What’s the first thing that you think of when you hear the word ‘Tennessee’? It’s probably Graceland, whiskey, country music and Elvis… but not wine, right? Well, you’re right if you think about the first four but you’d be wrong if you didn’t think about wine in relation to this state.
Although the wine industry in Tennessee is growing slowly, it is very much there and producing wines that win major awards. Have a look at some of our top picks of wineries in TN.
How Many Wineries Are In Tennessee?
With more than 69 wineries and vineyards, seven total wine trails as well as 1 000 acres of vineyard space, Tennessee offers memorable experiences and offers picturesque destinations to visitors and locals who are interested in Tennessee wineries.
The growing of grapes in Tennessee went from being a significant cash crop in the late 1800s to being almost non-existent from prohibition until the early 1980s. As winegrowers have moved on from tobacco and discovered how to better cope with Tennessee’s hot and humid climate, grape growing is again becoming a significant cash crop.
There are now more than forty Tennessee wineries and nearly all provide wine tasting opportunities. Wineries in TN are primarily concentrated in the northern part of the state extending in an arc from Memphis, through Nashville and then to Knoxville.
Best Wineries in Tennessee
Here are a number of the best wineries in Tennessee.
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Hillside Winery brings the vineyards of Tuscany to the Great Smoky Mountains! Featuring Italian-style and celebratory wines. It has always been the first choice of Smoky Mountain locals. From more traditional wines like Sangiovese to their best-selling Black and Blue, to the award-winning Muscadine Mist, this winery in Tennessee truly has something for not only every person but every occasion, too.
Tastings are free to all those who are over 21 years of age who have a valid photo ID. This gem in the Tennessee wineries bouquet is open from 10 am to 7 pm, seven days a week.
Old Millington Winery
Old Millington Vineyard and Winery is a quite small country operation which is located around 23 km north of downtown Memphis in Millington, Tennessee. Created in 2000, they grow Chambourcin grapes for their red wines.
Their wines have delightful names such as Big River Red, Maggie’s Rose and Christmas Cranberry. These have won multiple awards between 2004 and 2015. This outstanding example of wineries in Tennessee is open 10 am to 6 pm on Wednesday to Saturday. Old Millington Winery is open on Sundays between 1 and 6pm. They are closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Delta Blues Winery
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The Delta Blues Winery story began with friends visiting wineries across the USA until they could open up one best wineries in Tennessee themselves. They named it Delta Blues as they feel it encompasses all the best that the Delta offers the people, the charm, the sophistication, the architecture, the land, the food as well as the music of the South. Everything we love so much. Thus the Delta Blues Winery rose from the fertile soil of the Mississippi River.
They offer wines across the broad spectrum, from dry white and red to semi-dry and sweet. Wine tastings are presented during regular hours or by appointment. Wine tours are also available as time permits. Groups of ten or more are encouraged to call ahead and make reservations.
Delta Blue Winery’s tasting room is the perfect location to meet up with friends or come and meet new ones and really enjoy the afternoon or evening. And when weather permits they have a number of beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy. In addition, Delta Blue Winery has snacks for sale and beer.
The winery is open on:
- Wednesday and Thursday from 12 – 6pm,
- Friday and Saturday from 12 – 7pm, and
- Sunday from 12 – 6pm.
They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
De Terra Winery
De Terra Vineyards and Winery sits on 34 acres of land and is nestled between a beautiful country farmhouse and quite neat rows of grapevines. Owners Jerry and Teresa Pentz opened the doors to this prime example of wineries in Tennessee in October 2014, after developing their technique and vines for 10 years.
The grapes utilised for their wine are grown on the Pentz’s family farm. The exception is the concord grape, which is imported from Pennsylvania or upstate New York. The reason for this is the challenge one would have to go through to cultivate concord grapes in this area as compared to the profit one would receive in doing so. This is not to say that growing any of the other wine grapes in this region is any easier.
What Wine Is Made In Tennessee?
Approximately 30 types of grapes can be found in Tennessee. These include well-known wine grapes, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, in addition to the state’s most popular grapes – Concord and Muscadine. Tennessee is a southern state, so they’re known for their sweet wines, which is not surprising since they have sweet tea with lunch. But they are starting to develop some great dry wines too.
In fact, Tennessee vintners have created some award-winning wines in the last number of years. Beachaven Vineyards and Winery in Clarksville won top honours for its Syrah at the 2011 Wines of the South competition which was hosted by the University of Tennessee.
Other Tennessee winners in the field of wineries from 14 states included Sugarland, Stonehaus, Arrington, Old Millington, Mountain Valley, Reedy Creek, Century, Grinder’s, Beans Creek, Keg Springs, Amber Falls, Mountainview, Blue Slip, Hillside and Apple Barn.
The growth of agritourism in the state definitely has had a massive influence on the growth of the Tennessee wine industry. As we said in the opening of this article, the growth has been slow, however, it is steady, which is most important.
We can most definitely expect to see a lot more award-winning wines coming out of the Tennessee wineries in the future.