Our American Series wine labels are inspired by our past
Written By Sharon Fenchak
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In 1960, George Vanderbilt’s grandson William A.V. Cecil took over management of Biltmore. In keeping with his grandfather’s vision of a working agricultural property that could sustain itself, Mr. Cecil realized that nothing was more appropriate for a French chateau than a vineyard.
The first vines were planted at Biltmore in the early 70s, and by 1983, the Biltmore Estate Wine Company was firmly established. Renovation began on an original dairy structure to convert it into a state-of-the-art winery, which opened to the public in 1985.
In honor of our new wine labels that celebrate our distinguished American appellation, we’re taking a look back at our past:
In 1976, our first wine label featured a sketch of Biltmore House along with the Cecil family crest and a rampant lion. The labels were inspired by the very successful Biltmore Dairy logo that consumers already associated with quality and authenticity. Wines bearing this label were only available on the estate.
The next iteration of our labels was created in an effort to simplify the process of choosing wines. Each varietal was numbered, beginning with red wines and moving to whites (dryer whites were even numbers and sweeter whites were odd). “It was a hearfelt method for us,” said Jerry, “but we quickly discovered that our customers wanted to know a little bit more about the wine than just its name and number!” These labels appeared in local markets from 1984–1985 and helped kick-off the opening of our new Winery.
New designs for new markets
This simple, elegant label graced our wines from 1986–1993. Although more refined than its predecessor, it featured the Winery clock tower and lacked a visual reference point to Biltmore House. We updated the label again to include a detailed line sketch of America’s Largest Home® since this was so iconic for our brand.
Created for us by the experts of Colonna Farrell Design in Napa Valley, these labels highlighted that our wines were neither “French traditional” nor “California modern,” but authentic to Biltmore and reflective of our own unique style and heritage of winemaking. The labels were a big hit with consumers on and off the estate.
Further refinements and new printing techniques resulted in this second Colonna Farrell label with a view of Biltmore House against the Blue Ridge Mountains. This label, which we used from 2001–2008, helped consumers easily identify our location and understand that our wines were crafted and bottled here. More prominence was provided for the varietal, as well, to make it easier to shop our wines.
In 2009, these labels were designed as part of an overall branding initiative for the entire company. The new look focused on the wine varietal along with highly recognizable elements of Biltmore House.
Five years later, we were ready for the launch of our newest label, which you see as our featured photo for this post. We chose the design experts at CF Napa to help us craft a stunning visual statement that celebrates our history and our passion for fine wines.
2014: A distinctive look and taste
Each of our American Series wines is handcrafted to represent true varietal character as well as outstanding taste. Recognizable by their rich red capsule, gorgeous rendering of Biltmore House, and signature of founder George Vanderbilt, the American Series is widely available in restaurants, grocery stores, and wine shops as well as the estate.
For our Limited Release wines in the American Series, it was important to create similar-but-distinctive labels to highlight this special collection available only on the estate, online, or through the Vanderbilt Wine Club.
“Handcrafted in smaller quantities, our Limited Release wines are unique,” said Jerry. “Our winemakers offer creative varietal blends crafted with special techniques, and we invite you to taste them the next time you visit Biltmore.”