Tempranillo is a hearty match for beef, lamb curry, and pork.

It was recently rated “Exceptional” and awarded 91 points and a gold medal by Tastings.com, an online publication of the Beverage Testing Institute.

Chenin Blanc

Savor summer with Limited Release white wines
Pack plenty of Limited Release Semillon for your next summer picnic!

One of our guests’ favorites and a best-seller at Biltmore’s Winery, Chenin Blanc is a versatile white wine that can range from lightly sweet to quite dry, depending on the vintage and the style of winemaking.

“We handcraft our Chenin Blanc in two different styles,” said Jill. “Our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Chenin Blanc reflects the sweetness of the grape, which is very popular in the Winery’s Tasting Room. With floral aromas and a lingering sweet finish, guests can easily imagine sipping at home on a warm evening.”

Although our Biltmore Estate Chenin Blanc also features the classic floral aromas you’d expect in this varietal, it’s a bit more crisp than the Limited Release version and offers flavors of wild strawberry and bright hints of lime.

“Both styles are delicious,” noted Jill, “and I call them my ‘secret weapons’ when it comes to pairing wine with sweet-and-sour dishes and Asian cuisine! Those are not easy flavors to complement, but our Chenin Blanc and our Limited Release Chenin Blanc have enough acidity and sweetness to make it work.”

Couple drinking Biltmore wine while they savor in place
Guests at Village Hotel enjoying a “grape escape” with Biltmore wines!

Enjoy Biltmore wines at home

Whether you stick to your favorites or explore any of our unique varietals, you can stock up on our award-winning wines close to home through our Retailer Locator or shop online.

A Desirable Destination for Romance

Even before construction of Biltmore House was officially completed, George Vanderbilt offered world-class hospitality—and a desirable destination for romance—to family and friends who visited his estate.

Destined for romance

In honor of the romantic traditions of Valentine’s Day and hosting our own guests for Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, let’s take a look at some of the very first Biltmore visitors: newlyweds Jay and Adele Burden.

Adele was George Vanderbilt’s niece, the daughter of his sister Emily Vanderbilt Sloane. She had been a frequent visitor to the estate, even during early stages of construction, and Adele’s love of Biltmore is evident in her diary entries.

George Vanderbilt, the Burdens, and Cedric the Saint Bernard crossing the river on Biltmore's ferry

George Vanderbilt, the Burdens, and Cedric the Saint Bernard crossing the river on Biltmore’s ferry

Words in a diary

Welcoming in the new year of 1894 at Biltmore nearly a year before the house officially opened, Adele wrote:

“Only a word to begin the New Year with. I made my good resolutions last night sitting over a little dying fire. The window was wide open, and the cold night air blew in. The stars were all out, and there was a hushed stillness everywhere as if something were expected. It has been so gloriously beautiful out today; it made me feel wild.”

A courtship begins

In fact, 1894 would be a significant year for Adele. She was courted by a handsome young man, James “Jay” Abercrombie Burden, whose family owned the Burden Iron works, one of the most successful such firms in the country.

Adele had no shortage of suitors, but with his clean-cut good looks, Harvard education, and superior athleticism, Jay soon won Adele’s heart. He proposed in December and the couple married on June 6, 1895, in what was reported to be one of the costliest American weddings held at the time.

Jay and Adele Burden on the steps of River Cliff Cottage at Biltmore

Happy honeymoon!

Of all the possible destinations far and wide, the Burdens chose Biltmore as the place to begin their honeymoon. They spent the first 10 days of their married life at River Cliff Cottage, which was built at the same time Biltmore House was under construction.

Just before her wedding, Adele wrote:

“The next day we go down to Biltmore to spend ten days in the dear little house Uncle George has given to us. How perfect it will be!”

Adele and her husband Jay were the first in a long line of friends and family welcomed as guests at Biltmore to experience what would become George Vanderbilt’s legendary hospitality.

Experience Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

Amherst at Deerpark interiors during Downton Abbey: The Exhibition
Amherst at Deerpark interiors during Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

Join us to experience a rich history of hospitality, intrigue, and romance with Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, an immersive indoor experience celebrating the global hit television series.

Now through April 7, this one-of-a-kind exhibition is hosted in two Biltmore locations—Amherst at Deerpark and The Biltmore Legacy in Antler Hill Village—each of which invites you to shake winter’s chill while enjoying an exciting glimpse into the past.

Featured image: George Vanderbilt and Cedric the St. Bernard with newlyweds Adele and James Burden at Biltmore

Wings of Delight: Discover Our Newest Dessert Wine: Mariporta

In honor of our new exhibition A Vanderbilt House Party – The Gilded Age, winemaker Sharon Fenchak has handcrafted Mariporta—a dazzling red dessert wine that reflects the fine vintages that George and Edith Vanderbilt would have offered their guests.

Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak

Careful coaxing

“The starting point for Mariporta was an outstanding Petit Sirah that we blended with other varietals,” said Sharon. “We carefully coaxed all the rich layers from the wine as it matured in oak.” 

Designed to delight

“Our velvety and barrel-aged Mariporta is exceptionally jammy and fruit-forward. Pair it with your favorite dessert, or simply serve it as dessert!” Sharon suggested.

In addition to the richly rewarding flavor of the wine, the label is a flight of fancy also inspired by A Vanderbilt House Party.

Florence Vanderbilt Twombly in her inspiring gown

Flight of fancy

“For the exhibition, we reproduced a stunning gown worn by Florence Vanderbilt Twombly—one of George Vanderbilt’s sisters,” said Leslie Klingner, Curator of Interpretation. “The original dress of finely woven silk was designed by House of Worth and adorned with embroidered butterflies and hand-sewn beadwork.​

Drawing on this description of the dress and an archival photo of Florence Twombly wearing it, Lisa Vogel, Art Director, created a remarkable design that echoes the delicate winged details of the gown. 

Re-creation of the butterfly gown

“In keeping with the style of the label, the name Mariporta flutters between the Spanish word for butterfly and the expressive style of this elegant red dessert wine,” said Lisa. 

Designed to delight with a touch of satin and spice, Mariporta celebrates the excitement of Biltmore house parties when friends and family were entertained with boundless hospitality.

Join us for the 2019 Sparkling Soirée: Gilded Age Masquerade!

Celebrate the first release

Be among the first to savor our newest offering by attending our 2019 Sparkling Soirée: Gilded Age Masquerade on Saturday, February 9, at 8 p.m. Don a mask and your most stunning attire for an evening of unparalleled elegance featuring live entertainment, dancing, and refreshments. Enjoy savory canapés, sweet petit fours, and a selection of Biltmore wines including the much-anticipated first release of Mariporta. You can also purchase Mariporta in estate shops or online.

Holiday Gingerbread at The Inn on Biltmore Estate

This gingerbread creation was on display during Christmas at Biltmore in 2018.

Please enjoy this archived content.

To celebrate Christmas at Biltmore, we deck the halls of America’s Largest Home®, place thousands of twinkling lights in Antler Hill Village, and turn the ceiling of our Winery into a dazzling burst of ornamental bubbles that resemble a glass of sparkling wine.

And then there’s the gingerbread.

Holiday tradition

Each year, The Inn on Biltmore Estate® constructs a spectacular scene out of gingerbread, carefully crafting all the delicious details with a sampler of sweets including frosting, candies, cookies, and more.

Decorating gingerbread at The Inn on Biltmore Estate

Leilani Padilla with The Inn’s pastry team adds “snow” to branches

This year’s building project is a replica of the Lodge Gate—one of the first historic buildings you’ll see when you arrive at Biltmore

Serving as the estate’s main entrance, the impressive structure was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, the same architect who designed Biltmore House. It features a wide two-story arch that guests have been driving through for more than a century.  

Biltmore's iconic Lodge Gate with Christmas decorations

Biltmore’s iconic Lodge Gate, decorated for the holidays

Historic inspiration

“It’s a challenge to replicate the look of original estate architecture,” said The Inn’s Pastry Chef Dana McFarland, “but we loved creating something so special for our guests to enjoy during their stay with us.”

Under construction

For 2018, Chef McFarland and her team set their sights on the Lodge Gate. From the steep tiled roof and distinctive brick and stucco exterior to the iconic arch, this glorious gingerbread creation was a labor of love that tested their engineering abilities.

Decorating gingerbread at The Inn on Biltmore Estate

Demi chef Megan Shreve adds details by hand 

Work began the week after Thanksgiving, with pastry team members* spending a combined 150 hours to bake, assemble, and decorate their holiday masterpiece

The Inn's pastry team decorates their gingerbread project

(L-R) Team members Leilani Padilla, Megan Shreve, and Laura Hinzman

“Our shopping list for ingredients was a little overwhelming,” Chef McFarland admits.

Shopping list

• Powdered sugar: 200 lbs. 
• Chocolate: 40 lbs. 
• Foiled chocolate balls: 35 lbs. 
• Rolled wafer cookies: 30 lbs. 
• Gingerbread: 20 lbs.
• Fondant: 20 lbs. 
• Isomalt: 20 lbs. 
• Rock candy: 15 lbs. 
• M&M’S®: 6 lbs.
• Jordan almonds: 2 lbs. 
• Gumballs: ½ lb. 

Inside information

Snowman and raccoon are part of the gingerbread display

Look for charming touches like these BFFs (Best Frosting Friends)!

Cinnamon-scented smoke coming out of the gingerbread chimney

On display now through January 7, 2019, The Inn’s gingerbread Lodge Gate is a feast for the eyes and the nose. 

“In addition to the spicy fragrance of ginger and the sweetness of all the candy decorations, we placed a cinnamon-scented infuser inside the structure,” said Chef McFarland.

“It makes it look as if there’s real smoke coming from the chimney—and it smells delicious!”

Create your own gingerbread masterpiece

Join us for a Gingerbread Tea at The Inn—a time-honored tradition that offers fun for all ages! The Inn’s pastry chef will be on hand to assist you as you decorate your house with a selection of colorful candies. Also available, assorted tea sandwiches and desserts from our Holiday Tea menu, and for an additional charge, seasonal cocktails. Find complete details and make reservations now for December 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, or 22 by calling 866-336-1245.

*Pastry team members 
Ashley Buchleitner
Aspen Galley
Dana McFarland
Karen Neal
Laura Hinzman
Leilani Padilla
Lucas Conti
Megan Shreve
Rachel Tipping
Tony Mushinski

Featured blog image: Biltmore’s Lodge Gate, constructed of gingerbread, on display now at The Inn on Biltmore Estate