What is the most visited winery in the U.S.?
A. Kendall Jackson, Sonoma, CA
B. Biltmore Winery, Ashville NC
C. Sutter Home Winery, Napa Valley, CA
D. Brotherhood Winery, Hudson Valley, NY
The Biltmore Winery is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the estate of George Vanderbilt, grandson of famed industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt. Officially opened to Vanderbilt’s friends and family on Christmas Day, 1895, the Biltmore Estate was donated to the public by his daughter in 1930. Today, approximately 1.5 million visitors come to the estate annually to walk the more than four acres of floor space, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The estate reports that slightly fewer than half of those visitors make it over to the winery and tasting room, located in the original 1900 dairy barn. Winemaker Sharon Fenchak notes, ”Since we’re in the Southeast, sometimes we are the first winery people ever visit.” Vanderbilt’s grandson, William A.V. Cecil, planted vineyards with French-American hybrid grapes on the estate in the early 1970s, and opened the winery in 1985. Today, wines are produced from 150 acres of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit manseng from the property as well as grapes sourced from the West Coast.