Home for the Holidays: Virtual Gift Giving and Entertaining

This year, staying home for the holidays means you’ll need more virtual gift giving and entertaining ideas than ever before.

Virtual gift giving and entertaining

Celebrate Christmas with Biltmore wines
Whether you’re home for the holidays, traveling, or hosting a virtual celebration, Biltmore wines help make the season bright

To help you savor the season instead of stressing about the details, we sought inspiration from the experts with Biltmore wines to assist you in making the most of the moments that matter.

“Each year, we create a special wine guide that highlights fine Biltmore wines, great wine and food pairings, and useful accessories,” said Chris Price, Wine Marketing Manager.

“For our 2020 Holiday Wine Guide, however, we’ve gone all out to bring you everything from how to host a virtual wine tasting to a custom playlist perfect for prepping a holiday feast in the kitchen or keeping the party going,” Chris said, “so whether you’re gathering together at home, traveling, or hosting a virtual celebration, we hope you’ll be inspired to simplify and celebrate the season with Biltmore wines!”

Bundle the best of Biltmore wines

Biltmore wines with chocolate desserts
For the holidays, we’ve bundled the best of our award-winning wines to help you simplify your celebrations (and save)!

No matter what kind of holiday event you’re planning, we’ve bundled the best of our Biltmore wines to make it easy to celebrate the season:

  • Tree-Raising Wine Trio
    Raise a glass to celebrate our most beloved Christmas tradition–tree raising at Biltmore–or enjoy while decorating your own tree at home.
  • Winemaker’s Wonderland Bundle
    Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak reveals four of her seasonal favorites for holiday entertaining!
  • Holiday Cheer Wine Trio
    Whether you’re celebrating in person or hosting a virtual gathering, this trio of wines is perfect for every palate. Savor as a set or give as thoughtful gifts of the season.

Celebrate with the sounds of the season

Couple video chatting with friends during Christmas dinner
Make your virtual celebration merrier with a custom holiday playlist from Biltmore wines

According to John Justice from our Biltmore wines sales team, it doesn’t matter if you’re celebrating together with friends or video chatting with family far away, music is one of the best ways to set the mood.

With that in mind, John created a custom holiday playlist filled with festive favorites he selected especially for the merriest months of the year.

“I enjoy cooking for friends and family,” John said, “and I’ve always got music playing while everyone helps out in the kitchen. Whether you’ve got a house filled of folks or you’re hosting a virtual gathering, pour yourself a glass of Biltmore wine and get everybody in the holiday groove with this mix of old and new songs!”

Friends toasting with red wine
Our holiday playlist pairs perfectly with everything from family gatherings and road trips to visit friends to virtual entertaining from the comfort of home

“After your event ends, you can send everyone the link to the playlist so they can enjoy it all season long,” said John. “It’s becomes a memorable party favor for your guests!”

Pour on the cheer with wine-themed cocktails

Tray of cocktails
Make the season bright with a holiday happy hour including cocktails featuring Biltmore wines!

For those who enjoy holiday happy hours, Biltmore wines puts the “old fashioned” in classic cocktails, plus new twists on traditional libations.

“Mix it up this season with delightful cocktails featuring Biltmore wines like our refreshing Orange Muscat Mimosa,” advised Chris, “or go elegant with a French Rose 75 topped with Biltmore sparkling wine–there’s something for every taste and occasion!”

Give the gift of a memorable experience

Women with Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
Give someone special the gift of membership in our Vanderbilt Wine Club®

When it comes to gift giving, nothing satisfies like an experience that the recipient can enjoy in the moment and relive with great memories.

“One of my favorite ways to celebrate someone special is by giving them a year-long membership to the Vanderbilt Wine Club,” said Chris. “The person who receives it can look forward to a shipment of our award-winning Biltmore wines delivered to their door each season, and they’ll think of you each time it arrives!”

Biltmore Red Wine & Chocolate tasting setup
Enjoy a specialty experiences like our Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting offered daily at the Winery

Other memorable options include a Biltmore Annual Pass or a Biltmore gift card redeemable for a Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting or other specialty experiences at the Winery.

2020 Holiday Wine Guide

Biltmore wines in front of a fireplace
Find inspiration for virtual gift giving and entertaining with our 2020 Holiday Wine Guide

Discover more virtual gift giving in our 2020 Holiday Wine Guide, including chef-inspired food pairings, stellar Biltmore wine picks, a video for hosting virtual holiday wine tastings, crafts, seasonal DIY décor, and other easy ideas for enjoying time together with loved ones, near and far.

You can also stock up on Biltmore wines in most estate shops, online, and in your own neighborhood with our Retail Locator.

Decorations in Biltmore House: Christmas 2020 by the Numbers

Join us for a very special Christmas at Biltmore this year as we mark the 125th anniversary of George Vanderbilt first opening the estate to his friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. In honor of this milestone in our history, this year’s theme for decorations in Biltmore House will be “An 1895 Christmas,” with a focus on Vanderbilt holiday traditions—especially those that provide a sense of calm and comfort. 

Estate archives offered insight to the theme, including George Vanderbilt’s request for “barrels of mistletoe and wagonloads of holly” to adorn his new home. Look for holly garlands throughout, plus plenty of classic Christmas reds popping up in the decorations in Biltmore House this year, like bright berry trees in the Vestibule and Entry Hall and deeper claret and burgundy tones in the Tapestry Gallery.

Let’s take a closer look at the sheer amount of décor displayed at Biltmore this Christmas season.

Crane assists with giant tree installation
Installation of the 55-foot-tall Christmas tree on the Biltmore House Front Lawn is always a sight to behold.

Christmas Trees

  • There are 55 hand-decorated Christmas trees in Biltmore House for the 2020 celebration.
  • The smallest tree in America’s Largest Home® is a tabletop tree in the Morland Room.
  • The largest tree is, of course, the Vanderbilt traditional fresh 35-foot-tall Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall
  • A lit 55-foot-tall Norway spruce encircled by 36 illuminated evergreens and shrubs decorates the Front Lawn of Biltmore House for Candlelight Christmas Evenings
  • A total of 52 additional decorated Christmas trees are at other estate locations, including Antler Hill Village, our Winery, The Inn on Biltmore Estate®, and estate restaurants. The Conservatory will feature Christmas tree-shaped planters with potted plants and other natural materials.  
Christmas lights lay across the floor
Strands upon strands upon strands of lights come together to create the illuminated magic of the season.

Lights & Candles

  • There are around 45,000 lights and 150 candles inside Biltmore House. Approximately 135,000 LED and mini lights twinkle around the estate.
  • More than 55,300 lights illuminate the Front Lawn tree. An additional 33,280 are used on the surrounding trees and shrubs.  
  • Hand-lit at dusk, 250 luminaires line the driveway and Esplanade in front of Biltmore House, welcoming guests for Candlelight Christmas Evenings. 
Various ornaments for Biltmore House Christmas trees
Ornaments used throughout the estate vary by size and style, with some paying homage to the Vanderbilts’ era.

Ornaments

  • The Banquet Hall tree is trimmed with 500 ornaments and 500 LED Edison-style electric lights, along with an abundance of gift boxes.
  • Around 13,870 ornaments are hung on the other trees in Biltmore House, and another 13,000 are used to add holiday cheer around the estate. 
Vibrant poinsettia blooms
Vibrant poinsettias and other blooming plants are on display in Biltmore House and across the estate.

Poinsettias & Other Blooms

There are more than 1,200 traditional poinsettias on display throughout the estate—about 150 of which are part of decorations in Biltmore House. Other familiar holiday plants and flowers include amaryllis, Christmas cactus, bromeliads, orchids, peace lilies, cyclamen, begonias, and kalanchoe.  

Detail shot of unique Christmas wreath
All of our Christmas wreaths are handmade and some feature unique natural materials.

Wreaths

About 225 fresh wreaths and sprays, along with 90 faux pieces, used as decorations in Biltmore House and around the estate for the season. Our wreaths are made of fresh white pine and Fraser fir and they are ornamented with golden arborvitae, holly, or other natural materials such as twigs and cones. Artificial bases are decorated with ornaments, berries, faux flowers, and ribbon.  

Floral team members install garland
Garlands and greenery are still used to decorate Biltmore House

Garlands

  • About 3,120 feet of fresh evergreen garlands, made of mixed white pine and Fraser fir, are used during the season. The garlands are replaced weekly to maintain a fresh look and fragrance for our guests.  
  • Faux garlands add another 1,000 feet in Biltmore House and around 1,800 feet in other estate areas.
Outdoor Christmas decorations
Once you start looking for bows throughout the estate, we have a feeling you’ll spot them everywhere!

Ribbons & Bows

  • There are about 600 handmade bows used in decorations in Biltmore House with an additional 1,200 across the estate. Everything from narrow cording to 8-inch-wide ribbons is used to make the bows, which are decorated with velvets, metallics, satins, burlap, and printed cottons.
  • The amount of ribbon needed to make a bow ranges from 5 yards for a bow used on the fresh garland on the Grand Staircase, to 15 yards to make a tree-topper bow for a 16-foot tree you might see in the Tapestry Gallery or Banquet Hall.  
Enchanted view of evening Biltmore House illumination
Candlelight Christmas Evenings offers the opportunity to experience Biltmore House aglow with holiday spirit.

We invite you to join us in marveling at the festive decorations in Biltmore House and across the estate as we honor the anniversary of this beloved celebration. Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration and Candlelight Christmas Evenings each offer comfort, joy, and peace of mind in the traditions that have enchanted Biltmore’s guests for 125 years. Availability is limited; reserve your visit today to secure your preferred dates!

Please note all images used in this blog post are from Christmases past.

First Look: Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore Collection

Shop the new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke, available now at the estate and online!

Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore

Shop new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke
This sleek and stylish wallet is perfect when you’re on the go or as an accompaniment to the roomy tote in the Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore collection

“We are thrilled to announce the new Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore collection,” said Clay Chaffin, Senior Director, Product Design, Development & Merchandising. “When a storied brand like Biltmore connects with a fashion icon such as Dooney & Bourke, the results are nothing short of inspiring.”

Estate-inspired design

Shop new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke
The new collection is available in a tote, wallet, and crossbody bag

The new design by Dooney & Bourke weaves classic architectural elements and elegant patterns from America’s Largest Home® into a timeless style, bringing form and function together in these three separate pieces:

  • Biltmore Estate® Classic Tote Bag by Dooney & Bourke
  • Biltmore Estate® Classic Crossbody Bag by Dooney & Bourke
  • Biltmore Estate® Classic Wallet by Dooney & Bourke

“We worked with Dooney & Bourke designers to capture some of the most beloved details of George Vanderbilt’s magnificent estate, then combined them with the artistic direction of Dooney & Bourke to create a signature Biltmore pattern that fans of both brands will love,” Clay said.

Emphasis on quality

Not only are the two brands compatible in terms of their design aesthetic, but they’re also a match in their emphasis on quality and integrity.

Inspired by America’s rich history in leather goods, ranging from mail pouches to saddle bags and other gear, Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke created the distinct blend of classic and contemporary styles that have been the hallmark of every Dooney & Bourke collection for more than 40 years.

With a steadfast commitment to enduring style, timeless versatility, and uncompromising quality, Dooney & Bourke selects only the finest raw materials and follows the time-honored techniques of old world leather craftsmen.

More to come

Shop new Biltmore Collection by Dooney & Bourke
Be among the first to shop the new Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore bags!

“This new Biltmore Estate Classic pattern is the first of three curated collections featuring exceptional quality and richly detailed textures that invite you to indulge in more than one,” said Clay. “We’ll be sharing a sneak peak at what’s next in the coming months!”

Bring Biltmore home for the holidays

Ladies shopping in Antler Hill Village at Biltmore
Visit our estate shops for all your holiday gifts–including the new Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore bags!

Find Dooney & Bourke for Biltmore just in time for holiday shopping. Available in a tote, crossbody bag, and wallet styles, there’s a perfect option for everyone–including you!

Take care of your gift-giving list in any of our estate shops, or shop online from the comfort of home at BiltmoreShop.com.

Fans Choose Our 2020 Christmas Wine Labels

(Please enjoy this archived content from Christmas 2020.)

For the past three years, our Facebook fans have been the ones to choose the style of our Christmas at Biltmore Wine labels.

Crowdsourcing our Christmas wine labels

Fans choose our 2020 Christmas Wine Labels
Indoor and outdoor holiday elements were chosen by our Facebook fans for 2020

“It’s worked so well that we keep doing it,” said Chris Price, Wine Marketing Manager. “By voting for the Christmas wine label styles and themes on Facebook, our fans really help us capture the spirit of the season.”

Working with a North Carolina artist

The Biltmore wine marketing team selected artist Denise Nelson of Sherrils Ford, North Carolina, to create two original paintings that would incorporate the holiday images and elements selected by Biltmore’s Facebook followers for our Christmas wine labels.

Christmas at Biltmore white and red wines
Your virtual tasting theme can be anything you like, including Christmas at Biltmore white and red wines!

Two winning themes emerged after two rounds of online voting: a wonderfully warm vignette in the grand Library of Biltmore House, and a whimsical outdoor scene featuring the iconic architecture of America’s Largest Home®.

Images tell a special story

Fans choose themes for our 2020 Christmas Wine labels
Paintings in progress: artwork for both labels side-by-side in Denise Nelson’s studio

According to the artist, her assignment felt a little overwhelming at first because both the Library and the house are so richly detailed, but as she began working with the two different ideas that were selected, the images began to tell their own special stories.

Fans choose themes for our 2020 Christmas Wine labels
Denise builds layers of warm color and delightful detail for the Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label painting

“I started with the Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label,” Denise said. ” It was delightful to present an interior view of the house that includes a child’s rocking horse and Cedric, the Vanderbilts’ beloved Saint Bernard, resting on the hearth in front of the massive fireplace.”

Detail of Cedric the St. Bernard for our 2020 Christmas at Biltmore Red Wine label
Denise captured Cedric the St. Bernard in magnificent detail, from the rough texture of his coat to the firelight reflected in his eyes

Denise was able to work in other wonderful Library details, like cheerful Christmas décor and a glimpse of Pelligrini’s The Chariot of Aurora ceiling painting soaring overhead.

Classic architecture meets frosty fun

Artist's palette with colors for Christmas at Biltmore Wine labels
Denise kept her colors cool for the Christmas at Biltmore White Wine label

Fans also voted to see a snowy outdoor scene featuring Biltmore House at night, and Denise was happy to oblige.

Fans choose themes like this snowman for our 2020 Christmas Wine labels
For the Christmas at Biltmore White Wine label, Denise painted a timeless winter scene that looks as if the Vanderbilts and their guests might have created this cheerful snowman before returning to the warmth of Biltmore House!

“I imagined a nicely chilled bottle of Christmas at Biltmore White Wine,” said Denise, “and that helped me capture the tone of the season. You’ll see the windows of Biltmore House alight for the holidays, and a cheerful snowman in a red scarf adds a bit of frosty fun to the formal architecture.”

Give a thoughtful gift of wine this season

Christmas at Biltmore wines with dessert
Christmas at Biltmore Wines are perfect for gift giving and for complementing your favorite flavors at the holiday buffet or dessert table

Whether you’re in the mood for a fragrant, semi-sweet white wine or a soft, fruit-forward red, our Christmas at Biltmore Wines offer a classic complement to your favorite flavors at the holiday buffet or dessert table. As an added bonus, the lovely labels make both wines a charming gift of the season for someone special.

Creating Curb Appeal at Biltmore House

To say that the summertime curb appeal of America’s Largest Home veers toward the dramatic would be accurate! Towering palm trees flank the front door, all of them carefully arranged in terracotta pots sturdy enough to keep the contents secure. For plantings this huge, their containers can measure up to 40 inches tall and 50 inches wide.

Some of the containers are replicas made in Impruneta, Italy, the same town in which the home’s original pots were made in the late 1800s. For the reproductions, the faces and garlands were matched with the ones on the original pots.

This year, Biltmore gardener Todd Roy created the plant design for the containers at the front of the house, the terrace that crosses the facade, as well as the pots at the base of the Rampe Deuce, across from the house.

Guests often ask Todd and his cohorts on the horticulture team questions on how best to get the Biltmore look in their home gardens. Here are some of Todd’s favorite tips for creating dazzling container gardens at home.

“Thriller, Filler and Spiller”
To achieve a balanced container, Todd says to design with these basic components.

• “Thrillers” are the upright, tall component.

• “Fillers” are medium-height, middle-area plants.

• “Spillers” are the plants that hang over and around the edges of the container.

Select plants with similar watering needs
Consult the plant tags for watering requirements so you are choosing plants that share the same maintenance schedule.

Texture
And finally, select plants with differing leaf sizes and colors for a full and lush effect.

More about Biltmore’s historic gardens may be found here.

8 Great Reasons to Visit Biltmore This Fall

There are more than 8 great reasons to visit Biltmore this fall, like the fact that the season is prime vacation time for those who love “leaf-peeping,” and Biltmore offers the best Blue Ridge Mountains views around.

The estate’s ever-changing autumnal color, plus its many seasonal activities and offerings, make it the perfect home base for your fall trip.

Here are 8 of our favorite reasons to make Biltmore the center of your getaway this fall:

8 great reasons to visit Biltmore this fall
Biltmore House surrounded by gorgeous fall color

1. Prime location in Asheville, NC

Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Biltmore is located minutes from downtown Asheville—a vibrant city known for great dining, quaint shops, and its strong arts community—and just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. In addition to your visit to Biltmore House & Gardens, you could easily spend several days enjoying the surrounding area.

2. Rooftop Tour of America’s Largest Home®

8 great reasons to visit Biltmore this fall
In addition to enjoying our Building Biltmore House exhibition, enhance your visit with a Rooftop Tour that includes spectacular views and stories.

Discover spectacular views boasting every shade of fall color as far as the eye can see. This 60-minute guided tour offers wildly impressive photo ops—during autumn, especially—and provides a closer look at the design and construction of Biltmore House in areas that many guests never visit.

3. Outdoor adventures

8 great reasons to visit Bltmore this fall
Enjoy beautiful fall color along our trails

Enjoy the crisp air and glorious fall colors while hiking or biking along our nearly 22 miles of paved and unpaved trails. Admire the scenery along the French Broad River, through lush green forests, or in the open meadows of the estate. Stop by the Bike Barn or Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village for a detailed trail map and orientation.

4. Deerpark Carriage & Trail Ride Barn

Deerpark Carriage & Trail Ride Barn
Deerpark Carriage & Trail Ride Barn

Located in the heart of the estate, this historic structure is the headquarters for Biltmore’s Carriage Rides and Horseback Trail Rides. Whether you prefer a relaxing journey in an elegant carriage or a western-style adventure on a horse that suits your riding style, few things are as majestic as traveling our woodland trails enveloped in fall color.

5. Biltmore Gardens Railway

Biltmore Gardens Railway in Antler Hill Village at Biltmore
Marvel at Biltmore Gardens Railway–a botanical model train display in Antler Hill Village

All aboard for family fun with Biltmore Gardens Railway! Experience our grounds in an engaging new way with a botanical model train display that is sure to delight all ages. Located in Antler Hill Village, the displays feature replicas of iconic train depots from around the country. Each beautifully executed piece was handcrafted from such natural elements as leaves, bark, and twigs.

6. Get ready for the holidays!

Golden cherub ornament on a Biltmore Christmas tree
Christmas decor in Biltmore House

After strolling through a kaleidoscope of fall colors in the Walled Garden and enjoying the beautiful hues of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, reserve at time to visit Biltmore House and get a sneak peek at what the Floral Displays team is planning for the holidays. Even though we don’t officially kick off the season until early November, you may catch glimpses of their hard work in the weeks leading up to Christmas at Biltmore!

7. Vineyard harvest season

Harvesting grapes in Biltmore's vineyard on the west side of the estate
Grapes are picked by hand in Biltmore’s vineyard on the west side of the estate

Biltmore’s bounty takes center stage at the Winery in Antler Hill Village as we celebrate the harvest season. Make reservations to savor complimentary tastings of handcrafted wines and learn how science and nature intersect as you learn about the estate’s vineyards, discover the unique factors that affect grapes grown in North Carolina, and take an in-depth look at our winemaking process.

8. The ultimate fall getaway

Guests entering The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Enjoy a grand fall getaway at The Inn on Biltmore Estate

An overnight stay at Biltmore offers the unique experience of waking up on George Vanderbilt’s estate with autumn beauty just outside your door. Enjoy warm hospitality in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere at the charming Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate®, or experience world-class service with a luxurious four-star stay at The Inn on Biltmore Estate®.  

Plan your visit today and discover for yourself why Biltmore is the perfect home base for your fall getaway.

Savor Summer with These Limited Release White Wines

Savor summer with these Limited Release white wines, handcrafted by Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak to refresh your palate all season long.

“Of course white wines aren’t just for summer,” said Sharon, “but they are uniquely suited to provide crisp, refreshing flavor and pair well with the kinds of lighter foods we enjoy most during warmer weather.”

For the Biltmore Estate Limited Release series, Sharon seeks smaller lots of exceptional grapes from our partner vineyards in California and Washington, allowing her to showcase her skillful artistry in each bottle.

Let’s take a look at four Limited Release white wines crafted from varietals that may be less well known than more mainstream whites such as Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio:

1. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne

Friends toasting with Biltmore wine
Our new Biltmore Estate Albariño makes any occasion seem special!

Originally from France’s Northern Rhône region, Marsanne is a less well-known white varietal often blended with Roussanne.

After selecting fruit from our California growing partners, Sharon handcrafts our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne to be light straw in color, with bright opening aromas of banana, kiwi, and lime.

Refreshing with a nice acidity, this light-to-medium-bodied Marsanne offers a fresh flavor reminiscent of tart green apples. Perfect for summer sipping and outdoor entertaining like a classic Lowcountry seafood boil, our Marsanne is excellent with lighter fare such as orange chicken, scallops, and fish tacos, or spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette.

For desserts, consider key lime pie and lemon pound cake. If you’ve already discovered that you’re a fan of Biltmore’s other food-friendly white wines, we predict you’ll love getting to know our Marsanne!

2. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat

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

Although it has old-world origins in Italy and France, Orange Muscat is better known today through new-world plantings in the U.S. and Australia.

We handcraft this highly aromatic member of the Muscat family into a straw-colored wine with a luscious fragrant bouquet of peach blossom, honey, and ripe melon.

Light-bodied, nicely balanced, and sweet-forward with flavors of honey and tropical fruit, our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat offers a clean, lightly tart finish that is surprisingly zesty.

Savor this delightful “glass full of summer” with Mexican dishes, crab salad, spicy black bean burgers, Nashville-style hot chicken, fruit salad, angel food cake, and lemon tart.

Most of all, be sure to sip it outdoors on the porch, or try it as the base of a refreshing summer cocktail like this Orange Muscat Mimosa or a pitcher of fruity sangria.

3. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Roussanne

Savor summer with white wines
Enjoy all our Limited Release wines, including Roussanne, this summer!

Roussanne is a late-ripening white grape that originated in the Rhone region of France. While it is often blended with Marsanne, Sharon has chosen to handcraft this Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne as a single varietal with fine grapes selected from partner vineyards in Paso Robles, California.

This medium-bodied pale gold wine offers scents of lime, pear, and coconut. It is soft, round, and nicely balanced with slight hints of minerality along with flavors of lime, kiwi, and tangerine.

Pair it with lighter fare including fish tacos, trout, chicken salad with grapes and strawberries, or a wedge of Ibérico cheese. Refreshing and easy to drink, we suggest sipping a glass of Roussanne while relaxing on the porch—or take a bottle along to your next rustic cabin adventure or “glamping” getaway.

4. Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon

Savor summer with Limited Release white wines
Pack plenty of Limited Release Semillon for your next summer picnic!

Sémillon is native to France’s Bordeaux region. While it is often blended with other wines to give them more body and brighter flavor, Sharon opts to handcraft our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon as a single varietal to express its distinctive characteristics.

The grapes are selected from partner vineyards in Lake County, California, and the resulting light green-gold wine features a bouquet of fresh pear, banana, and floral notes.

Medium-light in body, our round, creamy Sémillon offers tastes of crisp apple, vanilla, and hints of oak along with good acidity and a soft finish.

Enjoy it with pan-seared scallops, Crab Louie, grilled chicken Caesar salad, and party favorites including brie, savory vol-au-vent canapés, and petite fours. Serve this lovely white wine with a casual dinner, bring it along on a summer picnic, or simply sip it by the glass

Savor Summer with Limited Release White Wines

Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
As a Vanderbilt Wine Club member, you’ll receive a shipment of Biltmore wines each season, plus access to exclusive vintages, events, and more

Our Limited Release wines–including the four that we’ve highlighted in this post–are exclusively available on the estate, online, or through the Vanderbilt Wine Club®.

The Railcar Red Wine Runs Smooth

The Railcar Red Wine runs smooth–and we invite you to try it for yourself!

The powerful red blend—handcrafted to honor George Vanderbilt’s personal ties to the American railroad industry—and as a complement to Biltmore Gardens Railway—is just the ticket for sipping and savoring with your favorite foods.

The Railcar Red Wine runs smooth
The Railcar red wine is a powerful complement to Biltmore Gardens Railway

The Railcar red wine runs smooth

The Railcar is a distinctive red wine crafted predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Merlot,” said Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak. “I selected fruit from our vineyard partners in Paso Robles and Lake County—two outstanding grape-growing regions in California’s wine country.”

As soon as you uncork The Railcar, you’ll experience its earthy bouquet that includes hints of caramel, vanilla, plum, black cherry, and baking spice.

Friends toasting with red wine
Cheers to the chill, grill, and thrill of summer entertaining

On tasting this medium-to-large bodied garnet-colored wine, you’ll discover bright cherry, plum, and dried fruit flavors up front, a bit of spice, and nice full tannins that make it an excellent pairing partner with barbecue, smoked meats, and pasta with red sauce.

Creating a distinctive label

“When we first talked about creating this wine, we knew it would need a special label that showcased how distinctive it is,” noted Jill Whitfield, Senior Marketing Manager, Biltmore Wines. “With that in mind, we reached out to Asheville artist Bryan Koontz to see what he envisioned for The Railcar.”

Sketches for The Railcar label
Bryan refines his graphite concept sketches for The Railcar red wine

Getting on track with a local artist

In addition to being an an exceptional artist who created original artwork for our 2018 Christmas at Biltmore Wine labels and our 2019 Spring Release label, Bryan is a train aficionado whose detailed illustrations of trains have appeared in books depicting the historic development of railroads in this country.

Transitioning the sketches from graphite to watercolor
Transitioning from graphite to watercolor

Concepts and sketches

He’s particularly knowledgeable about the types of steam engines that would have been in use in George Vanderbilt’s day, and he drew on that knowledge to create several concepts that he began to refine with a final destination in mind.

“I knew about George Vanderbilt’s railway connections,” said Bryan, “and that he had his own private railcar. That was the height of luxury at that time, to commission a custom-made railcar and travel in style anywhere a train could take you!”

Bryan’s initial concepts and early sketches were rendered in graphite pencil to provide the crisp clarity that characterizes his work. It’s a medium that lends itself to creating all the tiny details of a vintage steam engine.

Refining the details

The artist at work on the label in his studio
Bryan at work on the label in his studio

As the concept was refined toward its final iteration, Bryan used watercolors to bring the engine, its cars, and the surrounding landscape to life.

Final touches for The Railcar label
The label nearing completion

The final version looks so real you can almost hear the engine coming down the track toward you—perhaps pulling George Vanderbilt’s private railcar behind it!

Enjoy The Railcar Red Wine along with Biltmore Gardens Railway!

Biltlmore Gardens Railway display
Biltmore Gardens Railway in Antler Hill Village

From July 1, 2020, through February 15, 2021, marvel at Biltmore Gardens Railway, our botanical model train display located in Antler Hill Village.

New this year, we’re featuring iconic American train stations crafted from natural materials such as leaves, twigs, and bark.

Stroll through this fascinating display that hearkens back to the golden age of train travel, and celebrate the occasion with a distinctive bottle of The Railcar Red Wine, available at estate shops, online, or close to home with our Retailer Locator.

Biltmore Red Wines Are Father’s Day Favorites

If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate your dad, Biltmore red wines are Father’s Day favorites!

Biltmore red wines are Father's Day favorites
Biltmore red wines are Father’s Day favorites!

Any of our award-winning Biltmore wines make a thoughtful gift, but here are some special ways to pair your father’s favorite fare with our distinctive red wines:

Host a hearty breakfast or brunch

Charcuterie and wine

Is your dad always first in line at the breakfast buffet? This year, start the day with a new tradition: a sharp-dressed charcuterie board that’s more tempting than pastries or pancakes.

“Charcuterie incorporates many of the same elements as a standard breakfast, but it’s a fresh way to enjoy a special morning meal,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Marketing Manager for Biltmore Wines.

“Set up a spread with several different meats such as thin slices of prosciutto and jamon, rounds of salami and spicy chorizo, and a savory spread like salmon rillettes or smoked trout dip,” Jill said.

In addition, Jill suggests adding hard and soft cheeses to the mix, plus herbed nuts and dried fruit for texture.

Biltmore honey, spreads, and wine
Add honey for drizzling and pepper jelly for a hint of spice

“Last but not least, keep the breakfast theme going with toast points and tea biscuits instead of the usual baguette and crackers,” Jill said. “Round out your board with honey for drizzling and pepper jelly for spice, and voila! A breakfast or brunch that’s sure to delight Dad!”

Wine Tips: If you’re serving charcuterie before noon, uncork our Biltmore Estate Blanc de Noir sparkling–its warm coral color and hints of cherries will pair perfectly with the all the rich meats and cheeses.

Later in the day? Try our Biltmore Estate Pinot Noir or Pinoette–a smoky duet of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunierre–with the charcuterie board.

Liven up lunch with Father’s Day favorites

Three bottles of Biltmore Estate Limited Release wine on a chair
Biltmore Estate Limited Releases red wines are perfect for Father’s Day

For a special lunch on Father’s Day, repeat after us: grill it and chill it! That takes care of the main course and the wine, and you can ask family and friends to bring sides and dessert.

Wine Tips: for gourmet grilled burgers and brats, chill bottles of Biltmore Estate Limited Release Malbec or Limited Release Mourvédre for about 20 minutes before you serve lunch–that brings the temperature down to a perfect level without getting too cold.

Pulled pork barbecue plate
Grilled burgers or smoky barbecue give Dad a reason to celebrate

If Dad prefers a backyard barbecue, pair his smoky chopped, pulled, or grilled favorites with Biltmore Estate Limited Release Barbera.

King of cocktails

Negroni cocktails with Mariporta Red Dessert Wine
Shake up a classic cocktail for Father’s Day, like a Negroni made with Mariporta

Somewhere between lunch and dinner, Father’s Day naturally flows into happy hour. Declare your dad “king of cocktails” with an old-school Negroni, updated with the addition of our Mariporta Red Dessert Wine.

Dig in to dinner with Dad

Biltmore red wines are Father's Day favorites
Show Dad how much you appreciate him with a bottle of our finest wine!

Nothing tells Dad it’s Father’s Day like an exceptional steak paired with a premium red wine such as our Vanderbilt Reserve Merlot Dry Creek Valley, The Hunt Red Blend Sonoma County, or Antler Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley.

Handcrafted with precision and aged to perfection, each of these wines tells your father he’s special and you know it.

Steak with a glass of red wine
Celebrate Father’s Day with a great meal and a glass of Biltmore wine

Wine Tip: When choosing any of these wines for dinner, get your father an extra bottle just for himself. Each of these rich, complex reds have excellent aging potential–just like Dad!

Stock up on Father’s Day favorites now

Biltmore red wines are Father's Day favorites
Make Father’s Day extra special with Biltmore red wines

Biltmore red wines are Father’s Day favorites, and you can stock up on any of our award-winning wines–red, white,  rosé, and sparkling–at estate shops, with our Retail Locator, or online.

Ready to take Father’s Day gift giving to the next level? Give your dad a membership to our Vanderbilt Wine Club. He’ll thank you every time his seasonal wine shipments arrive!

Say “Happy Anniversary!” with Biltmore Wines

Celebrating special anniversaries with Biltmore wines

Savor summer with white wines
Enjoy all our Limited Release wines, including Roussanne, this summer!

If you’d like to say “happy anniversary!” with Biltmore wines, we have perfect pairings for many milestone years.

People have been giving special gifts to commemorate special wedding anniversaries since the Middle Ages, including the giving of silver wreaths for the 25th and gold wreaths for the 50th.

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

In 1922, Emily Post’s Etiquette, the ultimate book on good manners and proper social behavior, suggested gifts for a couple’s first wedding anniversary, then moved on in five-year increments.

Miss Post’s list is still considered the traditional standard for wedding gifts, so we’ve assembled a Biltmore-inspired gift list featuring some pivotal celebration ideas:


One Year: PAPER

Women with Vanderbilt Wine Club shipment
Give someone special the gift of membership in our Vanderbilt Wine Club®
  • Give a gift membership to our Vanderbilt Wine Club! Although the real gift is wine, your recipients will receive a special insert with a letter from our winemaker, wine notes, recipes, and more with each shipment.

5 Years: WOOD

two hands toasting with wine
Savor award-winning Biltmore wines

10 Years: TIN / ALUMINUM

Couple with sparkling wine by a fireplace
Celebrate your romantic occasions at Biltmore

20 Years: CHINA 

Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina
There’s nothing finer than our Biltmore Reserve wines like this Chardonnay

25 Years: SILVER

Couple drinking Biltmore wine
Enjoy Biltmore wine on the estate and at home

50 Years: GOLD

Biltmore sparkling wine in an ice bucket
Add sparkle to your celebrations with Biltmore sparkling wines

Say “Happy Anniversary!” with Biltmore Wines

Biltmore wines with cake and holiday lights
Look for all Biltmore wines online

When you’re ready to say “Happy Anniversary!” to someone special, choose the perfect gift that shows how much you care with our award-winning Biltmore wines.