In 2022, Chapman Hill Winery was both honored and delighted to release their inaugural Estate Wine, Cabernet Franc. The grapes for the first Chapman Hill Estate Wine were harvested in 2021 and the limited edition released to members of The Chapman Hill Cellar Club a year later. The Cabernet Franc grape vines were planted in 2017 despite the fact the climate of the Appalachian foothills is typically not hospitable to European grapes because of extreme temperature swings and annual rainfall amounts.
However, as Chapman Hill’s winemaker explains, there is ‘a sweet spot’ for viticulture down the steep hill where the winery is perched.
“We have a nice little micro-climate on the side of the hill that faces northeast and gets morning sun and much of the year, all day sun, which, coupled with a constant breeze, dries the leaves. And, it’s a fairly steep hill so when the cold air hits, it sinks lower down into the valley.”
The Cabernet Franc grape was successfully harvested in 2021 and pressed into a small batch for the first Estate Wine for the East Tennessee winery the next fall. A second harvest of Sauvignon Blanc grapes in 2022 has a planned Estate Wine release in 2023.