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®.

The Railcar Red Wine Runs Smooth

The Railcar Red Wine runs smooth–and we invite you to try it for yourself!

The powerful red blend—handcrafted to honor George Vanderbilt’s personal ties to the American railroad industry—and as a complement to Biltmore Gardens Railway—is just the ticket for sipping and savoring with your favorite foods.

The Railcar Red Wine runs smooth
The Railcar red wine is a powerful complement to Biltmore Gardens Railway

The Railcar red wine runs smooth

The Railcar is a distinctive red wine crafted predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Merlot,” said Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak. “I selected fruit from our vineyard partners in Paso Robles and Lake County—two outstanding grape-growing regions in California’s wine country.”

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

Friends toasting with red wine
Cheers to the chill, grill, and thrill of summer entertaining

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

Creating a distinctive label

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

Sketches for The Railcar label
Bryan refines his graphite concept sketches for The Railcar red wine

Getting on track with a local artist

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

Transitioning the sketches from graphite to watercolor
Transitioning from graphite to watercolor

Concepts and sketches

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

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

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

Refining the details

The artist at work on the label in his studio
Bryan at work on the label in his studio

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

Final touches for The Railcar label
The label nearing completion

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

Enjoy The Railcar Red Wine along with Biltmore Gardens Railway!

Biltlmore Gardens Railway display
Biltmore Gardens Railway in Antler Hill Village

From July 1, 2020, through February 15, 2021, marvel at Biltmore Gardens Railway, our botanical model train display located in Antler Hill Village.

New this year, we’re featuring iconic American train stations crafted from natural materials such as leaves, twigs, and bark.

Stroll through this fascinating display that hearkens back to the golden age of train travel, and celebrate the occasion with a distinctive bottle of The Railcar Red Wine, available at estate shops, online, or close to home with our Retailer Locator.

Biltmore Red Wines Are Father’s Day Favorites

If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate your dad, Biltmore red wines are Father’s Day favorites!

Biltmore red wines are Father's Day favorites
Biltmore red wines are Father’s Day favorites!

Any of our award-winning Biltmore wines make a thoughtful gift, but here are some special ways to pair your father’s favorite fare with our distinctive red wines:

Host a hearty breakfast or brunch

Charcuterie and wine

Is your dad always first in line at the breakfast buffet? This year, start the day with a new tradition: a sharp-dressed charcuterie board that’s more tempting than pastries or pancakes.

“Charcuterie incorporates many of the same elements as a standard breakfast, but it’s a fresh way to enjoy a special morning meal,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Marketing Manager for Biltmore Wines.

“Set up a spread with several different meats such as thin slices of prosciutto and jamon, rounds of salami and spicy chorizo, and a savory spread like salmon rillettes or smoked trout dip,” Jill said.

In addition, Jill suggests adding hard and soft cheeses to the mix, plus herbed nuts and dried fruit for texture.

Biltmore honey, spreads, and wine
Add honey for drizzling and pepper jelly for a hint of spice

“Last but not least, keep the breakfast theme going with toast points and tea biscuits instead of the usual baguette and crackers,” Jill said. “Round out your board with honey for drizzling and pepper jelly for spice, and voila! A breakfast or brunch that’s sure to delight Dad!”

Wine Tips: If you’re serving charcuterie before noon, uncork our Biltmore Estate Blanc de Noir sparkling–its warm coral color and hints of cherries will pair perfectly with the all the rich meats and cheeses.

Later in the day? Try our Biltmore Estate Pinot Noir or Pinoette–a smoky duet of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunierre–with the charcuterie board.

Liven up lunch with Father’s Day favorites

Three bottles of Biltmore Estate Limited Release wine on a chair
Biltmore Estate Limited Releases red wines are perfect for Father’s Day

For a special lunch on Father’s Day, repeat after us: grill it and chill it! That takes care of the main course and the wine, and you can ask family and friends to bring sides and dessert.

Wine Tips: for gourmet grilled burgers and brats, chill bottles of Biltmore Estate Limited Release Malbec or Limited Release Mourvédre for about 20 minutes before you serve lunch–that brings the temperature down to a perfect level without getting too cold.

Pulled pork barbecue plate
Grilled burgers or smoky barbecue give Dad a reason to celebrate

If Dad prefers a backyard barbecue, pair his smoky chopped, pulled, or grilled favorites with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Barbera.

King of cocktails

Negroni cocktails with Mariporta Red Dessert Wine
Shake up a classic cocktail for Father’s Day, like a Negroni made with Mariporta

Somewhere between lunch and dinner, Father’s Day naturally flows into happy hour. Declare your dad “king of cocktails” with an old-school Negroni, updated with the addition of our Mariporta Red Dessert Wine.

Dig in to dinner with Dad

Biltmore red wines are Father's Day favorites
Show Dad how much you appreciate him with a bottle of our finest wine!

Nothing tells Dad it’s Father’s Day like an exceptional steak paired with a premium red wine such as our Vanderbilt Reserve Merlot Dry Creek Valley, The Hunt Red Blend Sonoma County, or Antler Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.

Handcrafted with precision and aged to perfection, each of these wines tells your father he’s special and you know it.

Steak with a glass of red wine
Celebrate Father’s Day with a great meal and a glass of Biltmore wine

Wine Tip: When choosing any of these wines for dinner, get your father an extra bottle just for himself. Each of these rich, complex reds have excellent aging potential–just like Dad!

Stock up on Father’s Day favorites now

Biltmore red wines are Father's Day favorites
Make Father’s Day extra special with Biltmore red wines

Biltmore red wines are Father’s Day favorites, and you can stock up on any of our award-winning wines–red, white,  rosé, and sparkling–at estate shops, with our Retail Locator, or online.

Ready to take Father’s Day gift giving to the next level? Give your dad a membership to our Vanderbilt Wine Club. He’ll thank you every time his seasonal wine shipments arrive!

Say “Happy Anniversary!” with Biltmore Wines

Celebrating special anniversaries with Biltmore wines

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

If you’d like to say “happy anniversary!” with Biltmore wines, we have perfect pairings for many milestone years.

People have been giving special gifts to commemorate special wedding anniversaries since the Middle Ages, including the giving of silver wreaths for the 25th and gold wreaths for the 50th.

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

In 1922, Emily Post’s Etiquette, the ultimate book on good manners and proper social behavior, suggested gifts for a couple’s first wedding anniversary, then moved on in five-year increments.

Miss Post’s list is still considered the traditional standard for wedding gifts, so we’ve assembled a Biltmore-inspired gift list featuring some pivotal celebration ideas:


One Year: PAPER

Women with Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
Give someone special the gift of membership in our Vanderbilt Wine Club®
  • Give a gift membership to our Vanderbilt Wine Club! Although the real gift is wine, your recipients will receive a special insert with a letter from our winemaker, wine notes, recipes, and more with each shipment.

5 Years: WOOD

two hands toasting with wine
Savor award-winning Biltmore wines

10 Years: TIN / ALUMINUM

Couple with sparkling wine by a fireplace
Celebrate any special occasion with Biltmore wines

20 Years: CHINA 

Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina
There’s nothing finer than our Biltmore Reserve wines like this Chardonnay

25 Years: SILVER

Couple drinking Biltmore wine while they savor in place
Enjoy Biltmore wine on the estate and at home

50 Years: GOLD

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

Say “Happy Anniversary!” with Biltmore Wines

Biltmore wines with cake and holiday lights
Look for all Biltmore wines online

When you’re ready to say “Happy Anniversary!” to someone special, choose the perfect gift that shows how much you care with our award-winning Biltmore wines.

Biltmore Winery Celebrates 35 Years of Cheers!

As Biltmore Winery celebrates 35 years of cheers this May, we invite you to raise a glass in honor of our anniversary and in honor of NC Wine Month!

Biltmore Winery celbrates 35 years with a special Chardonnay
Our 35th Anniversary Chardonnay was handcrafted to celebrate the Winery

And what’s in that glass you’re raising? Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak has created something truly special for the Winery’s anniversary–a barrel fermented, barrel aged Chardonnay handcrafted from grapes grown in the estate’s own vineyards.

Crafting a special wine for the occasion

“I selected the fruit for our 35th Anniversary Chardonnay from a very special group of clones that I’ve been helping nurture for nearly 20 years in Biltmore’s vineyard,” said Sharon.

Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak in the vineyard
In addition to her other winemaking responsibilities, Sharon oversees the estate’s vineyard

“The term ‘clone’ refers to a cutting or bud from an original varietal,” Sharon said, “and these clones are from old-world Chardonnay vines in Dijon, France.

According to Sharon, these clones produce smaller, looser clusters of grapes with more intense flavors and aromatics that result in a unique and distinctive style of Chardonnay.

The winemaking process

Wine barrels in Biltmore's Barrel Room

In addition to the careful selection of the varietal, Sharon chose to ferment the 35th Anniversary Chardonnay in barrels rather than steel tanks because the exothermic reaction of fermentation helps incorporate more of the barrel flavor and aromas into the wine.

“From its opening bouquet of butter, creamy vanilla, and a bit of green apple, you immediately know this isn’t your average Chardonnay,” said Sharon. “And as you sip, you’ll taste delightful flavors of Meyer lemon and a hint of creamy custard. This barrel-fermented and barrel-aged wine is soft, smooth, and features a subtle acidity.”

Perfect pairings

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

Sharon recommends savoring the Chardonnay with shrimp Alfredo, tuna Niçoise, Caesar salad, and classic southern seven-layer salad. For a delightful dessert pairing, serve some zesty lemon bars that echo the wine’s classic citrus notes.

“Consider enjoying the Chardonnay during dinner alfresco with friends,” Sharon said, “and be sure to raise a glass to the past and present of Biltmore’s Winery!”

Biltmore Winery celebrates 35 years of cheers

Biltmore Winery 35th Anniversary Chardonnay on a table with glasses
Celebrate Biltmore Winery’s 35th anniversary with our special 35th Anniversary Chardonnay

Along with our limited release 35th Anniversary Chardonnay, you can find all our handcrafted Biltmore wines online.

Thank you for making the last three-and-a-half decades so successful for Biltmore’s Winery, and cheers to the next 35 years!