Reading Between the Wines

Written By Jean Sexton

Posted 01/09/17

Updated 03/16/20

As a collector whose interests included fine wines and great literature, George Vanderbilt sought the best of both to share with family and friends at Biltmore.

“In honor of our upcoming Designed for Drama: Fashion from the Classics exhibition premiering in Biltmore House, our winemakers have created two new wines to showcase George Vanderbilt’s passion for great literature and fine vintages,” said Jill Whitfield, Wine Marketing

Known as the Library Series, the wines’ commemorative labels feature silhouettes of beloved literary characters with backgrounds resembling fine leather and gold detailing inspired by volumes in George Vanderbilt’s library.

“We wanted the labels to convey that same sense of richness and texture that you find with the covers of classic books,” Jill said. “And the characters we chose represent romance and mystery—two enduring themes in literature.”

Pencil sketch of Sherlock Holmes for Library Series labelVolume I of the Library Series is a velvety and fruit-forward red blend with flavors of blueberry, blackberry, and hints of oak and vanilla. The dapper detective on the label was hand-drawn by Lisa Vogel, Assistant Art Director, and bears a marked resemblance to Sherlock Holmes. In his “Books I Have Read” journals, George Vanderbilt notes having read some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mysteries.

For Volume II—a white blend with light honey flavors, a touch of spice, and a crisp finish —Lisa drew two figures standing with their backs to each other. Their stiff body language and early 1800s style of dress mark them as the central characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which can be found among George Vanderbilt’s books.

Label for Library Series white wine“Each volume of our Library Series celebrates Vanderbilt’s lifelong passion for learning, his friendships with notable authors, and the intriguing collections in his vast library,” said Jill. “The Library Series wines feature a remarkable blend of handcrafted taste imprinted with distinctive style.”

Our Library Series wines are available during the exhibition at the Winery, in select estate shops, and online.

Designed for Drama brings together the artistry of great literary works, costume design, and movie making. More than 40 award-winning movie costumes will be on display throughout America’s largest home, accompanied by the original books in George Vanderbilt’s 22,000-volume library that inspired the films. Elaborate costumes from recent films including Sherlock Holmes, Finding Neverland, Anna Karenina, and Far from the Madding Crowd will bring many of Vanderbilt’s favorite stories to life showcased in the grand spaces of Biltmore House February 10–July 4, 2017.

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