Biltmore Winery Celebrates 35 Years of Cheers!

As Biltmore Winery celebrates 35 years of cheers this May, we invite you to raise a glass in honor of our anniversary and in honor of NC Wine Month!

Biltmore Winery celbrates 35 years with a special Chardonnay
Our 35th Anniversary Chardonnay was handcrafted to celebrate the Winery

And what’s in that glass you’re raising? Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak has created something truly special for the Winery’s anniversary–a barrel fermented, barrel aged Chardonnay handcrafted from grapes grown in the estate’s own vineyards.

Crafting a special wine for the occasion

“I selected the fruit for our 35th Anniversary Chardonnay from a very special group of clones that I’ve been helping nurture for nearly 20 years in Biltmore’s vineyard,” said Sharon.

Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak in the vineyard
In addition to her other winemaking responsibilities, Sharon oversees the estate’s vineyard

“The term ‘clone’ refers to a cutting or bud from an original varietal,” Sharon said, “and these clones are from old-world Chardonnay vines in Dijon, France.

According to Sharon, these clones produce smaller, looser clusters of grapes with more intense flavors and aromatics that result in a unique and distinctive style of Chardonnay.

The winemaking process

Wine barrels in Biltmore's Barrel Room

In addition to the careful selection of the varietal, Sharon chose to ferment the 35th Anniversary Chardonnay in barrels rather than steel tanks because the exothermic reaction of fermentation helps incorporate more of the barrel flavor and aromas into the wine.

“From its opening bouquet of butter, creamy vanilla, and a bit of green apple, you immediately know this isn’t your average Chardonnay,” said Sharon. “And as you sip, you’ll taste delightful flavors of Meyer lemon and a hint of creamy custard. This barrel-fermented and barrel-aged wine is soft, smooth, and features a subtle acidity.”

Perfect pairings

Fresh chilled seafood
Pair our 35th Anniversary Chardonnay with fresh seafood and other flavorful fare

Sharon recommends savoring the Chardonnay with shrimp Alfredo, tuna Niçoise, Caesar salad, and classic southern seven-layer salad. For a delightful dessert pairing, serve some zesty lemon bars that echo the wine’s classic citrus notes.

“Consider enjoying the Chardonnay during dinner alfresco with friends,” Sharon said, “and be sure to raise a glass to the past and present of Biltmore’s Winery!”

Biltmore Winery celebrates 35 years of cheers

Biltmore Winery 35th Anniversary Chardonnay on a table with glasses
Celebrate Biltmore Winery’s 35th anniversary with our special 35th Anniversary Chardonnay

Along with our limited release 35th Anniversary Chardonnay, you can find all our handcrafted Biltmore wines online.

Thank you for making the last three-and-a-half decades so successful for Biltmore’s Winery, and cheers to the next 35 years!

Savor in Place with Biltmore Wines

Spring 2020 has certainly brought some unprecedented challenges, but we invite you to savor in place with Biltmore wines.

“With the temporary closure of Biltmore and the Winery, we wanted to make sure our guests are still able to enjoy their favorite varietals at home,” said Jill Whitfield, Senior Marketing Manager for Biltmore Wines.

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

“That’s the whole idea behind our ‘savor in place with Biltmore wines’ initiative,” Jill said. “How can we be most helpful–and give you tips and ideas you can use at home–until we’re able to welcome you back to the estate and the Winery?”

Host a virtual wine tasting

Biltmore wines and spring gift ideas
Biltmore wines make perfect gifts for spring

Biltmore Winemaker Sharon Fenchak suggests hosting a virtual wine tasting while you savor in place at home.

“You’d normally gather your friends together in person for a great evening of wine tasting,” said Sharon, “but you can still “gather” everyone via a video conferencing app and let the fun begin!”

Here are Sharon’s picks for an easy virtual wine tasting that highlights some unique varietals from both our American Series and our Biltmore Estate Limited Release wines:

Have everyone select the same three bottles of wine: 1 approachable white wine like our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Marsanne, 1 rosé or light-bodied red such as our Biltmore Estate Dry Rosé or Biltmore Estate Pinot Noir, and 1 full-bodied red–perhaps our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Malbec that recently earned 96 points and Double Gold in the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition.

“Begin the tasting with the white wine and progress through to the most robust red,” Sharon advised. “Sip, savor, and celebrate your discoveries!”

Savor in place with Biltmore wines and our custom playlist

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

If a glass of wine and a smooth groove help you relax, John Justice, Regional Sales Manager for Biltmore Wines, offers the following advice:

“In these uncertain times, our kitchens are becoming a refuge for comfort and a way to calm our wanderlust,” said John.

Savor in place with Biltmore wines and charcuterie
Pair Biltmore wines with your favorite comfort foods!

“My culinary philosophy is that the two most important ingredients of cooking are the marination of the chef and good music,” John said.

“Both enhance smells, tastes, and the cooking process. I reach for Biltmore wines because they were created to be food-friendly, satisfying, and to pair well with your favorite flavors.”

John curated the following playlist specifically to match the pace of enjoying a bottle of Biltmore wine:

Get into the groove with your favorite Biltmore wines and John’s custom playlist!

“It’s smooth, lively, and reflective,” John noted, “so you won’t even need to shuffle. Cheers!”

Craft your own cocktails

Mix up refreshing cocktails
Enjoy cocktails crafted with Biltmore wines on the porch or by the pool!

“Now that we’re all sticking a little closer to home, let’s take our favorite Biltmore wines to the next level by crafting cocktails with them,” said Jeff Plack, Senior Director of Wine Production Operations.

“This is practically the perfect way to help you savor in place,” Jeff said. “You can sip your favorite Biltmore wines on their own, or transform them into handcrafted cocktails!”

Summer sipping with a Blackberry Basil Bellini
Savor in place with a Blackberry Basil Bellini featuring our sparkling Pas de Deux Moscato wine

Jeff shared the following picks to help kick off your next cocktail hour:

Uncork more refreshing cocktails with Biltmore wines here!

Stock up and savor in place with Biltmore wines

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

Until we can welcome you back to Biltmore’s Winery in person, we invite you to stock up on your favorite Biltmore wines online or locally with the help of our Retail Locator.

Want to ensure that you stay stocked up each season? Become a member of the Vanderbilt Wine Club now and enjoy Biltmore wines delivered to your door each season, exclusive discounts on wines, invitations to members-only events, and more!

Take Virtual Tours of Biltmore House and Gardens

Ready to experience virtual tours of Biltmore House and Gardens?

From the comfort of your own home, discover the timeless architecture of America’s Largest Home, renowned landscape design, breathtaking views, and storied history of this National Historic Landmark in Asheville, North Carolina.

Experience Biltmore virtual tours now

Like a jewel crowning the Blue Ridge Mountains, Biltmore House–an American castle–was completed in 1895. It is still owned and operated by descendants of founder George Vanderbilt.

PLEASE NOTE: While each of our brief Biltmore virtual tours last less than two minutes, a typical self-guided Biltmore House visit takes about two hours, spanning three floors and the basement of George and Edith Vanderbilt’s luxurious family home–and you can spend hours discovering the wonders of Biltmore’s historic gardens and grounds!

We hope you enjoy the following brief glimpse at the marvels of this historic place.


Bonus: 360° Blue Ridge Mountain Views from the Loggia

This is an interactive 360° video. Use your finger or cursor to look around*.


Bonus: 360° View Inside the Butler’s Pantry

This is an interactive 360° video. Use your finger or cursor to look around*.

* Some web browsers do not support 360° video. We recommend Google Chrome or Safari.


Virtual tour: Biltmore’s historic Conservatory

Located in the heart of Biltmore’s Walled Garden, this architectural treasure was designed in collaboration between George Vanderbilt, Biltmore House architect Richard Morris Hunt, and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Completed along with the house in 1895, Biltmore’s Conservatory is a year-round tropical oasis with more than 2,000 exotic plants beneath its expansive glass roof.

In the summer months, Biltmore’s expert staff of horticulturalists bring the tropics outdoors by filling the alleyways with exotic and fragrant plants for guests to enjoy.

This brief Biltmore virtual tour video gives you an opportunity to see highlights from the Conservatory:


Virtual tour: Biltmore’s gardens and grounds

When George Vanderbilt first began planning his grand country retreat in 1888, he envisioned a self-sustaining estate that would nurture the land and its resources for years to come.

Vanderbilt selected Frederick Law Olmsted, the founding father of American landscape architecture, to design the gardens and grounds of his estate.

Perhaps best known as the designer of Central Park in New York City, Olmsted envisioned Biltmore to include formal gardens and naturalized areas, a major arboretum and nursery, and acres of systematically managed forest land.

This brief Biltmore virtual video offers a quick overview of Olmsted’s masterpiece:

Plan your Biltmore visit soon

Enjoy Biltmore virtual tours that showcase the house, gardens, and grounds
Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina

We hope you have enjoyed each of these Biltmore virtual tours, as well as the bonus 360° videos of the Loggia and Butler’s Pantry!

Biltmore Wines and Spring Gift Ideas

Biltmore wines and spring gift ideas make perfect partners to help you celebrate all the holidays and occasions warmer weather brings.

Spring gift ideas

Biltmore wines and spring gift ideas
Biltmore wines make perfect gifts for spring

From special days for Moms and Dads to wedding registries and graduations, we’ve put together a helpful list for pairing your favorite Biltmore wines with our fresh and fabulous spring gift ideas!

Make Mother’s Day special

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

Let Mom know how special she is this Mother’s Day with a gift inspired by the gracious hospitality for which the Vanderbilt family was famous.

Choose an exclusive design from our heirloom-quality Southern Gates® sterling silver jewelry collection to remind your mother how much she means to you.

In addition, our Vanderbilt Service Tea for One, featuring pretty porcelain pieces drawn from the details of an original set used in Biltmore House, gives Mom a relaxing way to make time for herself.

Wine suggestions: Pair these thoughtful spring gift ideas with great wine options like our soft, elegant Biltmore Estate Pinot Noir with wild cherry aromas, delicate raspberry flavors, and smooth tannins, or our delightful, light pink Biltmore Estate Blanc de Noir sparkling wine featuring flavors of cherries and strawberries.

Delight your Dad

Perfect pairings with Biltmore wines
Offer a toast to Dad this Father’s Day with his favorite Biltmore wine

Give Dad a gift of distinction with our handsome Lioncrest Bookends. The lifelike detailing makes them the perfect accessory for home or office. Is your father on the go? Treat him to a sophisticated new Biltmore Renaissance Overnighter Bag. Locally made, the entire collection is guaranteed for life. 

For dads who appreciate fine wines, consider our handsome Vanderbilt Wine Chillers featuring George Vanderbilt’s monogram. Available in two sizes and two elegant finishes, the chillers make it easy to serve Dad’s favorite wines in style.

Wine suggestions: Full-bodied with complex aromas, our Antler Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley offers layers of bold fruit plus a lingering finish. Perfect now, it also has excellent aging potential. Also consider our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sémillon—a dry white wine that is silky and palate-coating with zesty citrus aromas and fresh melon flavors.

Great gifts for graduates

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

As they cross into their next phase of life, nothing says “congratulations, graduate” better than a thoughtful piece of jewelry like our estate-inspired Crossings Necklace and matching Earrings from the elegant Southern Gates® collection for a statement that can be handed down through the generations.

Wine suggestions: Pair these great spring gift ideas for grads with our rich, fruit-forward Biltmore Estate Limited Release Malbec featuring intense spice, blueberry, and plum aromas, our Biltmore Century Sweet White Wine—a semi-sweet blend with aromas of roses and fresh mint, or our elegant and refreshing Biltmore Estate Dry Rosé with a subtle, fruit-forward bouquet followed by layers of delicate berry flavors.

Happily ever-afters

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

From proposals and marriage ceremonies to honeymoons, Biltmore has always been a desirable destination for romance. Our exclusive gifts give you a wide range of unique ideas to make any romantic event more special.

For the gift registries and wish-lists of the bride-to-be, newlyweds, or first-time homeowners, consider our estate-inspired lamps and rugs as beautiful options they’ll treasure for years to come.

Wine suggestions: Make any celebration more special with our
finest sparkling wine—Biltmore Estate Château Reserve Blanc de Blancs North Carolina. Crafted from North Carolina Chardonnay grapes and featuring tiny bubbles, this golden wine bursts forth with tropical and citrus flavors.

Another inspired idea? Give the happy couple a gift membership in our Vanderbilt Wine Club, and they’ll think of you every time their seasonal shipments arrive!

Find it all online

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

From birthdays to baby announcements, find unique treasures online and pair your purchases with our award-winning Biltmore wines–they make perfect gifts for spring occasions (or any time of year)!

More than a Hostess: Honoring Edith Vanderbilt

At the age of 25, Edith Vanderbilt married the nation’s most eligible bachelor and assumed her role as lady of America’s Largest Home®, responsible for ensuring the comfort and entertainment of Biltmore’s many guests. And yet, she was so much more than a hostess.

Let’s take a look at some of Edith Vanderbilt’s most incredible efforts and achievements.

School of Domestic Science students
Students of the Biltmore School of Domestic Science, ca. 1901

Biltmore School of Domestic Science

In 1901, Edith Vanderbilt established the Biltmore School of Domestic Science, which trained young Black women in professional housekeeping. The intention behind this initiative was two-fold: to help satisfy the increasing demand for efficient domestic service in the area at the time, and—more importantly to Edith—to help women with socio-economic challenges to become gainfully employed.

Coursework covered the duties of a maid, waitress, laundress, cook, and housekeeper; if a student showed a preference for a special line of work, she was given the necessary training to develop that skillset. Additionally, the school created a network to increase its graduates’ prospects of finding work:

“The graduating classes form a society for houseworkers. The purpose of this society is mutual help, by raising the respect of the general public for such work and workers…Any positions that are vacant if in good families will be reported, and an effort be made to fill them from among the members of the society.” 

The Home Science Magazine, Volume XX, October 1903March 1904

Archival documents of Biltmore Estate Exhibition
Archival list of 1906 Biltmore Estate Exhibition prize winners and first and second prize ribbons

Biltmore Estate Exhibition

In order to nurture a sense of community among estate employees and their families, Edith organized the Biltmore Estate Exhibition, also referred to as the annual fair, in 1905. She distributed seeds as needed to all of the employees to ensure everyone could participate in the competitions.

Some of the initial categories included vegetables and herbs, field crops, domestic products such as breads and preserves, needlework, and baskets. Categories later expanded to include flowers, hogs, and poultry as well as a miscellaneous category to include eggs, honey, and various other items. Prizes included ribbons and a variety of garden books.

Though Edith was in London during the 1907 event, estate superintendent Chauncey Beadle wrote to her: 

“Not another day shall pass without a full report to you of the Exhibition, which was celebrated in the grove above the Farm Cottages yesterday afternoon with the most auspicious weather that it was possible to have. The attendance and exhibits were very satisfactory, and, I believe all who participated enjoyed the day, the social intercourse and objects which were displayed.”

Thanks to oral histories, we know that the fairs continued into the 1940s.

Biltmore Dairy Moonlight School students
Students of the Biltmore Dairy Moonlight School, ca. 1920s (Photo courtesy of the McCarson Family)

Biltmore Dairy Moonlight School

In 1914, Edith founded the Biltmore Dairy Moonlight School to teach illiterate estate workers how to read and write. Her larger intention was to attack the underlying causes of economic inequality and disenfranchisement. Classes were taught by Columbia University interns and graduates, who were receiving arguably the best teacher training in the nation at the time.

Edith Vanderbilt personally selected the textbook used at the school and even taught a class from time to time:  

“It is an interesting picture: one of the world’s richest women… teaching dairy workers how to read and write in a horse barn in the mountains of North Carolina.”

– “Aristocracy and Appalachia: Edith Vanderbilt and Her Moonlight School” (2011) by Wilkie L. Whitney

While Biltmore’s was certainly not the first moonlight school, the model Edith pioneered was so effective, it inspired the foundation of many similar programs across North Carolina—all with the support of Edith as their most vocal advocate.

Edith Vanderbilt and Red Cross
Edith Vanderbilt (second from right) and her fellow Red Cross volunteers, ca. 1917–1919 (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress: American National Red Cross Collection)

Red Cross Efforts during the Great War

When the United States became involved in the first World War, Edith Vanderbilt was splitting her time between Biltmore and Washington, DC—but no matter where she was, she always found ways to support the Red Cross during this turbulent time.

While in Asheville, she sponsored a golf tournament to raise funds for the Red Cross.

The trophy was the gift of Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt, the rules providing that all entrance fees went to the Red Cross, and that no trophies should be given unless donated.

– “Carolina Mountains Having Great Season,” The Times Dispatch, 19 August 1917

While in Washington, DC, she volunteered with the Red Cross as part of a Canteen Unit, which provided hot coffee, light refreshments, and mail services to troops at railroad junctions. True to form, Edith was recognized for going above and beyond at her Canteen’s encampment:

“Mrs. George Vanderbilt is quite wonderful, so cool and collected and executive. She took her motor and went off shopping, bought some extra equipment, a table for the tent to hold the telephone, some camp chairs, a rake to rake up the trash, a pump to pump the water into the cauldron, a mail bag, stamps, wire baskets; besides, she organized the post-office.”  

Presidents and Pies: Life in Washington 1897–1919 (1920) by Isabel Anderson

Edith Vnaderbilt State Fair
Edith Vanderbilt arriving at the first State Fair during her tenure as president, ca. 1921

First Female President of the North Carolina Agricultural Society

In 1920, Edith Vanderbilt was elected the first female president of the North Carolina Agricultural Society as well as the 60th State Fair. Her first address in the role was one for the books.

“Anti-suffragists who have feared woman’s entrance into politics found themselves happy today when Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt made about the smartest 15-minute speech to a joint session of the general assembly heard within the historic walls of the state house in a long time…explaining in the outset that it would be like the modern skirt, to the extent that its length would cover the subject and its brevity attract attention. She was right.”

– “Woman Makes First Address to Legislature,” The Charlotte Observer, 3 February 1921

Under her leadership, the State Fair focused more on agriculture as opposed to sideshows. Edith traveled and wrote widely to promote the event and help attract exhibitors. She also led initiatives to improve the fairgrounds.

She would ultimately be re-elected to lead the 1922, 1923, and 1924 fairs, and then continued to serve on the executive committee following her tenure as president.

Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt
Edith Vanderbilt (center) and her daughter Cornelia (left of center) greet guests arriving in Biltmore Village, ca. 1924

More than a Hostess

Beyond her duties as wife, mother, and lady of the house, Edith Vanderbilt felt a great responsibility towards her community. She was passionate about education, agriculture, and literacy. She was active in civic affairs at the local, state, and national level. Perhaps most impressive, she used her privilege to support those in need and the causes in which she so strongly believed.

Cheers to this extraordinary woman!

Feature image: Edith Vanderbilt gathering letters from soldiers while volunteering for the Red Cross, ca. 1918 (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress: American National Red Cross Collection)

Happy Birthday, Frederick Law Olmsted

Happy birthday to Frederick Law Olmsted, born April 26, 1822.

Olmsted is often referred to as the “father of landscape architecture in America,” and is best known for New York’s Central Park, which he co-designed with architect and landscape designer Calvert Vaux.

Frederick Law Olmsted and daughter Marion at Biltmore
Frederick Law Olmsted and daughter Marion Olmsted near the French Broad River at Biltmore, ca. 1895. (Photo courtesy of the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.)

Each April, we honor Olmsted’s work as the designer of the artful landscape surrounding Biltmore House.

Envisioning Biltmore

Olmsted knew William Henry Vanderbilt, George Vanderbilt’s father, when they both lived on Staten Island, and the designer had already worked on several Vanderbilt family projects when George Vanderbilt approached him in 1888 to advise on the first 2,000 acres of North Carolina property he’d already purchased.

Mountain views at Biltmore
Mountain views from Biltmore House

“Now I have brought you here to examine it and tell me if I have been doing anything very foolish,” Vanderbilt reportedly told Olmsted.

After visiting Vanderbilt’s acreage in Asheville, North Carolina, Olmsted gave his young client a frank assessment of the property:

“The soil seems to be generally poor. The woods are miserable, all the good trees having again and again been culled out and only the runts left. The topography is most unsuitable for anything that can properly be called park scenery. My advice would be to make a small park in which you look from your house, make a small pleasure ground and gardens; farm your river bottoms chiefly and…keep and fatten livestock with a view to manure and…make the rest a forest.”

Collaboration with Richard Morris Hunt

Plans for both Biltmore House and its surrounding landscape changed in 1889 when Vanderbilt and architect Richard Morris Hunt toured France together and the scale of Vanderbilt’s new estate expanded.

Archival photo of workers on the Approach Road to Biltmore House
Photo caption: The Biltmore Company.

Olmsted wrote that he was nervous, not sure how to “merge stately architectural work with natural or naturalistic landscape work.” But the architect and landscape designer worked together “without a note of discord,” and Olmsted biographer Witold Rybczynki says that the landscape architect achieved something completely original at Biltmore: the first combination of French and English landscape designs.

Designing a living masterpiece

Transitions between formal and natural gardens were important, as was the use of native plants, small trees and large shrubs, and color and texture year-round.

View of the Approach Road in spring
The Approach Road, which Olmsted designed to achieve a “sensation passing through the remote depths of a deep forest,” only to have “the view of the Residence, with its orderly dependencies, to break suddenly, fully upon one.” Photo credit: The Biltmore Company.

Biltmore would prove to be Olmsted’s last design. As he approached the end of his work on the estate, he said “It is a great work of peace we are engaged in and one of these days we will all be proud of our parts in it.”

He said Biltmore was “the most permanently important public work” of his career. More than 125 years later, we continue to benefit from his vision.

Experience Biltmore Blooms

Spring is a wonderful season to experience the mature landscape that Olmsted envisioned. Plan a visit now during Biltmore Blooms, our annual celebration of spring.


Featured image: Portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted by John Singer Sargent

Perfect Pairings: Red Wine and Chocolate at Biltmore

If you’re looking for a match made in heaven, look no farther than the Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting offered daily at Biltmore’s Winery.

How it works

“Pairing red wines with chocolates is an exciting way to discover nuances in both flavors,” said Les Norman, one of several knowledgeable Winery hosts who guide guests through the tasting.

Biltmore host for Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting
Biltmore Winery host Les Norman guides guests through the Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting

“Biltmore has partnered with French Broad Chocolates to provide several different delectable chocolates to pair with some of our premium Biltmore wines,” Les said. “In some cases, this local artisan chocolate company that specializes in bean-to-bar products has created a new flavor to match specific characteristics in a certain wine.”

Pouring red wines for the Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting
Pouring Biltmore red wines for the Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting

Getting started

Les likes to begin the tasting with a bit of background about Biltmore Winery and the award-winning wines handcrafted there. He offers guests a fascinating glimpse into the estate’s vineyards, production methods, and winemaking philosophy under the direction of Winemaker Sharon Fenchak.

Biltmore red wines and chocolates
Enjoy our Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting featuring premium Biltmore wines and artisan chocolate truffles from French Broad Chocolates

Once he sets the scene, Les describes the process of tasting wines, and has participants take a fun jellybean “test” to better understand how smell and taste affect sensory perceptions.

Pairing red wines and chocolates

“Now we’re ready to pair our red Biltmore wines with chocolates!” Les declares.

Les makes sure guests take time to savor the bouquet of each wine and understand its flavor profile as they taste the possibilities.

He offers interesting details about viscosity and alcohol content, effortlessly blending his extensive knowledge of wines with the delightful pairings.

Glass of Biltmore red wine and a chocolate truffle
A fresh raspberry truffle pairs perfectly with our Antler Hill Zinfandel Rockpile 2017

The tasting continues with amazing pairings of some of our premium red wines with exceptional chocolate truffles crafted by locally owned French Broad Chocolates.

Some truffles work well with several of the wines, so be sure to save a sip or two in each glass!

Discover the delights of red wine and chocolate

Biltmore Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting at the Winery
Biltmore Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting at the Winery

Our Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting is offered daily at the Winery at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. The cost is $55 per person, and capacity is limited to 10 guests for each one-hour event.

Advance reservations are strongly recommended for these popular daily tastings. To reserve, you must have a daytime ticket, a Biltmore Annual Pass, or an overnight stay booked at one of our properties. Guests must be 21 years of age and older with a valid ID to attend this or any other specialty wine experience.

To reserve your spot, call 1800-543-2961 or visit any Guest Services location on the estate.

Highlights From Our 2019 Vineyard Harvest

In 2019, Biltmore’s vineyard produced 177.5 tons of grapes on approximately 45 acres of mature vitis vinifera vines—that’s almost double last year’s output.

Biltmore vineyard supervisor Philip Oglesby
Biltmore vineyard supervisor Philip Oglesby

“Harvest began on August 22, and that’s the earliest start I remember in more than 20 years,” said Philip Oglesby, Vineyard Supervisor. “We picked until October 11, and the weather cooperated with long, hot, dry days that allowed the grapes to mature to their full potential.”  

With an average yield of more than four tons per acre, our 2019 harvest can be considered one of the best in recent memory.

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

Quantity and quality

In addition to the quantity, the quality of fruit produced in 2019 was outstanding. Weather played an important role in the process as relatively mild spring temperatures gave way to the kind of hot, dry summer conditions that create earlier-than-normal ripening times.

Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina
Grapes for our Biltmore Reserve wines are grown at the estate or selected from local partners

“As always, we look forward to the fine wines that will be handcrafted following the harvest—especially our Biltmore® Reserve wines that are created from estate-grown grapes,” Philip said. “This special designation represents our finest local vintages and our continued commitment to our agricultural heritage.”

Highlights from Biltmore’s vineyards: 

  • Cabernet Franc                                                         37 tons on 8.2 acres
  • Cabernet Sauvignon                                              32 tons on 10.2 acres
  • Chardonnay                                                            103 tons on 25 acres
  • Merlot  5.5 tons on 1.2 acres

Total: 177.5 tons on 44.6 acres

Highlights from our partner vineyards

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

Washington:

Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak selected approximately 160 tons of grapes from the state of Washington (America’s second largest producer of wine grapes), with average brix (measurement for the number of grams of sugar present per 100 grams of liquid) around 25, which is comparable to last year.

  • September was very rainy and a hard freeze in early October preventing the grapes from ripening further.
  • Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petite Verdot, and Tempranillo.
  • Increased selection by 12% compared to 2018.
Ripe red grapes in Biltmore's vineyard
As the grapes ripen in our vineyards, the fruit must be protected from uninvited guests such as robins, geese, and turkeys

California:

Sharon selected approximately 25 different varietals from multiple growing regions throughout the state with an average brix of 23, which was slightly higher than 2018. 

  • Arroyo Seco, CA
    • Approximately 18,000 acres located along the central coast in Monterey County.
    • Cold winter, mild-but-wet spring, and a few summertime heat spikes left grapes with a little more hang-time and a later harvest by about 2–3 weeks.
    • Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Mendocino County, CA
    • North coast; 14, 512 acres includes 10 different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) with very diverse climates.
    • Wet spring and late bud break gave way to moderate weather for most of the growing season; yields were light-to-average, with good fruit quality for the vintage.
    • Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
  • Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, CA
    • About 15,000 acres of vineyards; known for cool-climate grapes.
    • Heavy rain in late winter and a wet spring led to a moderate yield with a good and healthy crop.
    • Varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel
    • We selected about 120 tons of fruit from the region, with the majority being Pinot Noir, of which about half will be handcrafted to become Vanderbilt Reserve wines.
Pouring Biltmore wine into a glass
Tempranillo is a great way to spice up your wine selections

Savor Biltmore Wines

Whether you’re visiting the estate and enjoying complimentary tastings at our Winery or stocking up on your favorite varietals in your neighborhood or online, we invite you to savor our award-winning wines today!

Explore Biltmore Estate Limited Release Wines

For our Biltmore Estate Limited Release series, winemaker Sharon Fenchak carefully crafts each one with outstanding grapes sourced from partner vineyards in California and Washington.

Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak in the Barrel Room at the Winery
Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak in the Barrel Room at the Winery

“When I discover exceptional grapes from one of our west coast growers, it inspires me to create distinctive wines for our Limited Release series,” Sharon said.

She noted that the Limited Release wines are usually based on smaller amounts of fruit, and that gives her production team an opportunity to bring out the qualities of the varietal.

96 Points: Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Malbec

Enjoy Biltmore Estate Limited Release Wines
Enjoy award-winning Biltmore Estate Limited Release Wines like our Malbec

Dark chocolate-covered cherries, hints of cocoa, and violets are the dramatic opening scents of our outstanding Biltmore Estate Limited Release Malbec, which just scored 96 points and a double gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition.

The varietal originated in France and rose to its current popularity in Argentina and California. As dark as crushed berries in the glass, our Malbec is rich, fruit-forward, and a bit spicy with lingering tannins that pair perfectly with grilled meat, kebabs, and andouille sausage.

It’s also a surprisingly good partner for smoked cheeses and vegetarian fare like mushroom ragout, Portobello burgers, and tempeh dishes. As delicious as it is now, it offers good aging potential—if you can stand to wait!

91 Points: Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Tempranillo

Most of the world’s Tempranillo is grown in Spain where it is believed to have originated, but this earthy red wine is rapidly gaining a following around the globe.

“Tempranillo has a lot of personality,” said Sharon. “Ours is full-bodied and fruit-forward with earthy aromas, rich dried fig flavors, and lingering tannins—just what you’d expect in a classic barrel-aged version of this varietal.”

Because of its excellence, our Biltmore Estate Limited Release Tempranillo was recently awarded 91 points and a gold medal by the Beverage Testing Institute. This hearty wine is a great match for beef, lamb curry, and pork.

Explore all Biltmore Estate® Limited Release wines

Pouring Biltmore wine into a glass
Tempranillo is a great way to spice up your wine selections

In addition to these two award-winning varietals, enjoy other wines in our Limited Release series: Biltmore Estate Limited Release Chenin Blanc, Biltmore Estate Limited Release Gewürztraminer, Biltmore Estate Dry Riesling, Biltmore Estate Limited Release Merlot, Biltmore Estate Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc.

Purchase Biltmore Wines online now

Biltmore Estate Limited Release Merlot on a holiday table
Purchase any of our wines–including the Limited Release series–at the estate or online

Whether you stick to your favorites or explore any of our unique varietals, you can stock up on our award-winning wines close to home through our Retail Locator or shop online.

From Gardener’s Cottage to Gallery

One of the first residences completed on the estate, the Gardener’s Cottage served as the home of Biltmore’s first head gardener. This historic house was designed by the firm of Richard Morris Hunt, who served as architect of Biltmore House.

Gardener's Cottage
The Gardener’s Cottage is located within Biltmore’s Walled Garden, adjacent to the Conservatory.

Today, the Gardener’s Cottage is transformed into our For Your Home Gallery. Honoring the Vanderbilt’s legacy of timeless style and gracious living, our gallery offers a curated selection of our licensed products—exclusively designed for Biltmore and inspired by various elements of the property.

Interior shot of Gallery
From the prints on the walls to the fine details in the furniture, all gallery items are inspired by the estate.

The Inspiration & Design Process

It all starts with a visit to the estate. Our industry-leading manufacturing partners send their distinguished designers to seek inspiration from Biltmore—from the architecture and archives to the historic gardens and grounds.

Inspiration & Design process
Our Imperial Dragon Lamp was inspired by a dragon-fish fountainhead along the Pergola.

The designers then process their insights to create a rendering that captures their vision for the product. This rendering may go through many versions to ensure the piece is functional, appealing, and suited for today’s homes and lifestyles. Renderings receive Biltmore’s stamp of approval prior to production.

Interior of Gallery
Take your time as you stroll through this historic home, soaking in each stunningly unique feature.

The final result is a beautiful furnishing that has a unique connection to Biltmore and meets the highest craftsmanship and quality standards. We invite you to visit the estate and discover these exclusive items amid their source of inspiration: America’s Largest Home® and its 8,000-acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty.

Outdoor furniture in front of Biltmore House
Luxurious outdoor furniture with the magnificent façade of Biltmore House.

Can’t visit right now? Select items are also available for purchase at biltmoreshop.com/gallery.

Feature image: An archival image of the historic Gardener’s Cottage from the Biltmore House collection.