Biltmore Winery Welcomes Chihuly Chandelier

Beginning in early February 2023, Biltmore Winery welcomes you to be among the first to marvel at the newly commissioned, blown-glass Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier created by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

Inspiration for the Chihuly Chandelier

Portrait of George Vanderbilt and three bottles of wine
George Vanderbilt (left; portrait by John Singer Sargent) was a thoughtful collector of wines whose legacy continues to inspire our handcrafted Biltmore wines today.

“We are thrilled to share the acquisition of the Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier by Dale Chihuly,” said Bill Cecil, President and CEO of Biltmore and great-grandson of George Vanderbilt.

“We know that George Vanderbilt was a thoughtful collector of art and wine who enjoyed bringing beautiful objects to fill his home and sharing excellent vintages at his table,” Bill said, “so our family commissioned this piece to represent the importance of wine in our history, from the Vanderbilt era to our modern-day winemaking philosophy.”

The stunning chandelier draws inspiration from the vibrant hues found in Biltmore’s red, white, and rosé wines.

Creating the intricate composition

Travis Tatham (center), Biltmore’s Director of Destination Entertainment and Events, looks at the plans for the new Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier with members of Team Chihuly.
Travis Tatham explores color options for the new Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier
Travis Tatham participates in glassblowing with Team Chihuly in The Hotshop.

Chihuly’s Chandeliers are composed of hundreds of blown glass elements that together make up elaborate, intricate compositions. Chihuly began the Chandelier series in 1992 and has since created them for locations all around the world.

Detail of Chihuly Chandelier at Biltmore
Dale Chihuly, Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier (detail). ©2023 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

“What makes the Chandeliers work for me is the massing of color. If you take hundreds of blown pieces of one color, put them together, and then shine light through them, now that’s going to be something to look at. Hang it in a space and it becomes mysterious, defying gravity or seemingly out of place, like something you have never seen before.” — Dale Chihuly

A welcome addition to Biltmore’s collection

Stained glass La Farge windows
George Vanderbilt’s father commissioned artist and interior designer John La Farge to create several stained glass panels that represent “The Fruits of Prosperity”.

“While we have decorative glass objects in Biltmore’s private collection, such as a Tiffany vase and the La Farge stained glass windows, this commissioned Chihuly Chandelier is both the first fine-art glass sculpture and the first contemporary work of art to be added to Biltmore’s private collection,” said Ellen Rickman, Director of Museum Services.

Tiffany vase
Part of the Biltmore collection, this handblown vase by famed art glass maker Louis Comfort Tiffany features different layers of glass in different colors, with a gold metallic surface and woven sterling silver overlay.

Dale Chihuly is recognized for having a significant impact on the art world, just as artists like Paul Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet did in their time. We are honored to welcome this work of art into our collection alongside important works by other great artists.

Savor and share Biltmore Winery’s new Chihuly Chandelier

Couple on a romantic date entering the Winery at Biltmore
Biltmore’s Winery offers wonderful ways to savor and share all year round, including the new Chandelier by Chihuly.

As soon as installation is complete in early February, all Biltmore guests with estate admission, Annual Pass membership, or an overnight stay are welcome to view the Chihuly Chandelier inside the Wine Shop of our estate Winery in Antler Hill Village. For current hours of operation, visit biltmore.com/hours.

For those who enjoy sharing their memories on social media, we invite you to use our official tags:

  • Handles: @biltmoreestate @biltmorewines @chihulystudio
  • Location tag: Biltmore, 1 Lodge Street
  • Hashtag: #ChihulyatBiltmore #Chihuly #Biltmore

Featured image: Dale Chihuly, Iris Gold and Garnet Chandelier (detail). ©2023 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

Plan A Romantic Date or Getaway at Biltmore

Now is the perfect time to plan a romantic date or getaway at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and we’ve got plenty of ways to inspire you!

Couple holds hands at Biltmore
Biltmore has been a romantic destination for couples since it first opened in 1895.

Romantic escape

When you’re longing for time away with your beloved, Biltmore serves up the ultimate romantic escape whether you’re seeking a private retreat for renewed connections or fun-filled adventures in the great outdoors.

Explore the estate together

Nothing is more romantic than a private carriage ride with views of Biltmore House along the way.
Enjoy the great outdoors together on your next romantic date or getaway at Biltmore!
Choose wellness activities such as yoga and meditation to help reconnect with each other during your romantic getaway at Biltmore.
Enjoy outdoor activities such as bike riding together at Biltmore.

Create new memories by enjoying the outdoors together while exploring the grounds of George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre Blue Ridge Mountain estate.

“I can’t think of anything much more romantic than a private carriage ride for two,” said Heather Brannan, Outdoor Adventure Center Supervisor, “but Biltmore offers so many activities that you’re sure to find something that delights both of you.”

  • Carriage and trail rides
    • Enjoy Biltmore’s property from a different perspective with a carriage or trail ride. Choose guided or private options to suit your style and abilities.
  • Biking and hiking
    • Delight in Frederick Law Olmsted’s distinctive landscape design as you explore the trails at Biltmore. Walk, hike, rent a bike, or pedal your own to get a firsthand view of the estate.
  • Wellness activities
    • Indulge in some self-care as a couple with thoughtful options that quiet your mind and refresh your spirits, such as Morning Yoga or our deliciously relaxing Chocolate Meditation.

Adventure awaits

In addition to learning a new skill, your Land Rover® Experience at Biltmore will take you to areas of the estate many guests never see.
Explore the thrilling art of falconry at Biltmore
Learning a new skill together–like negotiating rough terrain in a Land Rover®–makes a romantic getaway at Biltmore unforgettable.
Although the sport is called falconry, other raptors, including hawks and owls, are part of the program at Biltmore.

Team up with your significant other for an adventure that may take you out of your comfort zone, but will also bring you closer together as you learn new skills with the help of our expert guides.

  • Land Rover® Experience at Biltmore
    • Go off-roading in luxury when you engage in a Land Rover® Experience at Biltmore. Book a one- or two-hour session and receive expert training to maneuver on unfamiliar terrain.
    • Extend the adventure with a full-day’s excursion that includes a mid-day break for a private picnic lunch–now that’s romantic! 
  • Falconry
    • Let romance take flight as you experience the ancient art of falconry together. Learn about these fascinating birds of prey as well as hawks and barn owls, and receive expert training on handling and interacting with these captivating raptors.

Rise and shine

Rise and shine at Biltmore when you stay overnight on the property at one of our distinctive hotels or private cottages.
Make a morning reservation for Biltmore House and feel like a guest of the Vanderbilts.
With so much to see and do at Biltmore during your getaway, stay overnight at The Inn (above), Village Hotel (below), or one of our private historic cottages to ensure you have time to experience it all.
Our historic cottages offer privacy to relax and enjoy your stay at Biltmore.
Enjoy Biltmore House from a new perspective with our breathtaking Rooftop Tour.

Beth Poslusny, Vice President of Destination Guest Experience, suggests making it a truly romantic getaway with accommodations and special packages at The Inn on Biltmore Estate®, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate® or one of our private historic cottages.

“You’ll have the unique opportunity to awaken on the estate,” said Beth, “and there’s no better way to start a special day together!”

Make your date or getaway more romantic with the addition of a Behind-the-Scenes Guided Tour:

  • The Biltmore House Backstairs Tour offers enthralling stories of domestic staff while exploring their lives and the areas where they worked.
  • Our Rooftop Tour offers a bird’s eye view of the house, with fascinating little-known details about the construction and design of the 175,000-square-foot home. 

Table for two

Biltmore’s Winery offers wonderful ways to savor and share all year round, including the new Chandelier by Chihuly.
Enjoy our Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting featuring premium Biltmore wines and artisan chocolate truffles from French Broad Chocolates.
Whether you’re in the Tasting Room or the Wine Bar, our knowledgeable wine experts are on hand to guide your selections.
Sometimes the smallest details are the most romantic, like enjoying ice cream or hot chocolate together!

As part of your romantic date or getaway, make time to wine and dine on the estate with your special someone.

Winery
“Surprise your significant other by booking a Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting and learn why the flavors are a match made in heaven–just like the two of you!” suggested Tyler Hejl, Director of Winery Experience.

Round out the romance with the following options:

  • Reserve time for a complimentary tasting where you’ll learn about Biltmore’s winemaking heritage.
  • Unwind at the indoor-outdoor Wine Bar to enjoy Biltmore wines with charcuterie, cheese, and chocolates, then stock up on favorite vintages and accessories at the Wine Shop.
  • Rekindle your memories at home with a membership in our Vanderbilt Wine Club®.

Delicious Dining
“From fine dining to casual, quick-service options and sweet treats, Biltmore offers fabulous flavors to suit every taste,” said Estate Executive Chef Mark DeMarco. “Something as simple as sipping hot chocolate from The Creamery while you stroll around Antler Hill Village can make any date more memorable.”

For the ultimate romantic dinner, Chef DeMarco suggests reserving a table for two in The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate–both the restaurant and The Inn have earned a prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star rating for world-class service and gracious hospitality.

Plan your next romantic date or getaway now

Cheers to your next romantic date or getaway at Biltmore!
Plan a special romantic activity at Biltmore, or just enjoy time well spent together.
Each season offers beautiful and romantic reasons to plan a date at Biltmore, like a stroll through the Azalea Garden during spring.
From America’s Largest Home with its breathtaking gardens and grounds to amazing exhibitions, including the upcoming Italian Renaissance Alive, Biltmore remains the perfect location for romance!

 No matter what activities light your fire, the variety of things to do at Biltmore will provide the perfect spark for your next romantic date or getaway.

Featured image: This young couple’s romantic date included a selfie in front of Biltmore House!

Biltmore Wines: Cheers for Each Tier!

All Biltmore wines are cheers-worthy, from our fine American Series and Limited Release options to our exceptional Reserve tiers and Antler Hill® vintages.

Discover what makes our wines worth cheering about with an overview of each collection.

Biltmore Estate® American Series Collection

Biltmore Estate wines with chocolate desserts
Our classic Biltmore Estate® American Series wines are approachable and feature classic varietal character. Look for the “Biltmore burgundy” capsule and a line drawing of Biltmore House on the label.

Grapes for this collection are selected from leading growing regions across the nation and handcrafted at our estate winery in Asheville, NC. Each wine captures the true character of the varietal, resulting in an outstanding taste that provides a perfect pairing for any occasion.

Example: Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon is a great option in our American Series collection. This smooth wine featuring lush cherry flavors and soft, lingering tannins was awarded 95 points in the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition.


Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Collection

Bottles of Biltmore Estate Limited Release wines
Biltmore Estate® Limited Release wines, distinguished by a matte black capsule and black-and-gold label, are perfect for sipping by the glass or in craft cocktails.

Crafted in smaller lots, these exceptional wines include some of our most intriguing varietals and blends that showcase our winemaker’s skillful artistry in each bottle. Limited Release wines are exclusively available on the estate, online, or through the Vanderbilt Wine Club®.

Example: Our highly aromatic Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Orange Muscat balances lightly sweet flavors of honey and tropical fruit with a clean, lightly tart finish that is surprisingly zesty.


Biltmore® Reserve Collection

Biltmore Reserve wines on an outdoor table
Our Biltmore® Reserve label honors fine vintages handcrafted with grapes from the estate’s vineyard in Asheville, NC. The collection is distinguished by blue foil capsules and a label showcasing elements of the Vanderbilt family’s table linens and place settings.

An invitation to dine with the Vanderbilts at their magnificent home in Asheville, North Carolina, assured you of enjoying gracious hospitality paired with fine wines. Today, their enduring legacy inspires our winemaker to handcraft each wine in our Biltmore® Reserve Collection from grapes grown at the estate’s own vineyard or from local partners in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Example: We handcraft our lovely Biltmore® Reserve Rosé North Carolina 2020 to offer delicate sweetness with hints of spice and white pepper. Approachable and easy to drink, the style is reminiscent of classic old-world rosés.


Vanderbilt Reserve® collection

Vanderbilt Reserve wine bottles on an elegant table
Each outstanding Vanderbilt Reserve® wine bears the appellation and vintage of its origin. This collection is distinguished by red foil capsules and a label design based on George Vanderbilt’s monogramed china and table linens.

These distinguished vintages reflect George Vanderbilt’s interest in collecting fine wines from around the world to share with his friends and family at Biltmore. For Vanderbilt Reserve® wines, our winemaker selects outstanding fruit from partner vineyards in some of the nation’s finest growing regions and oversees the process of handcrafting each one. Each of these wines bears the appellation and vintage of its origin.

Example: Our Vanderbilt Reserve® Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2018 showcases its versatile, food-friendly character with good acidity, flavors of strawberry, red raspberry, and cherry, and slight hints of minerality, enhanced by aging 14–16 months in French and American oak barrels.


Antler Hill® Collection

Antler Hill wines with plates and glasses
Handcrafted with premium vintages from the finest growing regions, Antler Hill® wines offer extraordinary taste and excellent aging potential. The handsome label is reproduced from a sporting print in George Vanderbilt’s collection.

Antler Hill® wines pair the passion of Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak with the premium harvests and vintages from our small partner vineyards with whom we’ve cultivated long-standing relationships in the nation’s finest wine regions. Each wine is handcrafted with exceptional skill to showcase the varietal, the vintage, and to honor the Vanderbilt family’s heritage of gracious hospitality.

Example: From smooth tropical notes to a bright citrus finish, our exceptional Antler Hill® Chardonnay Carneros 2019 offers crisp layers of refreshing un-oaked flavor achieved by careful aging for 12–24 months in stainless steel tanks under the direction of our estate winemaker.


Biltmore Estate® Sparkling Collection

Biltmore Estate® Chateau Reserve Blanc de Blancs with two flutes
Each of our sparkling wines is carefully handcrafted in the traditional méthode champenoise, including our exceptional Biltmore Estate® Chateau Reserve Blanc de Blancs created with estate-grown Chardonnay grapes.

At Biltmore’s Winery in Asheville, NC, we craft both still and sparkling wines. It’s unusual to offer both—most wineries specialize in one or the other—but Biltmore has a long history of doing the unexpected.

All our sparkling wines are handcrafted in the traditional méthode champenoise, a process that requires a secondary fermentation in the bottle, and is vital for developing the delicate bubbles that characterize outstanding sparkling wines.

Example: Dry and delicate with tiny mousse-like bubbles, Biltmore Estate® Château Reserve Blanc de Blancs North Carolina 2019 is our finest sparkling wine–and it’s handcrafted from our own estate-grown Chardonnay grapes!

Learn more about Biltmore wines

Three bottles of Biltmore wine
Learn more about Biltmore wines with a complimentary tasting at the Winery, then enjoy your favorites by the glass or bottle at the adjacent Wine Bar.

We invite you to learn more about Biltmore wines by visiting our Winery in Asheville, NC, to taste them for yourself! Your Biltmore Estate admission includes access to Antler Hill Village & Winery, and we encourage you to reserve a complimentary tasting at the Winery on the day of your visit.

Want another great way to discover our wines? Become a member of the Vanderbilt Wine Club® and enjoy seasonal shipments of our handcrafted wines delivered directly to your door.


George Vanderbilt: A Thoughtful Wine Collector

George Vanderbilt was a thoughtful wine collector, whether at home or abroad.

Taste and style were two hallmarks of his life, and both are reflected throughout Biltmore—his private country estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

Visually stunning and technologically advanced, Biltmore House is a testament to Vanderbilt’s vision.

A Thoughtful Collector

Discover Biltmore white wines for outdoor entertaining
George Vanderbilt’s legacy of gracious hospitality lives on with Biltmore wines handcrafted from grapes grown in the estate’s own vineyard or selected from trusted west coast partners

George Vanderbilt was well-known as a collector, travelling the world gathering art, sculpture, furniture, and books. He also enjoyed wine, frequently purchasing it abroad and bringing cases of wine back to his home in Asheville to share with his family and friends.

Vanderbilt’s gracious hospitality was legendary, and a visit to his home was characterized by the best in comfort, entertainment, and attention to every detail, including the wines that graced his table and delighted his guests.

Man in a suit examining the library of Biltmore wines in the Winery
Wine cellars don’t have to be stuffy–evaluate your space and your lifestyle for options!

Wine research at Biltmore

In 2008, wine consultant John Hailman visited Biltmore to look at Vanderbilt’s wine cellar and the vintages stored there, and to review wine-related notes and correspondence from the Vanderbilt era.

Having been a wine columnist for the Washington Post, with his work nationally syndicated for more than a decade, Hailman is considered one of the foremost authorities on wine. In 2006, he wrote Thomas Jefferson on Wine, an examination of Jefferson’s influence as a wine connoisseur and collector in the early days of the nation.

Archival Bltmore wine receipt
A portion of an archival receipt for a wine and spirits order to be delivered to Biltmore House

Through Hailman’s research, we now have a better understanding of George Vanderbilt as a thoughtful wine collector. Archival correspondence, notes, and receipts suggest that Vanderbilt was well-versed in wines, purchasing those he enjoyed sharing.

Vanderbilt was also a practical buyer, preferring high quality vintages at reasonable prices, such as wines from Chateau Pontet-Canet which is still in business today in the Bordeaux wine region of France.

“Good enough for anybody”

Celebrate with Biltmore sparkling wines
Our handcrafted Biltmore bubbles make any occasion more special

Vanderbilt’s trusted wine purveyor Alexander Morten was known for his excellent taste and recommendations, and would have been a worthy provisioner for the Vanderbilt lifestyle. George Vanderbilt relied upon Morten’s suggestions and his outstanding contacts in the industry. In one letter dated February 14, 1914, Morten advises Vanderbilt on a particular vintage for an upcoming ball, suggesting:

“As to Champagne for a ball:- I can strongly recommend Pierlot 1906. This is a good, sound vintage wine, price $32.50, and is used almost exclusively by many of our customers for dances and entertainments of that ilk. If you have the slightest hesitation, however, I can recommend Pol Roger 1906; price $36. We also have Krug, Clicquot and Pommery of 1906 and 1904; but these are more expensive. The Pierlot is good enough for anybody.”

This letter is particularly poignant, as George Vanderbilt passed away in Washington, DC, just a month after he received this letter. We don’t know what type of ball the Vanderbilts might have been planning, but the preparations were apparently abandoned after Mr. Vanderbilt’s unexpected death.

“You have only to examine the amount and variety of crystal and stemware in the Biltmore collection—glasses for every possible occasion and type of beverage—to see the importance of wines and spirits as an integral part of dining and entertaining,” said Leslie Klingner, curator of interpretation.

Crystal glasses with George Vanderbilt's monogram
Delicate crystal glasses with George Vanderbilt’s monogram on the Banquet Hall table

“Knowing that George Vanderbilt collected and enjoyed wine—and served it to his guests—forges a very real and logical connection between the Vanderbilts and the wine business their descendants have developed and continue to nurture today,” Leslie said.

Savor Biltmore Wines

Two couples enjoying white wine outdoors
Enjoy Biltmore wines while visiting the estate or savor them at home

Be sure to visit Biltmore’s Winery and make reservations for a complimentary tasting of some of our most popular wines. Relax and enjoy our wines by the bottle or glass at the adjacent Wine Bar, then stock up on your favorite vintages at estate shops or online.

Featured blog image: John Singer Sargent portrait of George Vanderbilt paired with a selection of our fine Biltmore wines, including our Antler Hill series

Celebrate Summer with Sensational Sangrias

Celebrate summer with sensational sangrias featuring your favorite Biltmore wines!

Whether you’re a fan of reds, whites, or rosés, there’s a perfect option in the following recipes to help you to create fun and fruity sangrias for solo sipping and friendly gatherings all season long.

Refreshing White Sangria

Fruit-filled pitcher of refreshing white sangria
Enjoy a pitcher of Refreshing White Sangria featuring our Biltmore Masterpiece Collection White Wine

Although traditional sangria recipes tend to feature red wines, this version with our Biltmore Masterpiece Collection White Wine is a cool, refreshing treat for warm weather. Enjoy with friends and, should you have any left over (we doubt you will!), freeze it for a fun take on grown-up popsicles or slushies.

• 1 bottle Biltmore® Masterpiece Collection White Wine
• 4 ounces simple syrup
• 4 ounces brandy
• 2 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice
• 2 ounces of freshly squeezed lime juice
• 2 ounces of freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 limes, sliced in wheels
• 1 lemon, sliced in wheels then halved
• 1 Fuji apple, cubed
• 1 Anjou pear, cubed
• 1 mango, cubed
• Seeds from ½ pomegranate (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir until well mixed, adding pomegranate seeds at the end for presentation as they tend to fall to the bottom after stirring. Serve over ice. If sangria sits overnight, add simple syrup to taste as additional juices will come forward the next day. Serves 4-6.


Cardinal’s Crest Red Sangria

Biltmore Cardinal's Crest makes a sensational sangrias
Add some sparkle to warm weather sipping with our Cardinal’s Crest Sangria!

Take time for yourself with a glass of Cardinal’s Crest Red Sangria—the perfect sparkling treat for a leisurely Sunday morning brunch or a long afternoon on the porch.

• 3 ounces Biltmore Estate® Cardinal’s Crest
• ½ ounce Orange Curacao
• ½ ounce St. Remy Brandy
• ¾ ounce orange juice
• ¼ ounce grapefruit juice
• ½ ounce simple syrup
• 1 ounce Biltmore Estate® Brut sparkling wine
• Lime wedge and an orange wedge (optional garnish)

Add first 6 ingredients to a small pitcher or shaker; mix until combined. Pour over ice in a wine glass and top with 1 ounce sparkling wine and garnish with lime and orange wedges. Serves 1.


Celebrate Summer with Peach Sangria

Celebrate summer with Limited Release white wines
Savor summer with our Limited Release white wines, including Orange Muscat

The delicious combination of our fragrant Orange Muscat with apricot brandy, followed by the infusion of peach puree and delicate raspberries for fresh fruit taste and texture, elevates this sangria to new heights! Stir up an icy pitcher to share with friends and family under a shade tree this summer.

• 1 bottle Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Orange Muscat
• 16 ounces Bellini Cipriani White Peach Puree
• 4 ounces vodka
• 4 ounces apricot brandy
• 1 peach, sliced
• 1 cup raspberries
• Fresh mint (optional garnish)

Add first 4 ingredients to a pitcher with enough ice to chill; mix thoroughly. Add white peach slices and raspberries and garnish with mint. Serve over ice in a Collins glass. Serves 4-6.


Strawberry Rosé Sangria Cocktail

Celebrate summer with sensational sangrias
Sweeten the long days of summer with this delightful sangria cocktail featuring Biltmore Estate Dry Rosé

Vibrant and robust, this is a cocktail-forward sangria that allows the Dry Rosé to come out on the nose while the strawberry and limoncello are on the finish. The sweetness of the powdered sugar on the lips is the perfect complement to the cocktail, and really adds to the presentation. Serves 1.

• 2½ ounces of Biltmore Estate® Dry Rosé
• 1 ounce Absolut® Juice Strawberry Edition
• ¾ ounce of Caravella Limoncello
• ¼ ounce pomegranate simple syrup
• Strawberries and blueberries rolled in powdered sugar (optional garnish), plus more sugar for dusting

Add ingredients to a mixing glass with a handful of ice and stir gently for about 10 seconds. Dust a Nick and Nora glass with powdered sugar. Strain the sangria cocktail mixture into that glass and garnish.

Purchase Biltmore wines now

Our award-winning wines are available for purchase at estate shops, online, and close to home with our Retail Locator.

Want more options to celebrate summer? Uncork these refreshing summer cocktails featuring Biltmore wines.

Special thanks to Jeremy Hood of The Urban Gastronome in Asheville, North Carolina, for developing these recipes to help us celebrate summer with our sensational sangrias!

Enhance Warm Weather Sipping with Biltmore Wines

Enhance warm weather sipping with Biltmore wines, whether you’re packing a picnic, entertaining friends and family outdoors, or simply relaxing on your porch or patio.

Ladies enjoying a warm weather picnic with wine at Biltmore House
Enjoy warm weather sipping with friends and family!

Refresh your palate

Biltmore Estate winemaker Sharon Fenchak recommends focusing on lighter, dryer, more acidic wines during the warmest months of the year.

According to Sharon, these wines refresh your palate in the same way lemonade does when the weather heats up and you feel more thirst.

Woman enjoying Biltmore Estate Chardonnay
Biltmore wines are perfect for warm weather sipping!

“Sweeter wines tend to leave you thirsty, while wines with higher acidity such as our own crisp Biltmore Estate® Sauvignon Blanc can actually quench your thirst on a warm spring or summer day,” Sharon said.

Crisp white wines for warm weather sipping

Biltmore wines provide great summer sipping
Enjoy Biltmore white wines by the glass or bottle this summer

“Another great choice is Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc. It is refreshing and surprisingly creamy with notes of coconut and key lime,” said Sharon, “and it pairs beautifully with salads, chicken, and grilled fish–the kinds of food you tend to serve in warmer weather.

Sharon also recommends Biltmore Estate® Pinot Grigio with its spicy citrus finish, and our off-dry, approachable Biltmore Estate® Albariño as especially nice options for sipping outdoors on spring and summer evenings.

Prefer a cool, elegant classic white wine for summer sipping? Biltmore Estate® Chardonnay offers crisp fruit flavor and hints of oak to complement everything from grilled vegetables to chicken and seafood.

Pick the perfect rosé for warm weather

Celebrate summer with sensational sangrias
Sweeten the long days of summer with this delightful sangria cocktail featuring Biltmore Estate Dry Rosé

Rosé drinkers will appreciate our Biltmore Estate® Dry Rosé, a surprisingly dry wine with delicate layers of berry flavors. It’s perfect with chicken, pork, salmon, and sausage–serve it along with all those smoky grilled favorites at your next backyard barbecue–or enjoy it in our refreshing “Love Never Runs Dry” cocktail.

Warm-weather sippers for red wine lovers

Biltmore Cardinal's Crest makes a sensational sangrias
Add some sparkle to warm weather sipping with our Cardinal’s Crest Sangria!

Sharon recommends mellow, versatile reds for the warm weather sipping; one of the best is Biltmore Estate® Cardinal’s Crest—a smooth, easy-to-drink blend.

“Enjoy it by the glass, or mix up a pitcher of fruity Cardinal’s Crest Sangria to sip in the shade,” Sharon said. “Your friends will thank you!” 

Biltmore bubbles are festive and fun!

Biltmore Estate Brut sparkling wine and glasses
Sparkling wines aren’t just for special occasions–they’re also super for sipping in warm weather!

Like something bubbly? Sparkling wines like our Biltmore Estate® Brut, handcrafted in the traditional méthode champenoise style, are perfect for warm weather sipping on their own and as the base of mimosas or other cocktails.

Cool down with the 20-minute rule

Bucket full of Biltmore Wines
Put Biltmore wines on your “bucket list” for summer sipping!

“Whatever wine you prefer, make sure you chill it first, even if it’s a red wine,” said Sharon. She suggests that you cool reds for about 20 minutes before you serve them. For white wines, remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving so their aromas and flavors can be released.

“The most important rule of wine? Drink what you like, regardless of the time of year!” Sharon said.

Enjoy Biltmore wines for warm weather sipping

Summer sipping outdoors with Biltmore wines
Enjoy summer sipping and entertaining outdoors with your favorite Biltmore wines

Find your favorite Biltmore wines at Biltmore Estate shops and restaurants, our Winery, or purchase them online at biltmoreshop.com/wines.

Discover Biltmore’s Working Winery

Discover Biltmore’s working winery and learn how we handcraft our award-winning Biltmore wines.

Biltmore’s Wine History

George Vanderbilt was known as a thoughtful collector of wines who wove an appreciation for fine wines into the fabric of the Biltmore experience, making it part of his legacy for gracious living.

While Mr. Vanderbilt introduced the pleasures of wine to Biltmore, it was his grandson, William A.V. Cecil, who had the vision and determination to develop vineyards and a winery at his family’s estate in the early 1970s.

Creating Biltmore’s working winery

Biltmore Winery Clock Tower at sunset
A Blue Ridge Mountain sunset behind Biltmore Winery’s iconic clock tower

In 1983, renovation began on the estate’s original dairy barn to convert it into a state-of-the-art winery, complete with production facilities, a tasting room, and a wine shop.

Bill Cecil, Jr., son of William A.V. Cecil and great-grandson of George Vanderbilt, assumed a leadership role in overseeing the project. “It wasn’t easy to turn an old barn into a new working winery,” said Bill, “but we knew it was important to keep the integrity of the original structure, and that helped us make each decision along the way.”

Sharon Fenchak, Biltmore Winemaker, with a syphon
Winemaker Sharon Fenchak draws wine from a barrel with a type of syphon called a wine thief in the Barrel Room at the Winery

Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak

Since the Biltmore Winery opened in 1985, we attribute much of our success to our talented winemakers: Philippe Jourdain, Bernard Delille, and Sharon Fenchak, who joined the Winery team as assistant winemaker in 1999 and was promoted to winemaker in 2003.

Sharon now oversees Biltmore Wines as winemaker and vice president. Just like her predecessors, Sharon remains committed to handcrafting Biltmore Wines with the philosophy of keeping each wine true to varietal character, food-friendly, and consistent from vintage to vintage.

Steel tanks in Biltmore's working winery
Steel tanks used in the winemaking process at Biltmore

“Tastes change over time,” said Sharon. “Our wines are crafted in a classic style, but we keep our production facility up-to-date and we take advantage of technology and trends that help us improve our skills. It’s very important that we constantly learn more about what our guests enjoy so we can continue to produce wines they seek out here at the estate or savor in their own homes.”

Biltmore’s vineyard

According to Philip Oglesby, Vineyard Supervisor, Biltmore’s harvest season begins in late August with early-ripening white varietals such as Chardonnay. Vineyard crews pick grapes by hand throughout September and into October, giving the red varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc more time to mature.

Workers pick Chardonnay grapes in Biltmore's vineyard
Vineyard crews picking grapes by hand in Biltmore’s vineyard on the west side of the estate

“Within hours of being harvested, the grapes grown in our own vineyard on the west side of the estate are brought to the crush dock behind the Winery,” said Philip. “As the next phase of the winemaking process begins, we look forward to learning which wines will be created—especially those that earn the Biltmore® Reserve label that honors exceptional North Carolina vintages from Biltmore and our local growing partners.” 

Although most wineries specialize in either still or sparkling wines, we handcraft both here at the estate—just another distinction that sets Biltmore’s working winery apart.

Hand holding glass of Biltmore wine at our working winery
Make a reservation for your complimentary tasting at Biltmore’s working winery!

Cheers to our working winery and our handcrafted wines!

Join us at the Winery to enjoy the fruits of our labor! Make reservations to savor complimentary tastings of our wines in the Tasting Room, take a deeper dive into our working winery with a Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting, or simply relax at the Wine Bar with any of our wines by the glass or bottle. 

Purchase Biltmore wines at the estate and online—or become a member of the Vanderbilt Wine Club and enjoy having our wines shipped directly to your door each season.

Featured image: Biltmore Winery entrance in Antler Hill Village
 

Stocking, Storing, And Savoring Biltmore Wines

Whether you’re stocking, storing, or savoring Biltmore wines, this is our most important tip: enjoy the process!

Man in a suit examining the library of Biltmore wines in the Winery
Wine cellars don’t have to be stuffy–evaluate your space and your lifestyle for options!

“Lots of people think that stocking a wine cellar or storing wines is a stuffy, old-fashioned business, but that’s an outdated idea,” said Shruthi Dhoopati, Assistant Winemaker. “We want you to enjoy every part of the experience–especially savoring Biltmore wines!”

1. Evaluate your storage options

Biltmore winter wines with bows
Enjoy the process of stocking and storing Biltmore wines

When deciding which wines to stock this winter, first evaluate your available storage space. Worry not if you don’t have the luxury of a wine cellar (few of us do), but instead ensure that your space is dark, away from movement or vibrations, not too hot or cold (55F˚ is ideal), and has a humidity level between 50% and 80%. A cool spot in a closet or cabinet away from exterior walls and removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your home will allow your wine to rest comfortably until it is called into service.

2. Consider your lifestyle

Group of friends toasting with Biltmore wine
With Biltmore wines, all your gatherings are seasoned with cheer!

Reflect upon your favorite ways to indulge when stocking your wines. Are you a homebody who will be drinking a weeknight wine to relax after work? Or a social butterfly who regularly attends cocktail and dinner parties? Map out your month and decide what will work best for your needs, and your budget. As well, include in your decision-making process what foods you are more likely to cook at home (see our winter wine recommendations list below for ideas!).

3. Try different wines

Biltmore wines and charcuterie grazing board
Savor our outstanding Biltmore wines with a grazing board at your next gathering

For a fun and economical way to taste and choose, host a wine party with a variety of sweet and spicy hors d’oeuvres and invite your guests to bring a “new to them” bottle within a designated price limit. While you’re out and about, watch for sales to try something different with less risk. Or, for an even more targeted experience, make a tasting reservation at Biltmore Winery and discuss your options with our experienced wine hosts while you sample a selection of award-winning favorites*.

4. Plan ahead

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

Review the special occasions that lie on your winter horizon. Will you be celebrating a milestone birthday, enjoying a romantic Valentine’s Day meal, or attending an intimate gathering with friends? Invest in choice bottles to have on hand, whether for a hostess gift or your own meaningful moment. And, be sure to set aside a bottle or two for fetes in years to come, which is also a perfect opportunity to experiment with the effects aging will have on different varietals.

Biltmore’s winter wine recommendations

Woman shopping at the Wine Shop at Biltmore's Winery
Find your favorite Biltmore wines at the estate or online

For a great winter wine foundation, Shruthi suggests trying these winning Biltmore wines:

Biltmore Estate® Chardonnay: For more temperate nights when grilling outdoors is an option, try the subtle oak flavors of Biltmore Estate® Chardonnay with salmon, chicken, and foil-wrapped veggies, or warm up indoors with creamy pasta or clam chowder.

Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec: A wild game dish like venison or bison burgers will be the perfect winter complement to a Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec, or try spicy, vibrant flavors such as those found in chimichurri sauce or Spanish tapas.

Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon: Steak, short ribs, and winter vegetables such as squash and portabella mushrooms are perfect with the smooth, vanilla-scented flavor of Biltmore Estate® Cabernet Sauvignon.

Vanderbilt Reserve® Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: Elegant and easy to drink, Vanderbilt Reserve® Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is right at home whether accompanying roasted pork and poultry or hearty pasta dishes with a tomato-based sauce.

Savor Biltmore wines now

Couple toasting a small moments with Biltmore wine
Savor all your special small moments with Biltmore wines!

The world of wine is fascinating, and the more you learn, the more addictive it can become. This winter, relish the journey of discovery, and make it a fun process. Shruthi advises, “Enjoy every part of the experience–especially savoring your wines!”

And to keep your stock replenished at a great value, join the Vanderbilt Wine Club® to receive a curated shipment every three months. You’ll thank yourself the rest of the year!

*Whether you are a Biltmore Annual Passholder or daytime guest, make required Tasting Room reservations in person at the Winery on the day of your visit, or ask our staff for more information on wines that interest you.

Taste Passion And Perseverance In This Chardonnay!

“You’ll taste our passion for perseverance in this new Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina 2020 Barrel Select wine,” said Sharon Fenchak, Biltmore winemaker.

From grape to glass

Workers pick Chardonnay grapes in Biltmore's vineyard
Vineyard crews picking grapes by hand in Biltmore’s vineyard on the west side of the estate

“The grapes for this smooth, buttery Chardonnay were carefully nurtured by Philip Oglesby, Vineyard Supervisor, and his crew,” Sharon said. “From planting and tending the vines to caring for them throughout the growing season and harvesting the grapes by hand in late September and early October, the vineyard team ensured that we had the best possible fruit to begin this project.”

Biltmore-grown barrels

Biltmore wine barrels for Chardonnay
These barrels are coopered for the Winery from Biltmore-grown oak

According to Sharon, the grapes aren’t the only part of this wine that represents the estate.

“Once this medium-bodied golden Chardonnay was ready to be fermented and aged, we transferred it into a group of very special barrels,” said Sharon.

For the first time in the estate’s winemaking history, wood from oak trees that were grown on the estate was shipped to Seguin Moreau, an artisan barrel-making firm. Now anchored in Napa, California, the company originated in France in 1838 and continues to provide high-quality barrels to the wine industry today.

Chardonnay tasting notes and pairings

“It is remarkable to have Biltmore-grown oak coopered into custom barrels for aging our own Chardonnay,” Sharon said. Now, in addition to having our grapes reflect our Blue Ridge Mountain terroir, the very barrels we use for aging also echo the unique characteristics of weather and soil found here.”

After aging for 12 months in Biltmore oak barrels, this Chardonnay developed a delightful nose of caramel, coffee, and grilled pineapple, plus pleasant hints of oak that continue on the palate along with flavors of Meyer lemon, vanilla, and kiwi ahead of a lingering finish of honey and spice.

Biltmore wines and charcuterie grazing board
Savor our outstanding Biltmore wines with a grazing board at your next gathering

To further enhance the rich notes of this exceptional Chardonnay, Sharon suggests warming it slightly to around 60 degrees, then gathering friends together to savor a glass with a grazing platter featuring blue cheese drizzled with local honey, pistachios, and smoked trout dip.

Other excellent pairings include seafood cioppino, Caribbean-style red snapper, and mussels with a butter-and-garlic sauce and plenty of toasted baguettes for dipping.

Passion and perseverance

Bottles of Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay sitting on a barrel
The label for this distinctive Chardonnay features an original watercolor painting of Biltmore’s vineyard

Sharon and the wine production team have called Biltmore® Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina 2020 Barrel Select wine “the taste of 2020 in a glass.”

“That’s not a negative attribute,” Sharon noted. “It really refers to the fact that 2020 was a challenging year in many ways, but even so, we poured our passion, determination, and perseverance into this wine, and we see it as a tribute to North Carolina grape growing.”

For the label, Lisa Vogel, Art Director, painted an original watercolor to distinguish this one-of-a-kind wine.

“I chose to include an iconic oak tree in the estate’s vineyard,” said Lisa, “as a visual way to represent the grapes and the barrels that earned this outstanding wine our exclusive Biltmore® Reserve Barrel Select designation.”

Join the Vanderbilt Wine Club® now to experience this Chardonnay

Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
Vanderbilt Wine Club members receive a shipment of Biltmore wines each season, plus access to exclusive vintages, virtual tasting events, and more.

This wine will be released exclusively to our Vanderbilt Wine Club® members. Explore membership options at the Winery or online, and stock up on your favorite Biltmore wines at biltmoreshop.com.

Taste The Terroir Of Biltmore Wines

When you taste the terroir of Biltmore wines, you’re tasting some of the oldest terroir in the world in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Terroir refers to the complete natural environment in which the grapes for wine are grown and in which the wines themselves are produced and aged. It includes factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.

Long established among European winegrowers, the concept of terroir is becoming more important in the U.S. and other nations.

Interestingly, there is no exact translation of terroir from its French language origins—it loosely means “a sense of place,” and can be as broad as an entire region or as narrow as a few rows in a specific vineyard.

What is the terroir of Biltmore wines?

Grapes ripening in Biltmore's vineyard
Grapes ripening in Biltmore’s vineyard

Biltmore’s acreage—including the vineyard—is classified as a Low and Intermediate Mountain System between 1,400–4,600 feet above sea level with soil influenced by elevation, slope aspect, exposure, and vegetation. As part of the ancient Appalachian Mountain chain that formed 480 billion years ago, the Blue Ridge Mountains feature lower elevations and a soft, weathered appearance that shows much they’ve worn away over the years.

When George Vanderbilt’s grandson William A.V. Cecil envisioned developing an estate vineyard and winery, he felt it should be possible to grow grapes at Biltmore.

In his book Lady on the Hill, Cecil wrote that “Asheville was about the same latitude as Gibraltar in the Mediterranean, and with an altitude between 2,100 and 2,500 feet, the fields of the estate would enjoy warm days and cool nights in the summer.”

West coast advantages

California partner vineyard
Partner vineyards in California

Unlike the conditions of the Mediterranean and other classic grape-growing regions, however, the climate of Western North Carolina is notoriously unpredictable, averaging 47 inches of rain per year—more than twice the average amount that falls in Napa Valley.

In addition to a drier climate, California growers have another advantage when it comes to terroir: the geologic age of the area is much “younger” than that of the east coast. Wine grapes typically fare better in lower-nutrient, more alkaline soils preferably with gravelly or rocky substrates.

The idea is that the plants’ roots will grow deeper in such circumstances to seek nutrients and water, allowing the plant and eventually the fruit to express the unique characteristics of the specific location that the grower has chosen.

“Our west coast vineyard partners like those in Cienega Valley have the benefits of a maritime climate and rocky soils that create more intensity and richness in the grapes,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Wine Manager. “They may have lower yields there, but flavors develop more fully.”

Climate affects terroir

Picking red grapes at Biltmore
Grapes being picked by hand in Biltmore’s vineyard

“Soil and climate have significant impact on grape quality, but climate is the more important factor at Biltmore,” said Philip Oglesby, Vineyard Supervisor. Grapes can be more reactive to certain weather conditions than some crops, but when the weather is right in Western North Carolina, the fruit produced in our vineyards is exceptional.”

Try any of our Biltmore Reserve wines, such as Biltmore Reserve® Cabernet Sauvignon North Carolina, handcrafted from estate-grown grapes, and you’ll taste not only the character of the varietal, but the distinctive influence of our unique Blue Ridge Mountain terroir.

Fun Fact

The state soil of North Carolina is known as Cecil soil. Named for Cecil County, Maryland where the soil type was first documented rather than the family name of George Vanderbilt’s descendants, it is nonetheless a delightful coincidence that Biltmore’s vineyard and Winery are rooted in Cecil soil!

Purchase Biltmore® Reserve wines now and taste the terroir!

Bottles of Biltmore Reserve Rose North Carolina wine
Only wines handcrafted from estate-grown grapes earn our Biltmore® Reserve label

Find Biltmore wines, including Biltmore® Reserve wines, in estate shops and online.