Woven in Wonder: Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty

Woven in wonder, Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty is a fascinating outdoor sculpture created exclusively for Biltmore.

Stickwork is a one-of-a-kind installation

“Each of Patrick’s sculptures are one-of-a-kind,” said Travis Tatham, Director of Entertaining and Event Programming, “and that makes his work a perfect fit for Biltmore, which is a one-of-a-kind destination.”

Weaving with willows

Patrick Dougherty with his Stickwork creation for Biltmore
Patrick Dougherty with his Stickwork creation for Biltmore

Working with willow branches, Patrick creates large-scale installations that reflect the beauty and character of the site that hosts them.

Patrick and son Sam Dougherty arrived at Biltmore in mid-March to begin work on the installation in Antler Hill Village along with a truckload of willow branches grown in New York.

Patrick Dougherty with his Stickwork creation for Biltmore
Patrick Dougherty weaves willow branches into his Stickwork sculpture

“Given the large crowds that Biltmore draws, we wanted something palatial and roomy, with walking areas to accommodate large numbers of visitors,” said Patrick. “We aimed for a free-wheeling sculpture to occupy the site with flowing energy.”

Free as a Bird

Mockingbird atop Patrick Dougherty's Stickwork creation for Biltmore
A curious mockingbird checks the progress on the Stickwork sculpture in Antler Hill Village

While working at Biltmore, Patrick and Sam noticed a pair of mockingbirds that came from a nearby holly bush every day to serenade the creation.

“They seemed to be staking a claim to the work,” Patrick said, “so we decided to name the sculpture Free as a Bird in their honor.”

In the past three decades, Patrick has built more than 300 of these large-scale environmental works worldwide, from Scotland to Japan to Brussels, and all over the United States.

Sam Dougherty works on Stickwork creation for Biltmore
Sam Dougherty adds his signature woven edges to the Stickwork creation for Biltmore

Sam, Patrick’s full-time construction assistant since June 2016, has developed into an expert stickworker. His signature can be found on every sculpture, especially in the rolled top edges.

Stickwork is fun for all ages!

Stickwork creation for Biltmore
Some Biltmore staff members had an opportunity to assist Patrick and Sam Dougherty in the creation of the Stickwork sculpture in Antler Hill Village

According to one Biltmore team member who had an opportunity to work with Sam and Patrick as they wove the whimsical sculpture, “Adults have asked ‘what is this?’ but kids walk up and know exactly what to do with it. They say ‘it’s a stickhouse and I need to run through it and play!'”

Discover Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty

Child explores Stickwork sculpture in Antler Hill Village
The new Stickwork sculpture in Antler Hill Village is fun for all ages!

Now through September 30, discover Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty, located in Antler Hill Village near the Outdoor Adventure Center.

This delightful sculpture entitled Free as a Bird invites excitement and exploration for all ages, and is included with estate admission.

Free as a Bird is lit at night, further enlivening the space, especially for those who are enjoying a stay at either of our distinctive hotels or our two private historic cottages.

Craft Incredible Cocktails with Biltmore Wines!

Craft incredible cocktails with Biltmore wines and enjoy a refreshing new way to savor summer sipping on the porch, patio, or by the pool!

Switch up the spirits

“Summer is the perfect time to craft incredible cocktails featuring wines handcrafted here at Biltmore’s Winery in Asheville, North Carolina,” said Chris Price, Wine Marketing Manager. “‘And if you are looking for a lower-proof version of your favorites, simply switch out the spirit for a similar style of Biltmore wine,”

In the case of the white wine mojito below, we swapped the traditional rum for Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon. It makes a perfect “shady afternoon sipper” to enjoy while reading in the hammock (naps optional!).

White Wine Mojito Cocktail*

White wine mojito made with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Semillon
Craft this White Wine Mojito Cocktail featuring Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon for summer sipping all season long

• 2 ounces Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon
• 2 ounces Italian lemon soda
• ¾ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
• ¼ ounce simple syrup
• 4 mint leaves

Craft the cocktail: Muddle 4 mint leaves thoroughly in 2 ounces of Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon using a rough edge muddler. Add lime juice, simple syrup, and shake briefly on ice in a Boston shaker. Double strain into a martini glass and top with Italian lemon soda.

Serve straight up with a floating mint leaf as a garnish so ice does not overly dilute the cocktail. (Muddle different types of fruit to bring new flavors to this recipe—we give you a license to be creative!) Serves 1.

Wine: Recognized for its notably smooth texture and significant palate weight, our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sémillon, handcrafted at our estate winery, is a full-bodied, dry white wine. The rich, silky texture complements the fresh melon flavors and zesty citrus aromas. An exciting wine for any occasion, it pairs well with chicken, halibut, pork, turkey, and salads.

Summer Riesling & Tonic Cocktail*

Wine and tonic cocktail with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Riesling
Savor the flavor of your favorite fruits in this Summer Riesling and Tonic cocktail

“Fresh fruit and wine pair beautifully together, and warmer weather is the perfect time to experiment with your favorites and share the delicious results,” Chris said.

Whether you’re serving craft cocktails on the patio, porch, or poolside, outdoor entertaining takes on a new meaning when you invite a special guest like rum. Yum!

• 1 bottle Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Dry Riesling
• 8 ounces white rum
• 1 cup blackberries
• 1 cup fresh basil leaves (reserve some for garnish)
• 2 lemons (sliced into thin wheels and halved)
• Elderflower tonic

Craft the cocktails: The day before you want to serve these cocktails, pour Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Dry Riesling and your choice of white rum into a pretty pitcher. Submerge several basil leaves and blackberries in the mixture and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, use your favorite glassware and build each drink with ice, blackberries, basil leaves, and a couple of lemon wheels. Fill glasses a quarter of the way with elderflower tonic, and the rest of the way with the chilled wine and rum mixture. Enjoy! Serves 6.

Wine: Discover the drier side of Rieslings with our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Dry Riesling. It is quite enchanting, with bright citrus and spice aromas followed by flavors of stone-fruit. However, it is the dryness that makes this Riesling so extraordinary, and different than most types of this varietal you will experience. You can pair our Dry Riesling with rabbit, crab, oysters, and shrimp for delightful dining.

Chenin Blanc Pineapple Slushies*

“This craft cocktail is a fun way to liven up a summer gathering,” Chris said. “There’s a bit of nostalgia to any slushie drink, but this is definitely a grown-up version of the ones you remember from childhood!”

Pineapple slushie cocktail with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Chenin Blanc
Treasure the tropical taste of our Pineapple Slushie Cocktail!

• 8 ounces of chilled Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Chenin Blanc
— Tip: put wine in the freezer 30 minutes prior to mixing these cocktails
• 4 ounces chilled Plantation Pineapple Rum (used as a float)
• 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
• 1 cup frozen mango chunks
• 6 ounces pineapple juice
• 3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
• 2 ounces ginger syrup (recipe below)
• 4 dashes Bittermen’s Tiki Bitters (or your favorite brand)
• Ice

Ginger Syrup
• 1 cup of water
• 1½ cups organic sugar
• 1 medium ginger root, sliced

Place all ginger syrup ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly so sugar doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 1 hour while it cools. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes 1½ cups of syrup.

Craft the cocktails: Place all ingredients except rum in a blender. Blend until you have obtained a super slushy consistency. Pour into a glass, leaving room to float 1 ounce of Plantation Pineapple Rum on top, then garnish with extreme creativity! Serves 4.

Wine: An estate and online exclusive, our handcrafted Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Chenin Blanc is a rarity among its kind. Enjoy the balanced and fruity introduction, with a lingering, sweet finish accented by floral aromas and citrus flavors. The rich notes make it a wine that can stand firmly on its own, but it does pair well with Asian cuisine, crème brûlée, fresh fruit, fruity desserts, and tiramisu.

Purchase award-winning Biltmore wines!

Bottles of Biltmore Estate Limited Release wines
Biltmore Estate® Limited Release wines, distinguished by a matte black capsule and black-and-gold label, are perfect for sipping by the glass or in craft cocktails.

While the three delicious Biltmore Estate Limited Reserve wines featured in the craft cocktails above are available only in estate shops or online, you can find many of our wines close to home with our Retail Locator.

*Special thanks to The Urban Gastronome for creating the recipes for the craft cocktails featured in the post!

Your Private Oasis Awaits at Biltmore

Your private oasis awaits at Biltmore when you reserve a getaway at our Market Gardener’s Cottage on Biltmore Estate.

When visiting the estate, you may have noticed this beautiful cottage facing the river along the exit road.

Built in 1896, this original private home is now available as one of the estate’s lodging properties which also includes The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, and our newest offering, the Dairy Foreman’s Cottage.

Your private oasis

Guests relaxing on the porch of a private oasis--the Market Gardener's Cottage on Biltmore Estate
Inside or outdoors, the Market Gardener’s Cottage offers privacy to relax and enjoy your stay at Biltmore

“The Market Gardener’s Cottage really is a private oasis and our most luxurious retreat,” said Jeanne Gualano, Lodging Director of Revenue.

“This beautifully appointed home features quaint porches, lush gardens, and the opportunity to customize your stay with concierge service and a private chef,” Jeanne said.

“You’ll enjoy access to estate gardens, grounds, and Antler Hill Village & Winery for your length of stay, plus access to amenities at our four-star Inn, including The Spa Biltmore, fitness center, and outdoor heated pool and hot tub that are open seasonally,” said Jeanne.

Cottage history

Archival image of agricultural workers and estate residents at the Market Garden, photographed in front of an elaborate display of estate-raised produce.

Designed by Richard Howland Hunt, son of Biltmore House architect Richard Morris Hunt, the Market Gardener’s Cottage originally anchored the Market Garden, also known as the Truck Farm.

This garden was considered the most important vegetable growing site on the property, where many seasons of vegetables and fruits were harvested to serve the estate. The staff always employed the latest scientific farming techniques and machinery, not surprisingly since George Vanderbilt often was thought of as an innovator.

It may be hard to imagine now, but the estate’s first vegetables were intended to grow in the Walled Garden near Biltmore House. After a short time, however, Mr. Vanderbilt wanted the gardens closest to Biltmore House to thrive with ornamental plants and flowers.

Archival image of Walled Garden
The Vegetable and Flower Garden (now the Walled Garden), circa 1895

Fruits and vegetable production was relocated to the site of the Market Gardener’s Cottage, on fertile bottomland along the Swannanoa River near its juncture with the French Broad.

Biltmore’s first market gardener

George Stevenson Arthur (1861-1945), a native of Scotland, came to Biltmore in 1897 to manage the estate’s gardens and greenhouse. For the next 17 years, he and his wife, Isabella, lived and raised nine children in the cottage. Following George Vanderbilt’s death in 1914, the family moved to Biltmore Village.

The estate’s agricultural heritage

Archival image of estate workers during harvest season at Biltmore, ca. 1900

Archival documents tell us that Biltmore sold excess vegetables and fruit to the public at wholesale rates. An Asheville Daily Citizen article alerted its readers “and housekeepers [to] have their attention attracted to the new advertisement of the Biltmore Farms …” An article later that year predicted that, because “Mr. Vanderbilt … has both brains and science at his command,” the Biltmore Market Garden could easily compete with the long-established farms of the northeastern U.S.

Archives also show that in 1897, estate superintendent Charles McNamee placed an ad in the Asheville Daily Citizen for cabbage and three kinds of sweet potatoes for sale from the garden.

The courtyard by the cottage also served as a vegetable packinghouse and wholesale outlet for local merchants who could access the estate from Victoria Bridge on the Swannanoa River.

Creating a modern private oasis

One of two bedrooms in the Market Gardener's Cottage
One of two comfortable, well-appointed guest bedrooms in the Market Gardener’s Cottage

In the early 1980s, the cottage was renovated to provide accommodations for VIPs and individuals from out of town who had business with the estate.

The courtyard was used as an outdoor set during the 1992 production of Last of the Mohicans, filmed on the grounds of Biltmore and at other locations in Western North Carolina.

“The Market Gardener’s Cottage was renovated again in the last few years,” said Jeanne. “This time, it was reimagined to feel like a private home, as if you are a guest of the Vanderbilts with your own address!”

The cottage, which features exceptional Biltmore For Your Home furnishings and décor, offers an oasis for those who desire a private and luxurious setting as a home base for enjoying their Biltmore experience.

Your private oasis awaits!

Your private oasis awaits at Biltmore with a stay at the Market Gardener's Cottage
The Market Gardener’s Cottage features a courtyard as part of its private oasis charm

Beautifully updated to offer a unique experience of Biltmore, each of the Cottages on Biltmore Estate™ is a private oasis of service, style, and charm that harkens back to the Vanderbilt era—classic homes wrapped in history and refined with modern touches.

Discover your private oasis with our Market Gardener’s Cottage or plan a stay at the newly renovated Dairy Foreman’s Cottage in a charming wooded setting within walking distance of The Inn and Antler Hill Village & Winery.

Create a spring centerpiece inspired by Biltmore

Fresh for spring, you can create a spring centerpiece inspired by the glorious floral arrangements in Biltmore House during our annual Biltmore Blooms celebration!

Spring is a favorite season at Biltmore

Spring centerpiece in Mrs. Vanderbilt's Bedroom at Biltmore
See stunning spring arrangements like this in Biltmore House during Biltmore Blooms

“I think spring is a favorite season for many of us at Biltmore,” said Lizzie Borchers, Floral Manager.

“We love to celebrate the season by creating arrangements that harmonize with the décor in Biltmore House,” Lizzie said, “and we also love to highlight special features with our designs.”

Spring centerpiece in the Library at Biltmore House
Lovely blooms, including early spring branches, add interest to any spring centerpiece

This year during Biltmore Blooms, Lizzie and her team will be delighting guests with an “Art in Bloom” theme that showcases some of the priceless portraits and fantastic furnishings in America’s Largest Home.

Create your own stunning spring centerpiece

Blue and white spring blooms
Create a stunning centerpiece that’s perfect for spring!

Ready to create your own spring centerpiece inspired by Biltmore?

With some helpful suggestions from our floral team, you can create a stunning design that evokes the fresh feeling of spring with a classic blue-and-white theme.

“Although we’re used to making arrangements on a grand scale that suits Biltmore House, you can use our techniques to achieve a centerpiece that works for your space,” said Lizzie. “Just choose a smaller container as your starting point!”

In addition to the blue-and-white blooms recommended below, try adding pretty pops of color with unexpected touches like peacock feathers and a decorative egg-filled bird’s nest as a special nod to spring.

Suggested Materials
Neutral-colored container
Floral oasis
Blue spring Dutch iris
Caspia
Cream stock
Pittosporum (potted version used in this arrangement)
White roses
White hydrangea
Peacock feathers (optional)
Decorative bird nest with eggs (optional)

Begin by cutting a piece of floral oasis foam to fit snugly inside your container. Soak it well, then begin adding flowers and greenery.

Tips: you can create an equally pretty arrangement by using small potted plants (or even permanent botanicals) rather than freshly cut flowers.

Choose green and flowering plants of different heights for texture and interest, and add pieces of Styrofoam to lift some pots higher than others.

Plan your Biltmore Blooms visit

Family activities for spring at Biltmore
Explore our glorious gardens and grounds during Biltmore Blooms this spring

Make plans now to celebrate spring during Biltmore Blooms, April 1 – May 27, 2021.

In addition to the wonders of Biltmore Blooms, you’ll be able to enjoy Biltmore Gardens Railway in the Conservatory, Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty in Antler Hill Village, and much more!

Celebrate Our 125th Anniversary with Sparkling Wine

To celebrate our 125th anniversary, Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak created a sparkling wine to commemorate the occasion.

Here’s a brief history of the first Christmas event at Biltmore, and the seasonal spirit that inspired our new Biltmore Estate® 125th Anniversary Release Brut sparkling wine.

Biltmore’s first Christmas

Celebrate Christmas at Biltmore
The towering Banquet Hall Christmas tree has been a tradition for 125 years

On Christmas Eve of 1895, George Vanderbilt welcomed his friends and family to celebrate the holiday in his magnificent new home. The following account of “Christmas at Biltmore” was reported in The Times-Democrat newspaper from New Orleans, Louisiana, two days later:

Newspaper account of the celebration

Floral team members install garland
Garlands and greenery are still used to decorate Biltmore House

“For many days workmen were enhancing the splendor of the chateau with decorations appropriate to the Christmas season, under the direction of Mr. Vanderbilt. His suggestions have covered every detail, and a beautiful and elaborate scene was unfolded before his guests yesterday.

Decoration of the planthouse (Winter Garden) is the chief feature. The design called for an unobstructed view from all the approaches within the chateau, and the idea is thoroughly realistic. The exquisite charm of the enclosed garden is apparent at the first glance as the guests enter the main floor.

Winter Garden in Biltmore House
The Winter Garden decorated for Christmas at Biltmore in 2020

Above, from a symmetrical dome, fall great festoons of spruce and waxen holly, forming arching lines, while garlands of the same evergreens adorn each point of vantage. The effect is as if a vast green canopy had been erected under the span of the dome, the supports of which, also laden with green, serve as pillars of the canopy.

About the floor of the planthouse innumerable palms and ferns are arranged in such a way as to give all the natural effect of a garden in the opening of a tropical forest. That eye may not be wearied with one unvaried hue of green, many plants in full bloom are placed here and there in the planthouse, their color being used to the fullest advantage.

Enornous red berry wreath in the Library at Biltmore House
This enormous berry-and-ribbon wreath in the Library recalls the natural decor from Biltmore’s first Christmas celebration

The forests of Biltmore estate afforded a wealth of the desired foliage, and plants from a New York florist, who arranged the whole scene, and bushels of scarlet holly berries were ordered from the marshes of Eastern Carolina and were used in ornamentation of the chateau.”

The tradition continues

This year marks the 125th time that the halls of Biltmore House have been decked in honor of Christmas. As part of the celebration, Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak spent months developing our new Biltmore Estate® 125th Anniversary Release Brut.

Celebrate Our 125th Anniversary with Sparkling Wine

Biltmore sparkling wine in an ice bucket
Add sparkle to your celebrations with Biltmore sparkling wines

“This sparkling wine is handcrafted in the traditional méthode champenoise with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes selected from partner vineyards in California,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Wine Marketing Manager.

“It’s a wonderful wine with a touch of rose gold color and aromas of tangerine, yeast, strawberry, and honey,” Jill said. “The taste is refreshing and nicely balanced with tiny bubbles and hints of strawberry, mint, and Meyer lemon.”

Pouring Biltmore sparkling wine into a glass
Celebrate our anniversary–or yours–with the new Biltmore Estate 125th Anniversary Release Brut

According to Jill, this is an excellent sparkling wine to pair with charcuterie and cheese boards, fresh fruit, caviar, steak tartar, scallops, and angel food cake with strawberries.

Perfect for any occasion!

Couple drinking winter wines while they savor in place at home
Include Biltmore wines in your Valentine’s Day celebration!

“It’s also perfect for ringing in the New Year, or giving as a thoughtful gift of the season,” noted Jill. “And be sure to have plenty of our exceptional Biltmore bubbles on hand for your Valentine’s Day celebrations!”

Home for the Holidays: Virtual Gift Giving and Entertaining

This year, staying home for the holidays means you’ll need more virtual gift giving and entertaining ideas than ever before.

Virtual gift giving and entertaining

Celebrate Christmas with Biltmore wines
Whether you’re home for the holidays, traveling, or hosting a virtual celebration, Biltmore wines help make the season bright

To help you savor the season instead of stressing about the details, we sought inspiration from the experts with Biltmore wines to assist you in making the most of the moments that matter.

“Each year, we create a special wine guide that highlights fine Biltmore wines, great wine and food pairings, and useful accessories,” said Chris Price, Wine Marketing Manager.

“For our 2020 Holiday Wine Guide, however, we’ve gone all out to bring you everything from how to host a virtual wine tasting to a custom playlist perfect for prepping a holiday feast in the kitchen or keeping the party going,” Chris said, “so whether you’re gathering together at home, traveling, or hosting a virtual celebration, we hope you’ll be inspired to simplify and celebrate the season with Biltmore wines!”

Bundle the best of Biltmore wines

Biltmore wines with chocolate desserts
For the holidays, we’ve bundled the best of our award-winning wines to help you simplify your celebrations (and save)!

No matter what kind of holiday event you’re planning, we’ve bundled the best of our Biltmore wines to make it easy to celebrate the season:

  • Tree-Raising Wine Trio
    Raise a glass to celebrate our most beloved Christmas tradition–tree raising at Biltmore–or enjoy while decorating your own tree at home.
  • Winemaker’s Wonderland Bundle
    Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak reveals four of her seasonal favorites for holiday entertaining!
  • Holiday Cheer Wine Trio
    Whether you’re celebrating in person or hosting a virtual gathering, this trio of wines is perfect for every palate. Savor as a set or give as thoughtful gifts of the season.

Celebrate with the sounds of the season

Couple video chatting with friends during Christmas dinner
Make your virtual celebration merrier with a custom holiday playlist from Biltmore wines

According to John Justice from our Biltmore wines sales team, it doesn’t matter if you’re celebrating together with friends or video chatting with family far away, music is one of the best ways to set the mood.

With that in mind, John created a custom holiday playlist filled with festive favorites he selected especially for the merriest months of the year.

“I enjoy cooking for friends and family,” John said, “and I’ve always got music playing while everyone helps out in the kitchen. Whether you’ve got a house filled of folks or you’re hosting a virtual gathering, pour yourself a glass of Biltmore wine and get everybody in the holiday groove with this mix of old and new songs!”

Friends toasting with red wine
Our holiday playlist pairs perfectly with everything from family gatherings and road trips to visit friends to virtual entertaining from the comfort of home

“After your event ends, you can send everyone the link to the playlist so they can enjoy it all season long,” said John. “It’s becomes a memorable party favor for your guests!”

Pour on the cheer with wine-themed cocktails

Tray of cocktails
Make the season bright with a holiday happy hour including cocktails featuring Biltmore wines!

For those who enjoy holiday happy hours, Biltmore wines puts the “old fashioned” in classic cocktails, plus new twists on traditional libations.

“Mix it up this season with delightful cocktails featuring Biltmore wines like our refreshing Orange Muscat Mimosa,” advised Chris, “or go elegant with a French Rose 75 topped with Biltmore sparkling wine–there’s something for every taste and occasion!”

Give the gift of a memorable experience

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

When it comes to gift giving, nothing satisfies like an experience that the recipient can enjoy in the moment and relive with great memories.

“One of my favorite ways to celebrate someone special is by giving them a year-long membership to the Vanderbilt Wine Club,” said Chris. “The person who receives it can look forward to a shipment of our award-winning Biltmore wines delivered to their door each season, and they’ll think of you each time it arrives!”

Biltmore Red Wine & Chocolate tasting setup
Enjoy a specialty experiences like our Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting offered daily at the Winery

Other memorable options include a Biltmore Annual Pass or a Biltmore gift card redeemable for a Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting or other specialty experiences at the Winery.

2020 Holiday Wine Guide

Biltmore wines in front of a fireplace
Find inspiration for virtual gift giving and entertaining with our 2020 Holiday Wine Guide

Discover more virtual gift giving in our 2020 Holiday Wine Guide, including chef-inspired food pairings, stellar Biltmore wine picks, a video for hosting virtual holiday wine tastings, crafts, seasonal DIY décor, and other easy ideas for enjoying time together with loved ones, near and far.

You can also stock up on Biltmore wines in most estate shops, online, and in your own neighborhood with our Retail Locator.

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting

With many of us planning to stay home for the holidays, hosting a virtual wine tasting is a great way to connect with family and friends whether they live around the corner or around the world.

Hosting a virtual wine tasting

Jeff Plack, Senior Director of Wine Production Operations, has created a helpful video to provide some holiday how-to on hosting a virtual wine tasting at home with our Virtual Wine Tasting Set.

Join Jeff Plack as he guides you through hosting a virtual wine tasting at home!

“You don’t have to be a serious connoisseur to host a tasting,” Jeff said. “Just gather everyone together around their computers and start sharing!”

Planning process

Biltmore wines with Christmas tree and desserts
When planning your virtual wine tasting, choose at least three wines to sample together

In addition to the video, Jeff also walks you through the planning process below so you’ll have a checklist and other helpful tools.

“The simplest tastings usually include at least three wines,” said Jeff, “like three whites or three reds.”

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: Send an invitation to join the online tasting ahead of time, and be sure to include the wine list and any other essentials your online guests will need to purchase or have on hand, including the following items:

  • Wines for tasting
  • Corkscrew
  • Glasses
  • White napkins (to help observe wine color)
  • Container for emptying leftover wine
  • Water and plain crackers for palate cleansing between tastes
  • Pen and paper for notes
  • Print-at-home wine tasting placemats (optional)

Choose a theme

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

“For white wines, consider light and fruity options such as Biltmore Estate® Pinot Grigio and Biltmore Estate® Riesling. Or try a mix of our sparkling wines—we handcraft several different styles from lightly sweet to bone dry,” Jeff said.

For a red wine flight, he suggests choosing bold reds like Biltmore Estate® Syrah and Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon, or unique blends including Biltmore Estate® Cardinal’s Crest and Biltmore® Century Sweet Red Wine.

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: For best results, begin the tasting with the lightest wine and end with the most robust one.

Bundle the joy

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Pour on the cheer with a holiday-themed virtual wine tasting

If you prefer a holiday theme for your tasting, check out our special offerings that help you pour on the cheer and bundle the savings:

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: No one wants to be left out of the fun, so we suggest Biltmore Sparkling Red Grape Juice for younger guests or those who prefer a non-alcoholic option.

Sense and savor

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Hold wines up to the light and against a white background like a napkin to tablecloth to see their true color

“Before tasting a wine, have everyone hold it in front of a white napkin or tablecloth to observe its color,” Jeff said.

“Next, place the rim of the glass to your nose, inhaling deeply to smell the wine’s aroma. After you’ve fully experienced the scent, take a sip and keep it in your mouth for a few seconds so that it comes into contact with all your taste buds,” said Jeff.

Virtual Wine Tasting Tip: After savoring the wine by sight, smell, and taste, remind everyone to note their observations about what makes it unique and what they like about it.

Add ambience to your virtual wine tasting

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Make your virtual wine tasting more merry with a special holiday playlist

“As the host of the virtual wine tasting, you’ll want to keep to keep things moving as you guide guests through the process,” noted Jeff.

According to Jeff, you can help set a merry mood with a customized playlist of favorites like this one we created especially for holiday entertaining.

“After the virtual wine tasting ends, share it with everyone to remind them of the occasion,” advised Jeff.

Pour on the cheer

Biltmore wines on a holiday table
Enhance any holiday tradition with a virtual tasting of Biltmore wines

To enhance the experience further, consider combining your virtual wine tasting event with another holiday tradition such as your family’s annual tree raising, Friendsgiving, or your neighborhood cookie swap. The possibilities are endless!

2021 Holiday Wine Guide

Home for the Holidays: Hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting
Our Wine Holiday Guide brings together the best of Biltmore for holiday entertaining

Whether you’re hosting a party in person, traveling to visit family, or hosting a virtual wine tasting event, let Biltmore help you discover specially curated wine bundles, chef-inspired food pairings, and custom holiday playlists, plus tips, crafts, and videos that bring it all together.

In addition, you’ll find all our award-winning Biltmore wines on the estate, online, and close to home with the help of our Retail Locator.

First Look: Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore Collection

Shop the new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke, available now at the estate and online!

Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore

Shop new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke
This sleek and stylish wallet is perfect when you’re on the go or as an accompaniment to the roomy tote in the Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore collection

“We are thrilled to announce the new Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore collection,” said Clay Chaffin, Senior Director, Product Design, Development & Merchandising. “When a storied brand like Biltmore connects with a fashion icon such as Dooney & Bourke, the results are nothing short of inspiring.”

Estate-inspired design

Shop new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke
The new collection is available in a tote, wallet, and crossbody bag

The new design by Dooney & Bourke weaves classic architectural elements and elegant patterns from America’s Largest Home® into a timeless style, bringing form and function together in these three separate pieces:

  • Biltmore Estate® Classic Tote Bag by Dooney & Bourke
  • Biltmore Estate® Classic Crossbody Bag by Dooney & Bourke
  • Biltmore Estate® Classic Wallet by Dooney & Bourke

“We worked with Dooney & Bourke designers to capture some of the most beloved details of George Vanderbilt’s magnificent estate, then combined them with the artistic direction of Dooney & Bourke to create a signature Biltmore pattern that fans of both brands will love,” Clay said.

Emphasis on quality

Not only are the two brands compatible in terms of their design aesthetic, but they’re also a match in their emphasis on quality and integrity.

Inspired by America’s rich history in leather goods, ranging from mail pouches to saddle bags and other gear, Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke created the distinct blend of classic and contemporary styles that have been the hallmark of every Dooney & Bourke collection for more than 40 years.

With a steadfast commitment to enduring style, timeless versatility, and uncompromising quality, Dooney & Bourke selects only the finest raw materials and follows the time-honored techniques of old world leather craftsmen.

More to come

Shop new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke
Be among the first to shop the new Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore bags!

“This new Biltmore Estate Classic pattern is the first of three curated collections featuring exceptional quality and richly detailed textures that invite you to indulge in more than one,” said Clay. “We’ll be sharing a sneak peak at what’s next in the coming months!”

Bring Biltmore home for the holidays

Ladies shopping in Antler Hill Village at Biltmore
Visit our estate shops for all your holiday gifts–including the new Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore bags!

Find Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore just in time for holiday shopping. Available in a tote, crossbody bag, and wallet styles, there’s a perfect option for everyone–including you!

Take care of your gift-giving list in any of our estate shops, or shop online from the comfort of home at BiltmoreShop.com.

Fans Choose Our 2020 Christmas Wine Labels

(Please enjoy this archived content from Christmas 2020.)

For the past three years, our Facebook fans have been the ones to choose the style of our Christmas at Biltmore Wine labels.

Crowdsourcing our Christmas wine labels

Fans choose our 2020 Christmas Wine Labels
Indoor and outdoor holiday elements were chosen by our Facebook fans for 2020

“It’s worked so well that we keep doing it,” said Chris Price, Wine Marketing Manager. “By voting for the Christmas wine label styles and themes on Facebook, our fans really help us capture the spirit of the season.”

Working with a North Carolina artist

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

Christmas at Biltmore white and red wines
Your virtual tasting theme can be anything you like, including Christmas at Biltmore white and red wines!

Two winning themes emerged after two rounds of online voting: a wonderfully warm vignette in the grand Library of Biltmore House, and a whimsical outdoor scene featuring the iconic architecture of America’s Largest Home®.

Images tell a special story

Fans choose themes for our 2020 Christmas Wine labels
Paintings in progress: artwork for both labels side-by-side in Denise Nelson’s studio

According to the artist, her assignment felt a little overwhelming at first because both the Library and the house are so richly detailed, but as she began working with the two different ideas that were selected, the images began to tell their own special stories.

Fans choose themes for our 2020 Christmas Wine labels
Denise builds layers of warm color and delightful detail for the Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label painting

“I started with the Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label,” Denise said. ” It was delightful to present an interior view of the house that includes a child’s rocking horse and Cedric, the Vanderbilts’ beloved Saint Bernard, resting on the hearth in front of the massive fireplace.”

Detail of Cedric the St. Bernard for our 2020 Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label
Denise captured Cedric the St. Bernard in magnificent detail, from the rough texture of his coat to the firelight reflected in his eyes

Denise was able to work in other wonderful Library details, like cheerful Christmas décor and a glimpse of Pelligrini’s The Chariot of Aurora ceiling painting soaring overhead.

Classic architecture meets frosty fun

Artist's palette with colors for Christmas at Biltmore Wine labels
Denise kept her colors cool for the Christmas at Biltmore White Wine label

Fans also voted to see a snowy outdoor scene featuring Biltmore House at night, and Denise was happy to oblige.

Fans choose themes like this snowman for our 2020 Christmas Wine labels
For the Christmas at Biltmore White Wine label, Denise painted a timeless winter scene that looks as if the Vanderbilts and their guests might have created this cheerful snowman before returning to the warmth of Biltmore House!

“I imagined a nicely chilled bottle of Christmas at Biltmore White Wine,” said Denise, “and that helped me capture the tone of the season. You’ll see the windows of Biltmore House alight for the holidays, and a cheerful snowman in a red scarf adds a bit of frosty fun to the formal architecture.”

Give a thoughtful gift of wine this season

Christmas at Biltmore wines with dessert
Christmas at Biltmore Wines are perfect for gift giving and for complementing your favorite flavors at the holiday buffet or dessert table

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.

Savor Summer with These Limited Release White Wines

Savor summer with these Limited Release white wines, handcrafted by Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak to refresh your palate all season long.

“Of course white wines aren’t just for summer,” said Sharon, “but they are uniquely suited to provide crisp, refreshing flavor and pair well with the kinds of lighter foods we enjoy most during warmer weather.”

For the Biltmore Estate Limited Release series, Sharon seeks smaller lots of exceptional grapes from our partner vineyards in California and Washington, allowing her to showcase her skillful artistry in each bottle.

Let’s take a look at four Limited Release white wines crafted from varietals that may be less well known than more mainstream whites such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio:

1. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne

Friends toasting with Biltmore wine
Our new Biltmore Estate Albariño makes any occasion seem special!

Originally from France’s Northern Rhône region, Marsanne is a less well-known white varietal often blended with Roussanne.

After selecting fruit from our California growing partners, Sharon handcrafts our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne to be light straw in color, with bright opening aromas of banana, kiwi, and lime.

Refreshing with a nice acidity, this light-to-medium-bodied Marsanne offers a fresh flavor reminiscent of tart green apples. Perfect for summer sipping and outdoor entertaining like a classic Lowcountry seafood boil, our Marsanne is excellent with lighter fare such as orange chicken, scallops, and fish tacos, or spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette.

For desserts, consider key lime pie and lemon pound cake. If you’ve already discovered that you’re a fan of Biltmore’s other food-friendly white wines, we predict you’ll love getting to know our Marsanne!

2. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat

Celebrate summer with Limited Release white wines
Savor summer with our Limited Release white wines, including Orange Muscat

Although it has old-world origins in Italy and France, Orange Muscat is better known today through new-world plantings in the U.S. and Australia.

We handcraft this highly aromatic member of the Muscat family into a straw-colored wine with a luscious fragrant bouquet of peach blossom, honey, and ripe melon.

Light-bodied, nicely balanced, and sweet-forward with flavors of honey and tropical fruit, our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat offers a clean, lightly tart finish that is surprisingly zesty.

Savor this delightful “glass full of summer” with Mexican dishes, crab salad, spicy black bean burgers, Nashville-style hot chicken, fruit salad, angel food cake, and lemon tart.

Most of all, be sure to sip it outdoors on the porch, or try it as the base of a refreshing summer cocktail like this Orange Muscat Mimosa or a pitcher of fruity sangria.

3. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Roussanne

Savor summer with white wines
Enjoy all our Limited Release wines, including Roussanne, this summer!

Roussanne is a late-ripening white grape that originated in the Rhone region of France. While it is often blended with Marsanne, Sharon has chosen to handcraft this Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne as a single varietal with fine grapes selected from partner vineyards in Paso Robles, California.

This medium-bodied pale gold wine offers scents of lime, pear, and coconut. It is soft, round, and nicely balanced with slight hints of minerality along with flavors of lime, kiwi, and tangerine.

Pair it with lighter fare including fish tacos, trout, chicken salad with grapes and strawberries, or a wedge of Ibérico cheese. Refreshing and easy to drink, we suggest sipping a glass of Roussanne while relaxing on the porch—or take a bottle along to your next rustic cabin adventure or “glamping” getaway.

4. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon

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

Sémillon is native to France’s Bordeaux region. While it is often blended with other wines to give them more body and brighter flavor, Sharon opts to handcraft our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon as a single varietal to express its distinctive characteristics.

The grapes are selected from partner vineyards in Lake County, California, and the resulting light green-gold wine features a bouquet of fresh pear, banana, and floral notes.

Medium-light in body, our round, creamy Sémillon offers tastes of crisp apple, vanilla, and hints of oak along with good acidity and a soft finish.

Enjoy it with pan-seared scallops, Crab Louie, grilled chicken Caesar salad, and party favorites including brie, savory vol-au-vent canapés, and petite fours. Serve this lovely white wine with a casual dinner, bring it along on a summer picnic, or simply sip it by the glass

Savor Summer with Limited Release White Wines

Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
As a Vanderbilt Wine Club member, you’ll receive a shipment of Biltmore wines each season, plus access to exclusive vintages, events, and more

Our Limited Release wines–including the four that we’ve highlighted in this post–are exclusively available on the estate, online, or through the Vanderbilt Wine Club®.