Restoring the Past: The Smoking & Gun Rooms

For upper echelons during the Gilded Age, few things were more important than networking and maintaining social standing. Smoking and Gun Rooms were essential for many affluent families. At Biltmore, these two rooms have been used in various ways over the last century, yet always centered around hospitality.

In honor of National Preservation Month in May, we invite you to learn about the intricate layers of our preservation efforts to restore the Smoking and Gun Rooms of Biltmore House.

Hallway between Smoking and Gun Room
An archival photo of the hallway from the 1940s displays embossed wallpaper resembling leather, dating back to 1911.

A home well-loved

Biltmore has been called home to many generations of Vanderbilts and Cecils throughout the years. And, just as we do in our own homes, we update, refresh, and alternate the use of space, the Smoking and Gun Rooms on the first floor of Biltmore House were no different.

During George Vanderbilt’s time, gentlemen primarily utilized these rooms to socialize, relax, and gear up for outdoor activities including hunting and fishing. After George’s death, Edith and Cornelia downsized, and used these rooms as office and living quarters, which they remained through the Cecils’ stay. Always evolving and reflecting the tastes of the time and lifestyles of their inhabitants.

Handwritten letter by George Vanderbilt from February 13, 1896. Letter says
A handwritten letter by George Vanderbilt in 1896 gives us a glimpse at the historic use of these rooms.

History writes itself

Through a combination of research, our own archival documents and photos, and those from repositories around the world, we can peel back the layers of time to bring Biltmore back to its roots.

Among the treasures uncovered in our archives are a series of letters that offer a glimpse into the past. One letter, dated to the 1890s, finds George requesting retrieval of a box stored in a desk in the Smoking Room—these little nuggets of information provide us with invaluable clues to the room’s furnishings and use.

“Dear Charles, With the enclosed key please open the desk in the smoking room. In the middle drawer is a box addressed to me at Biltmore about 14×7 inches + 2 inches deep… On the top of the desk are a lot of letters and some invitations. Please mail me these.” – George Vanderbilt on February 13, 1896

Herbert Noble in Biltmore Winter Garden c. 1930
Herbert Noble in Biltmore’s Winter Garden c. 1930

The Butler’s Log

Central to our research efforts is the Butler’s Log, meticulously maintained by Herbert Noble during the 1930s. This detailed account of the changes made within Biltmore House offers a treasure trove of information, from descriptions of room updates to insights into the removal and replacement of furnishings and décor that had been worn out, water damaged, or whatever the case may be. Often what he is moving out is the pieces of information that are most helpful.

Herbert recorded, “Leaks at some time had ruined the original paper which was dark green. As the blue draperies were so very faded and worn, I had new ones made for it of dark red damask…”

Edith standing in the Smoking Room
The wallpaper seen in this photo of Mrs. Vanderbilt matches a sample of wallpaper in storage, which assisted us in restoring the Smoking Room to its original state.

We took that information alongside a picture of Edith which shows a striped wallpaper on the wall behind her and found the same green striped wallpaper in our storage. This sample has since been sent off to be reproduced by Atelier D’Offard in Tours, France, who specializes in hand-blocked wallpapers as produced in the 18th and 19th centuries.. The same company who produced wallpapers for the Louis XV Suite.

Another entry states,”Mr. Cecil uses this room for a writing room.  He had the woodwork cleaned & oiled last year…Mr. Cecil had the backs of the cabinets painted yellow which shows up the birds so much more besides improving the appearance of the room.  The dark blue & red rug is from the Van Dyke room…  As this room had no draperies I hung a pair of velvet draperies in here.

A glimpse inside the Gun Room of Biltmore House as it undergoes preservation.

Digging deeper for information

While we had archival clues for the Smoking Room, the Gun Room required the team to start entirely from scratch. According to Lori Garst, Biltmore’s Curator of Collections, we had no archival drawings to use when planning the restoration of the Gun Room. Our research last summer focused on the function of late 19th  and early 20th-century gun rooms.  Based on the finishes in our gun room, we knew that the dirty work of cleaning the guns was done elsewhere.  Rather, Biltmore’s gun room, like others, was more of a gathering place where the men went to pick up their equipment for the afternoon’s shoot or fishing outing. 

Pardon our Preservation: Restoration of these rooms will be visible to guests through completion.

A mission of preservation

For Lori and the team, every preservation project is a chance to uncover and revive history. “Restoration projects at Biltmore uncover our past. Stories related to the spaces are revealed, and the original design details are uncovered. In the Smoking and Gun Room, we have both. When complete, the rooms will be completely transformed.”

We welcome you to see our ongoing preservation efforts of this National Historic Landmark for yourself during your next Biltmore visit.

In The Spotlight: Biltmore’s Vineyard

Believe it or not, Biltmore’s first vines were planted right next to America’s Largest Home around 1971. What started as a testing ground for hybrid varietals has flourished into a 50-acre vineyard on the West Side of the estate growing varietals such as Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

Follow along as Vineyard Manager, Phil Oglesby shares a glimpse at our estate vineyards throughout the year.

Bud Break at Biltmore Vineyards
During the bud break stage of the vineyard lifecycle, the vines are extremely sensitive at this time and young shoots must be protected.

Spring bud break: New growth begins

“The first major event of spring in any vineyard is bud break,” said Phil Oglesby, Vineyard Manager, “and Biltmore’s vineyard on the west side of the estate is no different. Even though we’re already working with the vines, that first hint of a bud breaking open gives us a sense of urgency that the growing season is underway.”

Once bud break occurs, typically around late March, the vineyard crew becomes even more vigilant because Western North Carolina is potentially under a frost warning until mid-May!

“Protecting the tender, developing green shoots is a priority. We have several strategies we can deploy during a spring freeze to help mitigate damage,” Phil said. “There are wind turbines in the field to keep the air moving so the frost doesn’t settle on the fragile buds, and we can spray the vines with water so they’re encased in ice, which protects them from freezing temperatures, but grapes are still a field crop that is affected by the weather.”

Flowering on Vines at Biltmore Vineyard
The flower bud (inflorescence) contains hundreds of flowers, but not all will turn into berries. In order to thrive, warmth and sunlight are crucial.

Biltmore’s vineyard blooms

As spring’s warmer weather returns, our Biltmore Estate vineyard sees substantial leaf growth in the young shoots fueled by the carbohydrates stored during the dormant winter months. Soon, the vines will bloom with tiny self-pollinating flowers, destined to become berries.

Nature is the best protector during these critical times. We focus on creating an optimal habitat through sustainable practices.

Green wine grape clusters on a vine
Biltmore’s vineyards are flush with bright green grape clusters during the summertime.

Fruiting in time for NC Wine Month

Each May serves as a time for celebration for Biltmore Wines! Not only is it the anniversary month for the opening of our Winery in 1985, but it’s also North Carolina Wine Month.

Meanwhile, the danger of frost in the vineyard has passed, the days are getting longer and warmer, and fruit clusters have begun to form under the leaves. Known as “berries,” these hard green fruits don’t look much like mature grapes, but they continue to ripen.

The summer months set the stage for the fall harvest. As the berries develop, also known as fruit set, our growers get their first look at the amount of crop the vineyard will yield and the amount of wine we will produce.

veraison process at Biltmore Vineyard
The swelling of the grapes with water increases the sugar and tannin levels while reducing the acid levels, all the while accumulating color and flavors.

Veraison signals the countdown to harvest

In the beginning, all berries are green, but as they ripen, they transform into beautiful hues of red, purple, and golden through a process called veraison. Phil said, “By mid-July you should notice some color coming into the grapes—light gold for the Chardonnay and speckles of purple for the Cabernets.”

This noticeable change in color marks a tipping point in the growth process where the plant begins focusing energy on ripening and sweetening the fruit. This change also signals to the teams that the countdown to harvest is underway!

Harvesting at Biltmore Vineyard
Biltmore’s grapes are harvested by hand every year!

Gearing up for harvest season

In every wine-growing region, harvest preparation is one of the busiest times of the year for vineyards and wineries.

Phil and his crew work to prepare the equipment, including hand clippers and flat containers for carrying grape clusters without damaging the fruit.

“Executive Winemaker Sharon Fenchak and Assistant Winemaker Shruthi Dhoopati are frequent vineyard visitors, especially as the fruit develops on the vine,” said Phil Oglesby, Vineyard Manager. “We work together to try predicting harvest yields and we keep a close watch for potential problems that can be minimized with our control. The vineyard team has a shared goal of providing the Winery with the best possible fruit we can produce.”

The crafting of fine wines relies on cooperation and good communication between the teams. A close look at Biltmore Wines—especially during harvest—reveals the benefits of such a relationship.

Harvesting at Biltmore Vineyard
The ripeness of grapes and weather conditions determine the start of harvest. Sweetness, alcohol content, and acidity are all affected by time.

Harvesting our finest fruit

Once harvest begins, the crew will work from sunrise to late afternoon, carefully gathering the ripe fruit that will become the heart of our Biltmore Wines in the years to come.

Chardonnay is one of the early-ripening grapes on Biltmore’s West Side Vineyard. With Mother Nature’s cooperation, Philip and his team will typically begin harvesting this varietal in late August. ⁠

All grapes are hand-picked, with harvests averaging 130 tons annually, and transported to our winery and production facility located in Antler Hill Village where the winemaking process begins.

Winter at Biltmore Vineyard
Snow protects the vines against icy winter temperatures and aids their hibernation.

Caring for the vines during wintertime

Despite what you might think, the vineyard work continues during the winter months! Though the weather may have turned, the dormant vines still need care. Our teams remain hard at work, pruning and protecting the vines to keep them healthy and strong.

While the vines rest, our winemakers continue to craft the recent harvest into wines worthy of a sip. Barrels are filled to the bung hole to compensate for natural evaporation (or for a taste test!), ensuring the quality of the wine inside.

And then, like clockwork each year, winter gives way to early spring and the cycle begins again…

Drone view of Biltmore Vineyard during harvest season
Our viticulture program honors the Vanderbilt heritage to create new opportunities for the family’s estate in harmony with Biltmore’s mission of preservation.

Sourcing the finest fruit for our wines

You may have heard through the grapevine… In addition to our Biltmore Estate vineyard, we also work closely with partner growers in California and Washington who help supply fruit for our portfolio of wines, most of which are handcrafted at the estate.

“Our partners are an important part of our wine program at Biltmore’s Winery,” says Executive Winemaker, Sharon Fenchak. “We spend a lot of time with growers from around the Monterey, Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino wine regions.”

Sharon explains that the importance of these long-standing relationships with all our partner growers ensures that the quality of all our wines is as consistent as possible from vintage to vintage.

three bottles of Chardonnay are on a table
For a true grape-to-glass experience, savor our Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina varietals, each featuring estate-grown grapes.

Savor the fruits of our labor

Join us at the Winery and Wine Bar on Biltmore Estate to discover new and favorite vintages of our award-winning wines and be sure to look for our varietals featuring estate-grown grapes, like our Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina wines! Our wines are also available in estate shops, at retailers near you, online, and through our Vanderbilt Wine Club.

No matter where you’re enjoying your Biltmore Wines, we invite you to raise a glass in honor of our grape growers, vineyards, and winemakers across the nation!

Wedding Bells for John and Cornelia Cecil

Biltmore has witnessed countless celebrations over the last 129 years, but perhaps none so grand as the wedding of George and Edith Vanderbilt’s only child, Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt, to the Honorable John Francis Amherst Cecil.

April 29, 2024, marks the 100th anniversary of this monumental event. To celebrate, let’s take a look at John and Cornelia’s wedding by the numbers!

Escorted by her mother Edith, Cornelia Vanderbilt follows her bridesmaids into All Souls Church. April 29, 1924
Rachel Strong insisted on wearing a white organdy Lanvin gown with a full skirt, accented with a large white hat.
The bridesmaids wore green flowered crepe-de-chine dresses cut straight, accented by black and white hosiery and small white straw hats.
The flower girls wore white dresses with full skirts, ballet slippers, and butterfly necklaces gifted to them by Cornelia.
John Cecil’s groomsmen wore dark tuxedos with tails and could opt to wear spats.

Wedding bells are ringing

Cornelia Vanderbilt had eight bridesmaids. Among them were her school friends from Miss Madeira’s, cousins, cousins-to-be, and her best friend, Rachel “Bunchy” Strong, as maid of honor.

John Cecil had a matching eight ushers, including Hugh Tennant, his best man and superior officer at the British Embassy in Washington, DC. Several of his groomsmen were men he lived with upon arriving in the United States in 1923, a group known as the “British Bachelors.” Others included his cousin Robert Cecil, childhood friend Benjamin Bernard, and Cornelia’s cousin John Nicholas Brown.

The wedding party also included two flower girls: Helen Raoul and Peggy Morgan, both daughters of family friends in Asheville.

Guests wait for Cornelia and John Cecil wedding
Guests wait to enter All Souls Church. April 29, 1924

Quantifying the guest list

The Cecil wedding was a high-profile event celebrating the union of not only two individuals, but two countries.

The guest list reflected the prominence of both the Vanderbilt and Cecil families. It included aristocracy, diplomats, politicians, and socialites of both the United States and United Kingdom—all mingling with the estate’s residents and employees, for whom a section of All Souls Church was reserved.

In total, 500 people were invited to the ceremony held at All Souls Church, while another 2,500 received a separate invitation to attend just the reception at Biltmore. While many invitations were respectfully declined, the Cecil’s welcomed more than 1,000 attendees!

Biltmore House stands ready for wedding guests. April 29, 1924
Biltmore House stands ready for wedding guests. April 29, 1924

Renovations for accommodations

Although many guests stayed at Grove Park Inn, Biltmore Country Club, and Kenilworth Inn, those closest to Cornelia were invited to stay in Biltmore House. A group of 43 family members and friends occupied the 35 bedrooms—including the Oak Sitting Room, where members of the bridal party stayed together.

Because the wedding marked the most guests ever accommodated in the house at one time, preparations began as early as March 15, 1924—before the Cecils formally announced their engagement. Some rooms were renovated, while others were extensively cleaned before being furnished. That the house was ready for a record number of guests in just six weeks is a testament to the skill of Biltmore’s domestic staff.

Pollyann Foster greets John and Cornelia Cecil following their wedding. April 29, 1924
Pollyann Foster greets John and Cornelia Cecil following their wedding. April 29, 1924

Cupid’s innocent greeting

Following the wedding ceremony, 44 children of Biltmore Estate employees lined up outside All Souls Church. The newlyweds recessed from the church down an aisle formed by the children, each of whom held spring blossoms that they crossed to form an arch. At the end of this receiving line, they were greeted by Pollyann Foster, one of the estate’s youngest residents, dressed as Cupid.

Crossed flags, representing the bride and groom's nationalities, greeted guests in the Main Hall. April 29, 1924
Crossed flags, representing the bride and groom’s nationalities, greeted guests in the Main Hall. April 29, 1924

Two become one

As guests entered for the reception, they were greeted by two flags hanging in the Entrance Hall: an American Flag and a British Union Jack. During the wedding breakfast served at the reception, both God Save the King and The Star-Spangled Banner were played. The couple turned toward their respective flags as the national anthem of each country rang out, signifying the union of two countries through their marriage.

Keepsake cake with monogram details.
Keepsake cake with monogram details. “CVC” for Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil and “JFAC” for John Francis Amherst Cecil.

Gifts of generosity

Guests of John and Cornelia Cecil celebrated the couple in style, lavishing them with thoughtful gifts. Among the wedding gifts were 70 pieces of silver, 53 pieces of china, 25 pieces of jewelry, 20 books, and two pieces of Tiffany glass.

Several notable gifts include a Jade Vanity Case, Jade Hatpin, and Amethyst Pendant. Not all gifts were opulent; servants of Biltmore House gifted heartwarming, homemade gifts–and even a puppy!

In return, Cornelia and John gifted their guests a sweet treat from Maison Rauscher of Washington.

Biltmore’s floral team displays a recreation of Cornelia and John’s wedding bell in the Tapestry Gallery.
The Honorable and Mrs. John F.A. Cecil pose beneath a large wedding bell displayed in the Tapestry Gallery.
Close-up view of the recreated wedding bell.

See a piece of history re-created!

In honor of the 100th anniversary, our Floral team re-created the massive floral wedding bell under which John and Cornelia Cecil stood in the Tapestry Gallery to receive their guests.

Covered in carnations and sweet peas, the decorative bell was on display, as part of our Spring at Biltmore celebrations.

Featured image: John and Cornelia Cecil leave All Souls Church under an arch of floral branches carried by estate children.

Through the Lens: Biltmore’s Most Instaworthy Moments

A day on Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is a photophile’s dream! No matter what style of photography you prefer, there’s always a place to #capturethemoment. We’ve found the most instaworthy spots; now all that’s left for you to do is get out your camera and point, tap, and shoot!

Sunflowers at Biltmore
Over 100,000 sunflowers will bloom in our sunflower field at the end of summer this year!

#FarmyardFriends

College of animals on Biltmore Grounds made for instaworthy blog.
One way we continue our farming legacy is by raising some of the same heritage breeds that were here during George Vanderbilt’s lifetime.

Everybody loves cute baby animals and spring is the prime time to meet the newest members of the Farmyard family. Kids will enjoy meeting our friendly farm animals, learning about life on the farm, and playing at the Pisgah Playground.

If a deeper understanding of Biltmore and agriculture is what you’re looking for, our Farm to Table Tour and Taste will take you to the rarely seen West Side of the estate, where our livestock is raised and our greenhouses thrive. You’ll get a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at our Black Angus and Jersey beef cattle, Berkshire hogs, and Dorper sheep. If you’re lucky, you might even see their hardworking protectors, three Great Pyrenees.

#NaturalPerspective

Sometimes the best photos are taken off the beaten path. With over 22 miles of trails to explore, you’re sure to find your own instaworthy hidden gems among the forests and fields.

Bass Pond Bridge with children looking over the railing.
The Bass Pond offers a different perspective of Frederick Law Olmsted’s work on Biltmore Estate.

One of our favorite spots to explore and capture is the Bass Pond, situated at the end of Biltmore’s formal gardens. Although it may be a bit of a walk, the charm of its scenery makes it well worth it. A rustic boathouse stands on the shore, and a bridge spans the waterfall at the far end. It’s the perfect spot for photographing instaworthy seasonal color changes and birdwatching all year long.

Couple hiking on Biltmore Grounds.
Get lost in the natural wonder of Biltmore’s 8,000 acres.

If you’re up for a challenge, we highly recommend exploring the Westover Trails for a deeper look at the Birthplace of American Forestry. The black route totals 3.5 miles round-trip, taking you deep into the beautiful woodlands of Biltmore Estate. Great for technical bike riding and an advanced hiking experience, it’s also a wonderful area to get that instaworthy photo of local flora and fauna. Just remember to put your comfy shoes on; this one’s a doozy!

#SipandSavor

H. Angel Cocktail photo from Library Lounge for Blog
Stop by The Library Lounge at The Inn on Biltmore Estate for a #buzzworthy view! Photo courtesy of Heather Angel.

Are you a foodie that moonlights as a shutterbug? You’ll find delicious treats all across the estate! Stop by our Wine Bar in Antler Hill Village for a glass of our award-winning red, white, and rosé Biltmore Wines and expertly paired charcuterie or locally-crafted chocolates! For mouthwatering menus to share with your followers, be sure to visit one (or more!) of our seven restaurants; each featuring a selection of our estate-raised specialties bursting with flavor and vivid colors of the season’s fresh-grown herbs and vegetables.

View from near the Inn.
Photo courtesy of Camryn Glackin of Coral & Charm

#SecretSpot! Just steps away from The Dining Room (our four-star dining experience) at The Inn on Biltmore Estate, you’ll find this serene lookout spot. George Vanderbilt was enamored with the rolling hills and Blue Ridge Mountains backdrop, and so are we. One of the most peaceful moments on the estate can be seen in the wee hours of the morning when the fog gently settles within the crevices of the hills.

#BiltmoreBlooms

Spring and summer are our most brightly colored seasons, but Biltmore’s gardens and grounds boast year-round beauty. Grab your cameras and stop to smell the tulips – and the azaleas, roses, orchids, daffodils; the list goes on and on!

Couple walking in the tulips
Tiptoe through the tulips with your loved ones.

The Walled Garden is a guest favorite during Spring at Biltmore. This festival of flowers marks the blooming of our 100,000 bulbs planted estate-wide. You’ll find 50,000 tulips, 14,000 daffodils, 1,000 hyacinths, and a variety of other flowers and shrubs. During the summer months, the beds transform with towering tropical plants,

Make your way down the paths to our soaring glass-ceilinged Conservatory for a one-of-a-kind display of lush, exotic, and tropical plants. Macro photographers will be in heaven with eye-level plants around every corner.

Library Terrace View.
Wisteria thrives with robust support, much like the sturdy crafted latticework it is holding onto.

Situated near Biltmore House are two distinctive pergolas covered in eye-catching wisteria that blooms each spring; one on the Library Terrace and one just below the South Terrace. The scent of wisteria in full bloom is intoxicating and the light purple blooms flutter in the breeze! Take a seat on one of the benches and point your camera skyward. The Wisteria reaches out to greet your lens, beckoning for that #pictureperfect moment.

Italian Garden Pool.
Our night-blooming lilies reach their peak bloom in the early morning and close completely by noon.

Right beside the Library Terrace of Biltmore House is the Italian Garden. Each spring and summer, numerous varieties of exotic water lilies, tropical bananas, papyrus, and other plants and flowers bloom in the water garden. The different colors and varieties create a mosaic effect for the koi fish to swim among. Although it’s one of the most visited areas of the estate, many guests don’t realize that it remains astoundingly faithful to the original design from 1895.

#Instagood

Biltmore House from High Lawn for instaworthy blog.

One of the most iconic views of America’s Largest Home® can be captured from the lower and high lawn atop the Rampe Douce. You’re going to want to get out your wide-angle lens for this view! Biltmore House stands in all its glory with the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains just behind. It’s also a picture-perfect location to sprawl out on a warm day with a picnic basket and a bottle of Biltmore Wines!

#TravelGoals… Plan Your Visit Today!

You only live once, right? Are you ready to experience all the special instaworthy moments Biltmore has to offer? Reserve your visit and be sure to tag @biltmoreestate #biltmore when you share your memories on social!

Tip: Be sure to review Biltmore’s photography policies before your visit.

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Sweet Potato Skins Recipe

This arugula salad recipe was created especially for Biltmore by Chef Vivian Howard of A Chef’s Life on PBS and is a perfect blend of taste and texture for spring!

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Pairs well with many of our crisp, dry white wines including Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay and Vanderbilt Reserve® Sauvignon Blanc.

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parm and Sweet Potato Skins
Savor this elevated spring salad by Chef Vivian Howard!

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Sweet Potato Skins

Total time: 1 hour Serving Size: 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 4 roasted sweet potatoes (scoop out flesh and reserve for other use)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 6 ounces mature spicy arugula leaves
  • 1 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or Ricotta
  • Olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and kosher salt to taste

Maple Reduction

  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 pinch chili flakes

Instructions:

  • Roast sweet potatoes in a 450°F oven for 45–60 minutes. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh; reserve for other use.
  • Cut your sweet potato skins into strips or wedges. Add enough oil to a sauté pan so that it climbs about a third of an inch up the pan’s sides. Heat the oil over medium heat and brown the skins on both sides. Some parts of the skin will be browner than others. Drain the skins on paper towels and season them liberally with kosher salt.
  • Meanwhile in a small sauce or sauté pan simmer together the maple syrup, coriander seeds, vinegar and chili flakes till it reduces ever so slightly.
  • Toss arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and shaved cheese together in a bowl. Portion onto four plates and top each serving with sweet potato skins. Drizzle with maple reduction.

Spring at Biltmore: A Delight for the Senses

As Biltmore awakens from its wintertime slumber, a wonderland for the senses unfolds across our mountain oasis. Discover some of our favorite ways to delight all five of your senses this spring with a visit to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

Installation from Chihuly at Biltmore, March 25, 2024 – January 5, 2025 at Amherst. Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling, 2012, 25 x 15′, Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, installed 2024 © 2012 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Must-see masterpieces

Spring offers up an everchanging visual kaleidoscope of color as our historic landscapes bloom weekly with the vibrant hues of tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and rhododendrons! Plus, every spring, Biltmore’s Floral team displays special arrangements throughout Biltmore House inspired by the gardens in bloom.

This beauty extends far beyond our garden walls to Chihuly at Biltmore, presented in our gallery setting at Amherst at Deerpark® premiering March 25, 2024. Dale Chihuly’s renowned works will leave you breathless as you experience the stunning fusion of vibrant hues and dynamic shapes of his pedestal works, Drawings, and large-scale installations of ChandeliersTowersMille Fiori, and Neon.

Tip: Chihuly at Biltmore is an awe-inspiring experience for families and guests of all ages. That said, due to the nature of the exhibition, all guests under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Young girl sniffing tulips in Biltmore gardens
Take a moment to stop and smell the Tulips in Biltmore Gardens.

Fragrances and flavors to savor

This time of year, it feels like the air is transforming right beneath your nose! Be sure to stop and smell the flowers during your springtime stroll through Biltmore’s historic gardens and grounds.

The scents of our gardens and grounds in bloom seamlessly intertwine with Biltmore’s award-winning wines and estate-grown farm-to-table fare.

As you swirl, sniff, sip, and savor our favorite spring wines, make note of the distinctive tasting notes and fragrances, expertly crafted by our Winemakers. Once your palette is warmed up, consider indulging in a guided Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting to help you discover why chocolate and red wine are a match made in heaven.

George Vanderbilt’s vision of a self-sustaining estate extends past our wines. Biltmore remains a working farm, producing field crops, pastured beef, lamb, pork, and eggs from chickens, to be served in restaurants across the estate. Recreate the dishes you loved during your visit with seasonal recipes and Biltmore’s gourmet foods delivered right to your door when you shop online.

Family listens to audio guide while standing in Biltmore's Banquet Hall
Hear the stories of this grand estate with an all-new Biltmore House audio guide in spring 2024!

The sounds of Spring at Biltmore

Discover the stories of this National Historic Landmark and the people who lived and worked here over a century ago as you listen to an all-new audio guide for Biltmore House, coming in mid-April! If it’s been a while since you last explored America’s Largest Home, this spring will be a perfect time to come back to discover new and favorite stories.

Dig even deeper into the stories of this opulent home by upgrading your visit to include an expert-guided tour.

For spring break getaways and holidays, be sure to check our activities listing for special live music and events around the estate.

Baby goat jumps off of a log in Antler Hill Village.
Meet the bouncing baby animals at our Farmyard each spring.

Hands-on learning and adventure

Our expert guides are ready to help you discover educational, fun, and adventurous activities that fit your interests and abilities. Embark on a hike across Biltmore’s expansive grounds or coast along the winding gravel paths while the beauty of the landscape unfolds on one of our Guided Bike Rides.  

Or take it slow and grab the reins to connect with Biltmore’s history with a One-Hour Carriage Ride that offers breathtaking Blue Ridge mountain views and a rarely-seen view of the west façade.

Just like clockwork, the animals that call Biltmore home welcome cuddly youngsters every spring. Visit Antler Hill Village for a deeper look at Biltmore’s legacy as a working farm. The Farmyard offers a kid-friendly introduction to farm life and the animals that are an integral part of our self-sustaining estate.

Our Farm to Table Tour & Taste experience (available exclusively to overnight guests and Passholders) offers even more in-depth discovery of Biltmore’s farming legacy and how that connects to our modern field-to-table philosophy.

Be sure to swing by Antler Hill Barn for fascinating demonstrations of Appalachian crafts, like broom-making, that are part of our estate history, naturalist talks, and more.

Japanese magnolia and forsythia bloom outside of The Inn on Biltmore Estate each spring.

Surround yourself with spring

With a sensory treat around every corner, we invite you to fully immerse yourself in the unique experiences that await you this spring. Imagine waking to awe-inspiring Blue Ridge Mountain views and the scent of crisp spring air just outside your door.

Plan your spring getaway now with admission and overnight stay packages featuring Chihuly at Biltmore, guided activities, and more. And, with so much to see, taste, smell, and do this year, spring is a perfect time of year to become a Biltmore Annual Passholder!

Presenting the Artist: Dale Chihuly

“Glass is the most magical of all materials. It transmits light in a special way.” – Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly Persian Ceiling (detail), 2012 25 x 15′ Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, installed 2016.

Dale Chihuly is an American artist known for revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the medium of glass from the realm of craft to fine art.

With Chihuly at Biltmore now on display, we invite you to learn more about the artist and his impact around the world.

About the Artist

Dale Chihuly with Laguna Torcello II Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, 2018
Dale Chihuly, 2017 © 2017 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly discovered his passion for glass during his interior design studies at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, he joined the first glass art program in the United States at the University of Wisconsin.

He later continued his studies and established the glass program at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, where in 1968, he earned an MFA and a Fulbright Fellowship that enabled him to study and work at the prestigious Venini glass factory in Venice.

His pivotal experience there influenced the team glassblowing approach that he later emphasized an educator and employed in his own practice. Upon returning to the US in 1968, he became head of RISD’s glass program and co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, contributing significantly to the development of glass as fine art.

While mentoring other young artists, Chihuly relentlessly pursued his own creative vision, developing a body of work that is featured today in over 200 museums worldwide, and earning numerous awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and thirteen honorary doctorates.

Exhibitions Around the World

Dale Chihuly, Mille Fiori (detail), 2018 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.
Dale Chihuly, Mille Fiori (detail), 2018 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Chihuly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, among them, Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Persians, and Venetians in the 1980s; Niijima Floats and Chandeliers in the 1990s; and Fiori in the 2000s. He is also celebrated for large architectural installations.

In 1986, he was honored with a solo exhibition, Dale Chihuly objets de verre, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, in Paris. In 1995, he began Chihuly Over Venice, for which he created sculptures at glass-making facilities in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, and then installed them over the canals and piazzas of Venice.

In 1999, Chihuly mounted perhaps his most ambitious exhibition to that date, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; where more than 1 million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London presented the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A.

Exhibitions in Botanical Settings

Dale Chihuly, Ethereal White Persian Pond, 2018, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, installed 2021 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.
Dale Chihuly, Ethereal White Persian Pond, 2018, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, installed 2021 © 2018 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Chihuly’s lifelong fascination for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. The Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, and continued at several locations, among them London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, at Kew in 2005 and 2019; the New York Botanical Garden in 2006 and 2017; and Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay in 2021.

Meanwhile, Chihuly continued to present ambitious exhibitions at museums, including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2008; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, in 2012; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in 2013; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, in 2016; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2017; and the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands in 2018. In 2012, Chihuly Garden and Glass, the artist’s long-term exhibition, opened at Seattle Center.

In 2018, Biltmore welcomed Chihuly at Biltmore, an exhibition showcasing the artist’s breathtaking large-scale glass sculptures in the century-old gardens of America’s Largest Home®. This unique visual experience marked the first art exhibition in Biltmore’s historic gardens and the first garden exhibition of artist Dale Chihuly’s works in North Carolina.

Experience an All-New Chihuly at Biltmore

Dale Chihuly, Sapphire Neon with Burned Logs and Neodymium Reeds (detail), 2015, 8 x 21 x 15' © 2015 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.
Dale Chihuly, Sapphire Neon with Burned Logs and Neodymium Reeds (detail), 2015, 8 x 21 x 15′ © 2015 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

The success of the 2018 exhibition paved the way for an all-new Chihuly at Biltmore exhibition, presented in Amherst at Deerpark®.

“Amherst offers an ideal setting for you to not only view the installations, but learn about Dale Chihuly’s life, work, and his powerful influence on art, as well as Biltmore’s own connection to glass art,” said Travis Tatham, Biltmore’s Director of Entertainment and Event Programming.

In addition to the awe-inspiring gallery exhibition featuring specially curated pedestal works, Drawings, Chandeliers, Towers, Mille Fiori, and Neon, guests have the opportunity to marvel at two large-scale installations presented on estate grounds: one on the East Terrace in front of Biltmore House and one at the Entry Green in Antler Hill Village.

Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier by Dale Chihuly at Biltmore's Winery
Chandelier in Winery. Dale Chihuly, Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier, 2022, 9-1/2 x 6 x 6′, Biltmore Winery, Asheville, North Carolina, installed 2023 © 2022 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

While in the Village, be sure to admire Chihuly Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier at the Winery. Installed in 2023, it was commissioned especially for Biltmore and is part of the estate’s permanent glorious glass collection.

From the grand interiors of America’s Largest Home® and surrounding artistic landscapes to the awe-inspiring displays in the galleries of Amherst, we can’t wait to welcome you to Chihuly at Biltmore.

Reserve your admission tickets and special admission-inclusive overnight packages for this must-see exhibition.


Featured image
Dale Chihuly with Laguna Torcello II
Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, 2018

Visit Itinerary: Your Guide to Biltmore

From exploring the grand halls of our historic chateau to savoring our handcrafted wines, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Biltmore. With so many options to explore, we recommend making the most of your visit by planning to spend two (or more!) full days on Biltmore Estate.

This flexible Biltmore visit itinerary is designed to be easily tailored based on your preferences, reservation times, and our current activities and events, allowing you to focus on having fun on our 8,000-acre estate.

Family of four standing inside the Banquet Hall of Biltmore House. Each person is holding an audio guide wand to their ear.
Discover the history, people, and stories of Biltmore House through our complimentary Audio Guide.

How to Spend Two Full Days at Biltmore

For a leisurely and immersive visit to Biltmore, we recommend spreading your experiences across at least two full days where you will have more time (and energy) to truly soak in all that Biltmore has to offer.

Tip: Select ticket types include free next-day access to explore the estate’s gardens and grounds, visit the Winery, or add on guided experiences. Be sure to check your admission type or overnight package for this perk and plan to come back the next day to take advantage of even more time to explore the estate.

DAY ONE

🏰 Morning: Biltmore House (1.5 to 2 hours)
Step into the grandeur of America’s Largest Home, Biltmore House, while learning about the history, the fine art and furnishings, and of course, the people, behind this Gilded Age masterpiece. With our Biltmore House tours, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the home and stories through our complimentary Audio Guide or take a deep dive into one of our fascinating expert-guided tours based on your interests.

Tip: Advanced reservations are required for all Biltmore House visits. If your reservation is in the afternoon or early evening, you may choose to explore the Gardens or Antler Hill Village first!

🥗 Mid-day: Lunch at an Estate Restaurant (1 to 1.5 hours)
Savor a delightful field-to-table meal at one of Biltmore’s distinctive restaurants, including Stable Café, Cedric’s Tavern, Bistro, or Village Social. If casual grab-and-go or picnic is more your style, be sure to stop by Courtyard Market, the Bake Shop, Biltmore Dairy Bar, or the Smokehouse food truck in Antler Hill Village. Fine dining is available at our four-star Dining Room at The Inn.

Tip: Reservations are highly recommended.

🎟️ Afternoon: Chihuly at Biltmore exhibition (1.5 to 2 hours)
On display through January 5, 2025, a new experience of the artist’s iconic creations makes its debut at Biltmore Estate. Presented in a gallery setting at Amherst at Deerpark®, Chihuly at Biltmore includes pedestal works, Drawings, and large-scale installations of Chandeliers, Towers, Mille Fiori, and Neon.

Tip: Access is included with select ticket types and guests may visit at their reserved entry time selected during the purchase process. If your reserved entry time is in the morning, you may choose to have your reserved Biltmore House visit in the afternoon.

DAY TWO

🧭 Morning: Guided Experience (1.5 to 2 hours)

Choose from a variety of expert-guided tours and experiences to help make your visit to Biltmore even more memorable! Consider upgrading your visit to include expert-led tours to rarely accessed areas of Biltmore House, guided (or self-guided) outdoor adventures through our historic landscapes, or even a guided wine tasting featuring locally made chocolate pairings.

Tip: Select ticket types and overnight packages include exclusive guided tours of Biltmore House!

🌷 Afternoon: Gardens and Conservatory (1 to 2 hours)
Spend time finding your new favorite flower and indulging your senses with a visit to Biltmore’s historic gardens and glass-ceilinged Conservatory. Admire the meticulously maintained historic greenhouses filled with tropical plants year-round.

Tip: Select ticket types include free next-day access to explore the estate’s gardens and grounds, visit the Winery, or add on guided experiences.

🥂 Late afternoon to evening: Antler Hill Village and Winery (2+ hours)
Stop by our award-winning winery to toast two fun-filled days at Biltmore with one of our handcrafted estate wines! Linger into the evening in Antler Hill Village where you can shop for unique gifts, such as gourmet treats, wines, and the perfect mementos, learn about the Vanderbilt family and their life at home and abroad at The Biltmore Legacy, and savor field-to-table dining.

Tip: If you’re traveling with small children, be sure to visit Pisgah Playground, the Farmyard, and Antler Hill Barn for educational fun for all ages.

A couple walks hand-in-hand as they approach the entrance to Biltmore's Winery.
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or want to experience your first wine tasting, be sure to stop by our estate Winery.

How to Spend One Full Day at Biltmore

If you only have one day to explore our historic estate, here’s what we recommend prioritizing for an action-packed way to experience all that is included in your Biltmore admission.

Tip: Select ticket types include free next-day access to explore the estate’s gardens and grounds, visit the Winery, or add on guided experiences. Be sure to check your admission type or overnight package for this perk and plan to come back the next day to take advantage of even more time to explore the estate.

🏰 Morning: Biltmore House (1.5 to 2 hours)
Step into the grandeur of America’s Largest Home, Biltmore House, while learning about the history, the fine art and furnishings, and of course, the people, behind this Gilded Age masterpiece. With our Biltmore House tours, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the home and stories through our complimentary Audio Guide or take a deep dive into one of our fascinating expert-guided tours based on your interests.

Tip: Advanced reservations are required for all Biltmore House visits. If your reservation is in the afternoon or early evening, you may choose to explore the Gardens or Antler Hill Village first!

🌷 Mid to late morning: Gardens and Conservatory (1 to 2 hours)
Find your new favorite flower and indulge your senses with a visit to Biltmore’s historic gardens and glass-ceilinged Conservatory. Admire the meticulously maintained historic greenhouses filled with tropical plants year-round.

Tip: Select ticket types include free next-day access to explore the estate’s gardens and grounds, visit the Winery, or add on guided experiences.

🥗 Mid-day: Lunch at an Estate Restaurant (1 to 1.5 hours)
Savor a delightful field-to-table meal at one of Biltmore’s distinctive restaurants, including Stable Café, Cedric’s Tavern, Bistro, or Village Social. If casual grab-and-go or picnic is more your style, be sure to stop by Courtyard Market, the Bake Shop, Biltmore Dairy Bar, or the Smokehouse food truck in Antler Hill Village. Fine dining is available at our four-star Dining Room at The Inn.

Tip: Reservations are highly recommended.

🎟️ Early afternoon: Chihuly at Biltmore exhibition (1.5 to 2 hours)
Opening on March 25, 2024, a new experience of the artist’s iconic creations makes its debut at Biltmore Estate. Presented in an intimate gallery setting at Amherst at Deerpark®, Chihuly at Biltmore includes pedestal works, Drawings, and large-scale installations of Chandeliers, Towers, Mille Fiori, and Neon.

Tip: Access is included with select ticket types and guests may visit at their reserved entry time selected during the purchase process. If your reserved entry time is in the morning, you may choose to have your reserved Biltmore House visit in the afternoon.

🥂 Late afternoon to evening: Antler Hill Village and Winery (2+ hours)
Stop by our award-winning winery to toast a fun-filled day with one of Biltmore’s handcrafted estate wines! Linger into the evening in Antler Hill Village where you can shop for unique gifts, such as gourmet treats, wines, and the perfect mementos, or learn about the Vanderbilt family and their life at home and abroad at The Biltmore Legacy, and savor field-to-table dining.

Tip: If you’re traveling with small children, be sure to visit Pisgah Playground, the Farmyard, and Antler Hill Barn for educational fun for all ages.

A family enjoys a bike ride during their Biltmore visit. They are paused in front of the Lagoon with a view of Biltmore House in the distance.
Take advantage of all that Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, has to offer for the whole family!

Additional Biltmore Visit-Planning Tips:

Below are a few additional tips for your Biltmore visit itinerary. For even more helpful information to help you prepare for your Biltmore Estate visit, we recommend exploring our Visitor Information site section.

  • Plan Ahead: Don’t wait to purchase your Biltmore admission or special overnight packages to secure your preferred dates and times!
  • Getting Around the Estate: Many guests underestimate the vast size of Biltmore Estate. With miles between points of interest, we recommend allowing your party at least 30 minutes for travel and parking between estate locations. For helpful guidance on estate accessibility, please explore our Help Center.
  • Dress Comfortably: Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers appropriate for the season and the types of activities you plan to do during your visit, especially if you opt to participate in any outdoor adventure activities.
  • Watch the Weather: The weather in our region can change quickly, which may result in unexpected temporary closures of our trails or outdoor activities during severe weather. We appreciate your understanding!
  • Make it a Getaway: With so much to experience, treat yourself and your loved ones to a memorable getaway with an overnight stay on Biltmore Estate. Beginning February 2024, we’re excited to offer a new exclusive Biltmore House admission benefit for overnight guests: House Length of Stay access! Book an overnight package or stay that includes Biltmore House admission to enjoy a daytime visit to Biltmore House with an audio guide at your leisure and as often as you would like during the length of your stay, no reservation necessary!
  • Make the Most of Your Experience: All Biltmore admission types include access to explore Antler Hill Village & Winery and our historic gardens and grounds. Explore ticket types that include access to Biltmore House, an exclusive 90-minute guided tour, Chihuly at Biltmore (March 25, 2024–January 5, 2025), free next-day grounds access, and more! Additional add-on experiences, such as guided outdoor activities, are available as well.
  • Don’t Forget Your Mementos: Visit our exclusive estate shops to find unique gifts and gourmet treats, like award-winning Biltmore Wines or honey from our estate beehives, to bring the Biltmore legacy home with you.
  • Find More Tips: For even more guidance on what activities you might want to consider during your Biltmore visit for family fun, outdoor adventure, or food and wine, be sure to check our Itineraries page.

Ready to experience all that Biltmore has to offer? Reserve your visit.

Before Biltmore Estate: Changing Ownership

The 8,000 acres of present-day Biltmore Estate have a rich history of inhabitants dating back millennia.

In this two-part blog series, we recognize and share a brief history of some of the many people who have called this land home throughout history.

The Alexander Mill, pictured here ca. 1888, was located southwest of Biltmore House. Members of the Alexander family were early settlers in this area and sold hundreds of acres of land to George Vanderbilt.
The Alexander Mill, pictured here ca. 1888, was located southwest of Biltmore House. Members of the Alexander family were early settlers in this area and sold hundreds of acres of land to George Vanderbilt.

Agriculture in the Antebellum Era

The State of North Carolina sold the former Cherokee Nation land included within its boundaries through land grants to white landowners in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Though these parcels varied in size, agriculture was a primary use of land in the Asheville area, though not on the scale of the larger plantations elsewhere in the Southeast.

Censuses show that prior to the Civil War and emancipation in 1865, there were enslaved people working the farms and living among the white landowners on tracts that now comprise Biltmore Estate. Author Wilma A. Dunaway calculated in her book The First American Frontier that in 1860, 41.7% of farmers in the Appalachian counties of North Carolina were using enslaved labor or a combination of enslaved and tenant labor to work their land. That same year, there were a total of 1,933 enslaved people held in all of Buncombe County.

This excerpt from an Asheville Weekly Citizen article dated June 25, 1891, shows the public fascination with George Vanderbilt's acquisition of land.
This excerpt from an Asheville Weekly Citizen article dated June 25, 1891, shows the public fascination with George Vanderbilt’s acquisition of land.

Arrival of George Vanderbilt

In May 1888, 23 years after emancipation, George W. Vanderbilt began purchasing land in the Asheville area through agents. By 1895, he had acquired many parcels totaling around 100,000 acres, which caused quite a buzz in the local community. The landowners that he purchased from included both white and free Black property owners, both of whom by this date had deep roots, if not comparable land ownership histories, in the community.

The future site of Biltmore House is pictured here ca. 1889 after it and the surrounding area was acquired from Boston Jenkins and others.
The future site of Biltmore House is pictured here ca. 1889 after it and the surrounding area was acquired from Boston Jenkins and others.

New Shiloh

Much of the land that makes up the Biltmore House site and nearby areas to the east was previously owned by members of Shiloh. The community of Shiloh consisted of around 28 African-American landowners, with a total population of more than 100 individuals by 1888. Reverend Boston A. Jenkins, one of the trustees of the Shiloh A.M.E. Zion Church, was the former owner of what is today the location of Biltmore House and the adjacent Stable Complex.

The prices paid for most of the Shiloh tracts averaged around $37 per acre, which was more than the fair market value at the time. Prices paid by Vanderbilt ranged from a few cents per acre to $1,000 for the one-acre parcel that included the Shiloh Church. Biltmore Estate acquired a tract of land on which an upgraded church building was relocated and subsequently transferred ownership to Shiloh residents. The surrounding community then became known as “New Shiloh.”

Archival Guide Map of Biltmore Estate, ca. 1896
Archival Guide Map of Biltmore Estate, ca. 1896

Remembering Biltmore’s Residents

While many people are familiar with the lives of George and Edith Vanderbilt, it is vital to Biltmore’s cultural history to acknowledge the many individuals who came before the Vanderbilts and who lived and worked on this land since their arrival, including thousands of tenants and employees.

While there are many oral histories in Biltmore’s archives that speak to the experience of growing up on these grounds in the 20th century, the stories of most of those who came before have unfortunately been lost to time. In lieu of more detailed or personal accounts of individuals and communities who once lived on this land, it is essential that we acknowledge their existence as a way to honor and remember their lives and legacies.

Through environmental stewardship practices, land conservation efforts, and collaborative research projects, Biltmore remains dedicated to being good stewards of this storied land that has been home to so many, including Native Americans, the Shiloh community, and all descendants of the people who came before us.

Further Reading

For information on Native Americans who once called this land their home, read part one of this blog series, Before Biltmore Estate: Early Inhabitants.

Additional resources on this topic:

Bistro’s Beef Bourguignon Recipe

Enjoy the hearty flavors of Bistro’s Beef Bourguignon from the comfort of your home! While the Bistro version features Filet Mignon, the home-friendly recipe suggests the robust taste of chuck roast.

Wine Pairing Suggestion: This classic dish can be savored on its own or with velvety mashed potatoes and pairs beautifully with a rich red wines, like Biltmore’s Cardinal’s Crest or Vanderbilt Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, for an even more satisfying experience!

Arugula Salad with Shaved Parm and Sweet Potato Skins
Savor this elevated spring salad by Chef Vivian Howard!

Bistro’s Beef Bourguignon

Total time: 6 hours Serving Size: 6-8 people

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds chuck roast, salted and diced into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 4 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cups cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into quarters
  • 1 ½ cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into quarters
  • 1 ½ teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup of butter, diced
  • 3 whole cloves
  • ½ pod of star anise
  • ¼ stick of cinnamon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Approx. 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Small cheesecloth

Instructions:

  1. Salt chuck roast and set aside at room temperature while you prepare the other ingredients. Prepare carrots, celery, onions, and mushrooms according to the ingredient list.
  2. Make an herb bouquet by wrapping the clove, star anise, cinnamon, bay leaves, and peppercorns in the cheesecloth, ensuring it is securely wrapped.
  3. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  4. In a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat, sear the beef in 1 tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned and a crust forms on the beef. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Remove meat from the pot and set aside.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Add in carrots, celery, and onion and sauté until mostly cooked, about 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and tomato paste.
  6. Add the red wine and gently scrape the bottom to remove the brown bits. Allow to simmer until wine is reduced by half.
  7. Turn off the heat and add the beef, herb bundle, and beef stock.
  8. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and cook at 300°F for 4-6 Hours or until beef is fork-tender. Stir in diced butter and season to taste for serving.

Note: If you prefer to use a crock pot, brown the beef and then add everything to your crockpot to cook on low for 8-10 hours until tender.