New Beginnings at Biltmore
“We have a river. We have a château. We have the land. We have no vineyard. Every French château has a vineyard.” – William A.V. Cecil
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Wine takes root at Biltmore.
George Vanderbilt’s love of collecting extends to filling his wine cellar.
William Cecil plants his first vines at Biltmore.
George Vanderbilt’s grandson, William Cecil, envisions the idea of an estate winery that honors the agricultural heritage of his grandfather’s estate. Despite a variety of obstacles, he plants French-American hybrid vines below Biltmore House, and his inaugural vintage is bottled in the Conservatory basement.
Philippe Jourdain becomes Biltmore's first Winemaster.
The vineyards are moved to their current location on the west side of the estate. About 150 acres are planted with vinifera grapes. William Cecil travels to France and hires Philippe Jourdain, a sixth-generation winemaster whose expertise and skills, including his suggestion to plant additional vinifera varietals, are integral in building the future of Biltmore’s Winery.
The Biltmore Estate Wine Company is established.
The Biltmore Estate Wine Company is formally incorporated, helping to realize George Vanderbilt’s original vision of “a self-sustaining entity that thrives on the bounty of the land.” Bill Cecil, son of William Cecil and great-grandson of George Vanderbilt, assumes a leadership role in overseeing the conversion of the original dairy into the new Winery.
The Winery's first bottling.
Biltmore Winery bottled its first wines - 1983 vintages of Château Biltmore Merlot and Château Biltmore Cabernet Sauvignon crafted from North Carolina grapes.
Biltmore Winery opens to the public.
Mr. Cecil calls it “the most historic event since my grandfather had opened his estate to his family on Christmas Day ninety years earlier.”
Bernard Delille joins Biltmore.
Bernard Delille, a native of France with a master’s degree in biochemistry, joins Biltmore as assistant winemaker.
Bernard Delille becomes Winemaker.
Philippe retires, and Bernard is promoted to Winemaker and Vice President of the Winery.
Sharon Fenchak joins Biltmore.
Sharon Fenchak has a master’s degree in food science and fell in love with winemaking while stationed in Vicenza, Italy.
Sales continue to grow.
Biltmore Estate Wine Company sells one million bottles of wine annually.
Sharon is promoted to Winemaker.
Sharon's research in grape-growing technology and wine production methods is a natural complement to Bernard’s traditional and artistic perspective.
Retail distribution expands.
Biltmore Estate Wine Company expands distribution to 10 states.
Biltmore commemorates milestones and new additions.
Biltmore Winery celebrates its 25th anniversary. Antler Hill Village opens to the public.
Biltmore Winery celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The Winery hosts special wine events and releases a 30th Anniversary Red Wine in honor of this exciting milestone.
Sharon becomes Vice President of Wine Production.
Bernard retires and Sharon becomes Winemaker and Vice President of Wine Production.
Biltmore Winery continues to handcraft outstanding wines.
We produce about 150,000 cases of wine annually. Our wines have been honored with countless awards and medals, and are now available in retailers and restaurants in 19 states and direct-shipped to 40 states.