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Celebrate Our 125th Anniversary with Sparkling Wine

All Things Biltmore • 12/30/20

Written By Jean Sexton

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 wine while they savor in place at home
Include Biltmore bubbles 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!”

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