A Taste of Bordeaux in the Blue Ridge

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the hillsides of Europe are separated by thousands of miles. But spend a few days in Hendersonville, NC — visiting wineries, sipping bold, dry reds and crisp whites, and admiring rolling vineyards — and you might think you’re on the other side of the Atlantic.

Hendersonville’s Crest of the Blue Ridge AVA received federal designation in 2019. It’s become our state’s newest wine country, with seven wineries adding to a statewide total that now tops 200. The area has long been known for agriculture, with the apple crop consistently ranking among the top 20 in the nation. Conditions that make Hendersonville a prime apple location — warm days and cool nights paired with the right soil composition and humidity — also work well for growing grapes.

Click here for a full list of vineyards in Hendersonville’s Crest of the Blue Ridge Wine Country.

When they opened Stone Ashe Vineyards in 2020, owners Craig and Tina Little wanted to replicate the winery experience of Bordeaux, France, with steep slopes, a moderate climate and comparable soil conditions. They found their perfect terroir on a 2,700-foot mountain just outside Hendersonville. Vines were cloned from legacy vines in France and carefully planted by the Littles.

“The idea was to take clones that were used to the same climate in which they had grown for a thousand years in Bordeaux and put them in a similar climate here,” Craig Little says. “We want to educate people on North Carolina wines, showing we can grow quality grapes here for remarkable wine that’s on par with other regions.”

Across the Crest of the Blue Ridge, vineyards produce high-quality classic wines from European vinifera and French-American hybrid grapes, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Riesling and Vidal Blanc. Hendersonville’s newest winery, Souther Williams, has reached deeper into the European continent with varietals such as Blaufränkisch, Gruner Veltliner, Regent and Saperavi.

To learn more about North Carolina’s newest wine region, go to www.VisitHendersonvilleNC.org.