In 1971, George Vanderbilt’s grandson William Cecil first experimented with winemaking at Biltmore at his new North Carolina vineyard. From a harvest of French-American hybrid grapes planted within sight of Biltmore House, the inaugural vintage was bottled in the estate Conservatory. Mr. Cecil continued his effort to achieve his dream of making wine at Biltmore by moving the vineyard to the west side of the estate and expanding to 150 acres of vinifera grapes. In 1977, Mr. Cecil traveled to
France to persuade 6th-generation French wine master Philippe Jourdain to oversee the development of Biltmore wines and to help build the future of what would become the Biltmore Estate Wine Company.