Tucked away in the heart of the Smoky Mountains lies Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Its stunning natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and flavorful wines make it a local gem. Gatlinburg has a variety of wine-tasting experiences that are sure to captivate and expand your palate. Family-owned vineyards and bustling wine festivals provide the best way to uncork a Gatlinburg wine tasting.
The Rocky Top Wine Trail
One of the best ways to explore a broad selection of the city’s top wineries is the Rocky Top Wine Trail. It isn’t an actual trail but rather a delightful journey through Gatlinburg, Sevierville, and Pigeon Forge’s wine culture. Stops along the trail feature local wineries, each with a unique winemaking approach. Tour the winemaking facilities, learn about the wine-making process, and, of course, enjoy free tastings at each stop. Remember to pick up a passport at your first winery visit and get it stamped at each location. This isn’t just a keepsake. If you manage to visit all five wineries and collect stamps from each, you’ll receive a free souvenir wine glass.
The Rocky Top Wine Trail is best enjoyed over the course of a few days. Not only does this allow you to savor each winery’s offerings, but it also promotes responsible tasting. So, make sure to pace yourself and don’t try to pack it all in one day!
Part of the Gatlinburg Wine Trail, Sugarland Cellars stocks a selection of wines crafted from locally sourced fruits. Each wine on their roster is named after a significant historical figure, key location, or intriguing fact related to the Smoky Mountains. Find traditional varieties such as Pinot Noir and Malbec, or unique loganberry wine (Elkmont), and 100% Cherry wine (Cherry-Kee).
Sugarland Cellars has a unique tasting bar, set almost in the center of their winemaking area. You get an immersive experience while savoring different wines and while learning about the world of winemaking. Each season, Sugarland Cellars releases a limited edition wine featuring local artist Robert A. Tino to raise funds to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Smoky Mountain Winery
Smoky Mountain Winery claims to be East Tennessee’s oldest winery. The winery’s unique medieval facade makes it hard to miss. There is a selection of 20 delicious wines offered in the tasting room and a gift shop to pursue afterward. The pourers are knowledgeable and happy to let you try as many wines as you’d like!
Little Bear Winery
Little Bear Winery offers a playful and relaxed wine-tasting experience. Their colorful selection of Sangrias and frozen wines are as fun to explore as they are to sip. Their open-air patio offers a fantastic spot to savor a glass while enjoying the surrounding mountain views.
Gatlinburg Wine Cellar
Known for its sweet, Southern-style wines, Gatlinburg Wine Cellar produces a range of flavorful and unique wines. Don’t miss their famous home-made “Cotton Candy” wine. It redefines the meaning of dessert wine!
Mountain Valley Winery
Mountain Valley Winery specializes in sweet and semi-sweet fruit wines, earning them a loyal following. Be sure to taste their famous Rhubarb wine during your visit. This wine is a delicate balance of tart and sweet, beautifully capturing the essence of rhubarb in a bottle. Mountain Valley Winery has a loyal following of wine enthusiasts who frequently return for a taste of this unexpected delight.
Gatlinburg Wine Festivals
For an immersive experience, plan your visit around one of Gatlinburg’s annual wine festivals. The Gatlinburg Wine Festival, held in the spring, includes the Gatlinburg Wine Tour event and the Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Wine Fest. That’s a double whammy! The festival also offers the opportunity to taste some local culinary delights.
Bootleggers Homemade Wine
While the name may hint at Prohibition-era mischief, Bootleggers Homemade Wine is all about down-home, small-batch winemaking. Their flavors pack a mighty punch. Remember to try their smooth-tasting Blackberry Wine!
Tennessee Homemade Wines
This family-run winery uses locally grown fruits in its wines. Stop by Tennessee Homemade Wines for a laid-back tasting experience, and be sure to sample their famous ‘Blueberry’ table wine. Looking for something a bit more exotic? Tennessee Homemade Wines’ Experimental Series is a tasty range of mixed flavors. Some of the standouts include Raspberry Truffle, Mountain Chocolate, and Pineapple Rosé.
Appalachian Sippin’ Creams at Ole Smoky Moonshine
While not precisely wine, this Gatlinburg favorite is worth a mention. For a delightful change of pace, visit Ole Smoky Moonshine and sample their Appalachian Sippin’ Creams. These cream liqueurs come in flavors like Butter Pecan and Dark Chocolate Coffee. While stronger than wine, they are a sweet treat perfect for sipping.
Wine Shopping in the City
Before wrapping up your Gatlinburg wine journey, you’ll likely want to take home a bottle (or two!) as a tasty souvenir of your visit. Explore the local wine shops for a wide selection of regional wines and find the perfect pick. Many of the aforementioned wineries offer discounts, too!
Gatlinburg is home to a wine-tasting experience that’s sure to delight. From the traditional blends at Smoky Mountain Winery to the playful sips at Little Bear Winery, each stop on the wine trail promises you a unique taste of Appalachian wine.
Venture off the beaten path to Bootleggers Homemade Wine, where small-batch takes center stage. Tap into Tennessee Homemade Wines, where local fruit flavors shine. For a twist, visit Ole Smoky Moonshine’s Appalachian Sippin’ Creams for a dessert-like sip of local liquors. Finally, remember to pick up a bottle from the city’s excellent wine shops to enjoy the flavors of Gatlinburg at home.
In the Smokies, every sip tells a story of the tradition and the people who passionately create these delicious wines. As you explore the many facets of Gatlinburg’s wine scene, appreciate each experience and the warm hospitality that make this city unique. So, raise a glass and toast to the unforgettable wine journey that awaits you in Gatlinburg. Here’s to the memories you’ll make and the flavors you’ll discover — cheers!