Biltmore evokes images of grace and luxury. Today, the name graces many a hotel and resort. However, George Vanderbilt’s original Biltmore Estate, which lay nestled amid the mountains surrounding Asheville, North Carolina, epitomizes the ultimate in beauty and grandeur. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt (architect of Marble House and The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and many other famous structures) and landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead (designer of New York’s Central Park), Biltmore opened its doors on Christmas Eve 1895. Set amid 125,000 acres, Biltmore was and still remains the largest private residence in America. Although now open to the public, Biltmore continues to be home to George Vanderbilt’s descendents. It is quite likely the most stunning and authentically preserved home on the continent. Moreover, it contains a winery and an impeccably situated vineyard of mature vines, which yield some very elegant wines indeed.
For more than three decades, Biltmore has tended a 90-acre vineyard nestled in a sun splashed amphitheater near the Biltmore home. Like Biltmore house, the vineyard is meticulously laid out and tended. A winery was added in 1985 to produce estate bottled wines. Although much of the wine that bears the Biltmore name originates in California, the estate’s North Carolina Chardonnay, Viognier, and Cabernet Sauvignon are made on the property and have become benchmarks by which other eastern wines are measured. As of late, the Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay, vintage Blanc de Blancs Méthode Champenoise, and Viognier have been especially successful, stunning critics and consumers alike with their elegance, flavor, and uncompromising purity.
We believe George Vanderbilt would be proud of what his heirs have been fashioning at the family homestead, and we invite you to partake of their wines, because to sip a glass of Biltmore’s estate wine “is to cross the threshold into a world of hospitality, beauty, and luxury that has remained unchanged for more than a century and is being preserved for many generations to come.” Moreover, given the quality of Biltmore’s recent releases, it is perhaps time to take a serious look at North Carolina wines and perhaps re-evaluate the bias that continues to surround eastern wines.