Our Story

“We have a river. We have a chateau. We have the land. We have no vineyard. Every French chateau has a vineyard.” – William A.V. Cecil

Old piece of paper with writing on it

Early 1900s

Wine takes root at Biltmore.

George Vanderbilt’s love of collecting extends to filling his wine cellar.

Early 1970s

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.

Late 1970s

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.

Mr. Vanderbilt talking to a construction worker about the winery


The Winery's first bottling.

Biltmore Winery bottled its first wines - 1983 vintages of Chateau Biltmore Merlot and Chateau 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 standing around barrels


Bernard Delille joins Biltmore.

Bernard Delille, a native of France with a master’s degree in biochemistry, joins Biltmore as assistant winemaker. Meet Bernard


Bernard Delille becomes Winemaster.

Philippe retires, and Bernard is promoted to Winemaster and Vice President of the Winery.

Sharon Fenchak in front of wine barrels


Sharon Fenchak joins Biltmore.

She has a master’s degree in food science and fell in love with winemaking while living in Vicenza, Italy. Meet Sharon


Sales continue to grow.

Biltmore Estate Wine Company sells one million bottles of wine annually.

wine bottles in the bottling plant


Sharon is promoted to winemaker.

Her 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.

Antler Hill Village at sunset


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.

Seal graphic of Anniversary with years of operation

Outside of Winery facing the front


Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the country.

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 20 states and direct-shipped to over 35 states.