Challenges and Successes: How Biltmore Built a Wine Brand
The first challenge the Wine Company faced was growing grapes. In 1971, Mr. Cecil planted muscadine grapes on the estate and later French-American hybrids. The experiment resulted in poor quality, so he turned his eye to Vitis vinifera, the European grape species. Experts across the industry believed vinifera grapes could not be grown in Western North Carolina. However, Mr. Cecil was determined to prove them wrong.
Biltmore led the charge for experimentation and research in the North Carolina wine industry. In the 1970s, little was known about producing wine on a commercial scale. Biltmore made inroads that later benefitted other state wineries and wine growers by reaching out to experts at NC State University and the University of California at Davis.
With one challenge met, another opportunity arose in the form of building a Winery where estate guests could taste and learn more about Biltmore Wines. The estate’s historic Biltmore Dairy barn was remodeled and transformed into a state-of-the-art Winery with production facilities, a tasting room, and wine shop.
Located in Asheville, N.C., Biltmore was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, America’s largest home is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau, exhibiting the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore Estate encompasses more than 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Among the many attractions on the estate is the nation’s most visited winery, started in 1977 in a converted dairy barn. In keeping with the Vanderbilt tradition of entertaining in style and embodying the agricultural legacy of its founder, Biltmore produces award-winning wines using fruit harvested from its 94-acre vineyard as well as from partners in N.C. and other premium growing regions. Biltmore ranks in the top 1% of the U.S. wine business and produces more than 170,000 cases of wine annually. To learn more about Biltmore Wines and to access a regional wine-buying guide, please visit www.biltmorewines.com.