Fall is definitely in the air! When visiting the Smoky Mountains this time of year you will start to notice the cool, crisp mornings and gentle breeze gliding through the trees. It won’t be long until the leaves start changing from green to those beautiful hues of red, yellow, and orange bringing with them the thousands of visitors who flock here just to take in the view. Along with the cool temps and pretty leaves comes harvest season for the Tennessee grape farmers – and we just happen to be right at the center of it! Between the months of August and October is one of the absolute best times to travel the Rocky Top Wine Trail, especially if you want to learn all about how we make authentic, Tennessee wine using local fruits. During this time, the winemakers will crush and press betw
een 1.1 million and 1.8 million pounds of Tennessee grown fruit to be made into the tasty wines found along the trail.
We have already received over one hundred thousand pounds of fruit that will be used for our wines. On the trail you may be able to catch one of the winemakers filling the tanks with grapes that have just been pressed and de-steamed. Walking through the wine-making area, on tour, the scent of freshly pressed grapes is everywhere.
Mountain Valley Winery and Hillside Winery are the two main production facilities that receive all of the fresh picked fruits from local farmers. They work very close with the winemakers during this time of year, as both of them have to measure the grapes for perfection. The farmer’s technique that determines perfect grapes are the sweetness, ripeness, and the color of the seed of a grape. Our winemakers’ need to measure the Brix, Tartaric acidity, and pH level to verify the grapes
are good for their wines. Together they find the perfect timing to pick the grapes at the peak of ripeness.
September Wine Harvest Tours
The Rocky Top Wine Trail has some of the most entertaining tour guides in the industry! They not only teach you about the wine-making processes but also make sure you have a good time. Who knows, you might even be able to get a tour by our master winemaker Doug. The best part of the tour during this time is trying the grape juice while it’s still in the steel tank fermenting. No guarantee this will happen, but you never know!
Come on by now and don’t miss out on all that the Smoky Mountain grape harvest has to offer.