Behind-the-Scenes Guided Winery Tour
Red Wine & Chocolate Tasting
1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six”
The Winery at Biltmore is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015! A guided tour and tasting at the Biltmore Winery are included in your admission ticket to the estate. Whether you're interested in tasting wine, learning more about the art and science of winemaking, or just relaxing with some delicious food and wine in a beautiful setting, don't miss the Winery! The main winery entrance is in Antler Hill Village. It's adjacent to the Inn at Biltmore Estate and the new Village Hotel.
From Antler Hill Village, begin your winery experience by taking a stroll underground through the historic cellars of the former Biltmore Dairy to an impressive tasting room where gracious wine hosts guide you through a complimentary wine tasting of robust reds, refreshing rosés, and crisp whites. Even grape juice is available so everyone can enjoy.
Biltmore has grown and tested numerous varietals. Six of them – Riesling, Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot – have proven to be well-suited for western North Carolina terroir and the estate's microclimate.
Discover gourmet foods, cooking accessories, and other treats for the palate in the Wine Shop.
Dining at the Winery
Enjoy a wonderful meal at the Bistro at the Winery. Although the dishes reflect the flavors of our Blue Ridge Mountain retreat, you could be forgiven for thinking you've stepped into a café somewhere in Provence or Tuscany. Gather around the open kitchen inside the Bistro and watch chefs at work, creating fresh dishes for you with food grown right on the estate.
Discover a rare 1913 Stevens-Duryea Model “C-Six” seven-passenger touring car on display at the Winery. This car is the only one purchased by George Vanderbilt that remains in The Biltmore Company’s collection, and is believed to be one of only 10 known existing in the world today.
Special Winery Tours
Tucked in the back of the Wine Shop you'll find the Premium Tasting Counter, where you may sample reserve and sparkling wines for a nominal cost.
Vine to Wine Tour
On this exclusive tour, discover how Biltmore grapes become award-winning wines. Visit areas on the estate not normally seen by guests, including a trip to the vineyards and a walking production tour. Sample wine tastings conclude with a grand tasting. Saturday & Sunday 1:45 PM. Purchase tickets ($85/person) by 11 AM day of tour.
Red Wine and Chocolate Seminar
Be guided through a tasting of red wines paired with chocolate truffles. Learn about the red wine making process and why chocolate and red wine are considered a natural pairing. Tickets ($20/person) must be purchased prior to scheduled event. The 45-minute program is offered daily at 2 and 4 PM.
Biltmore Bubbles Tour
Experience the entire process of making sparkling wine, from grape selection to bottling. Finish with an exclusive tasting of each of our méthode champenoise sparkling wines. You’ll be able to impress your friends with your extensive knowledge of all things sparkling. Offered Friday-Sunday at 5:45 PM. Tickets $18/person.
Go to the Biltmore Estate website for current deals and to purchase discounted tickets online.
Want to see another Winery? See the Top 10 Wineries near Asheville.
Biltmore Wine Tasting Tips
- Feel free to ask your host questions about the wines and wine tasting.
- Wine tasting is a social activity, so feel free to talk about what you see, smell, and taste.
- Notice the clarity of good wines as you hold them to the light.
- Place your nose at the rim of the glass and inhale deeply to catch the wine's "bouquet."
- Hold the wine on your tongue a few seconds; then whistle in to take advantage of additional flavors released by exposure to the air.
- Notice the more full-bodied taste of red wines and the aftertaste that lingers in your mouth, a sure sign of a good wine.
- Most of all, have fun!
Vineyards are lined with grass row middles to prevent erosion. They use organic fungicides, such as sulfur and copper, whenever possible and irrigate vines with water from nearby Long Valley Lake. The Winery is powered in part by a six-acre, 1.2-megawatt solar panel system. Grape byproducts such as stems and must are used for mulching and compost, and retired barrels are cut in half and reused as planters across the estate and repurposed into cork recycling barrels wine racks to display our wines at retailers.
Cork forests are a sustainable, regenerating product which make natural corks the most sustainable wine closure on the market. The cork forests are threatened by the influx of alternate wine closures such as screw caps and synthetic corks. Cork forests have a large positive environmental impact, so keeping them sustainable is important to us. You can recycle your cork at Biltmore's gift shops, winery and restaurants.
More About the Biltmore Winery History
The genesis for a winery at Biltmore actually began more than 75 years prior to the estate’s first vineyard plantings in 1971, with the property’s creator, George W. Vanderbilt (1862-1914). An avid world traveler, George was also a thoughtful collector of books, museum-quality art, antiques and fine wines. During his forays abroad, Mr. Vanderbilt would often purchase cases of fine wine, bringing them back to his 250-room chateau to share with guests in his own home.
His wine purveyor, Alexander Morten, was also known for his excellent palate and was a worthy advisor and provisioner for the Vanderbilt lifestyle. Knowing that George Vanderbilt collected and enjoyed fine wines in his stately home – and served them to his family, friends and guests – was the underlying inspiration decades later for the planting of vineyards and the creation of Biltmore Winery. When William A.V. Cecil, George’s grandson, first claimed his heritage, he already had an estate winery in his sights. A winery, he felt, was a natural extension of Biltmore’s agricultural legacy and mission of self sustainability. It was also a fitting homage to his grandfather’s love of wine, and his legacy for gracious hospitality.
French-American hybrids were planted initially, with vinifera plantings following a few years later and when vineyard experiments indicated a wine operation was feasible, Cecil did just as his grandfather would have done—he sought the best possible help available. He traveled to France and hired a veteran winemaker as a consultant to help get his new enterprise going.
Selected for the job was Philippe Jourdain of Provence, a winemaker of the European school who, as a sixth generation winemaster, had been involved in the winemaking business all of his life. Not only had Jourdain operated a family vineyard, he was also a respected teacher of viticulture and oenology, having taught at the Lycee Agricole in Carcassonne.
In 1979, two years after Jourdain began working with the estate, Biltmore sold its first bottle of wine. Pleased with the results, Cecil convinced Jourdain to become the estate’s first official winemaker. Under Jourdain’s guidance, Biltmore began the serious cultivation of vinifera grapes, the finer quality European varietals, and began phasing out the French-American hybrids it previously depended upon. The original hybrids have since been replaced entirely with the European varietals.
Although the hybrids have a greater yield—averaging six tons of grapes to the acre—Cecil wanted a better quality wine than the hybrids offered. Making the switch was not without its challenges, however, and it took the combined talents of Jourdain, Winemaker Bernard Delille and vineyard staff to cultivate the sensitive vinifera in the unique climate and soils of Western North Carolina. When Jourdain retired in 1995, Delille was the best candidate to become Biltmore’s next winemaster.