Marked Tree Vineyard: A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Wine Country

Marked Tree Vineyard is a small family-owned winery located in Flat Rock, North Carolina. The vineyard is situated between Mount Pisgah and Tryon Peak on the Eastern Continental Divide, and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Marked Tree's focus is on crafting estate-grown and locally sourced/produced North Carolina wines, and they offer 10 wine varietals made with European vinifera and French-American hybrid grapes.

Visitors to the vineyard can enjoy a tasting experience at their Asheville tasting room, which is open Monday through Thursday from 2-8pm, Friday-Saturday from 1-9pm, and Sunday from 1-7pm. In addition to their tasting room, Marked Tree also has a location in Asheville on Aston Street. The vineyard's grapes include Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Grüner Veltliner, Chardonel, and Vidal Blanc, among others.

Marked Tree Vineyard is known for its unique Eastern European grape varietals, such as Blaufrankisch, Gruner Veltliner, Riesling, Saperavi, Regent, Cabernet Franc, and American hybrid vinifera. The vineyard's wines have received numerous accolades and awards, including a gold medal in the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Southeastern Wine Competition for their 2019 Blaufrankisch. With its picturesque setting and focus on locally sourced wines, Marked Tree Vineyard is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

History of Marked Tree Vineyard

Marked Tree Vineyard is a family-owned vineyard located in Flat Rock, North Carolina. The vineyard was founded by two partners, Tim Parks and Lance Hiatt, who shared a passion for wine. They discovered the 50-acre spot in Flat Rock and saw the potential to turn it into a vineyard.

The name "Marked Tree" was inspired by the odd-shaped trees that were created by Native Americans as guideposts through the wilderness. These trees were bent and shaped to point the way to water, food, and hunting grounds. The partners saw the trees as a symbol of guidance and direction, and thus named their vineyard after them.

The vineyard was established in 2013 and the first vines were planted in 2014. Since then, the vineyard has grown to include over 10,000 vines of various grape varieties. The vineyard is situated at an elevation of 2,300 feet, which provides a unique microclimate that is ideal for growing grapes.

Marked Tree Vineyard is known for its commitment to sustainable farming practices. The vineyard uses cover crops and natural fertilizers to promote soil health and biodiversity. They also use a drip irrigation system to conserve water and minimize waste.

The vineyard offers tours and tastings for visitors to learn about the history of Marked Tree and the changing seasons of the vineyard. The tours take about 30-45 minutes and provide a perfect way to start the day. Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful open vistas and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Location and Climate

Geographical Position

Marked Tree Vineyard is situated atop the Eastern Continental Divide in Flat Rock, North Carolina. The vineyard's geographical position is 35° 18'47.5" N and 82° 21'48.1" W. The vineyard is located in the western part of the state, in Henderson County.

Climate Conditions

The climate conditions in the area are ideal for grape growing. The vineyard is located at an elevation of 2,300 feet, which provides cooler temperatures and a longer growing season. The temperature in the area ranges from 50°F to 80°F during the growing season. The soil in the area is a mix of clay and loam, which is well-draining and provides good root growth.

The area receives an average of 50 inches of rainfall per year, which is well-distributed throughout the growing season. The vineyard's location on the Eastern Continental Divide provides a unique microclimate that is conducive to grape growing. The vineyard is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which provides protection from harsh weather conditions.

The vineyard's climate conditions are ideal for growing a variety of grapes, including Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Riesling. The vineyard's owners, Lance and Tim, have carefully selected the grape varieties that are best suited to the area's climate and soil conditions.

In conclusion, Marked Tree Vineyard's location and climate conditions make it an ideal place for grape growing. The vineyard's unique microclimate, well-draining soil, and cooler temperatures provide the perfect conditions for growing high-quality grapes.

Wine Varieties and Production

Types of Grapes

Marked Tree Vineyard uses European vinifera and French-American hybrid grapes to produce their wines. These grapes are carefully selected to thrive in the rocky, sandy, loam soil and the cool mountainous climate of the region. Some of the grape varietals grown at the vineyard include Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Grüner Veltliner, Chardonel, and Vidal.

Wine Making Process

The wine making process at Marked Tree Vineyard is a combination of traditional and modern techniques. The grapes are hand-picked and sorted before being crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged in oak barrels to develop its unique flavor and aroma. The winery also uses a state-of-the-art bottling line to ensure the quality and consistency of their wines.

Special Editions

Marked Tree Vineyard produces several special edition wines that are only available in limited quantities. These wines are made using the best grapes from the vineyard and are aged in oak barrels for an extended period. Some of the special edition wines include the Reserve Cabernet Franc, the Reserve Petit Verdot, and the Barrel Select Chardonel.

Overall, Marked Tree Vineyard is dedicated to producing high-quality wines that reflect the unique terroir of the region. They use only the best grapes and employ a combination of traditional and modern techniques to create wines that are both delicious and distinctive.

Tasting and Tours

Tasting Experience

Marked Tree Vineyard offers a unique tasting experience for visitors. Guests can choose between an indoor tasting room and an outdoor patio with several seating areas. The tasting room is open Monday through Thursday from 11am to 6pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 7pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 6pm.

The vineyard offers a variety of wines, including Petit Verdot, Grüner Veltliner, Chardonel, Vidal Blanc, and several blends like Watershed, Ghost House, OTTO, Chloe Rosé, and Sweet Ellie Mae Rosé. The knowledgeable and friendly staff can help guests select wines that will suit their tastes.

Tour Options

Marked Tree Vineyard offers vineyard walking tours that provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about the history of the vineyard and the AVA-Crest of the Blue Ridge. The tour is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Guests can also learn about the winemaking process and the different grape varieties grown on the estate.

The vineyard tours are available on Saturdays. The tour includes a tasting of some of the vineyard's best wines. The staff will guide visitors through the tasting, providing information on the different wines and how to pair them with food.

Visitors can also book private tours and tastings for groups of 6 or more. Private tours offer a more personalized experience and can be tailored to meet the needs of the group.

Overall, Marked Tree Vineyard offers a great tasting and tour experience for visitors. The knowledgeable staff, beautiful scenery, and delicious wines make it a must-visit destination for wine lovers.

Sustainability Practices

Marked Tree Vineyard is committed to sustainable winegrowing practices that are environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically viable. The vineyard team implements a comprehensive set of practices to conserve water, reduce energy use, and promote soil health, while producing high-quality grapes and wine.

Water Conservation

Water is a precious resource, and the vineyard team at Marked Tree Vineyard takes measures to conserve it. They use drip irrigation to reduce water usage, and they collect rainwater and runoff to decrease pollution and conserve water. Additionally, they manage their water usage through careful monitoring and analysis.

Energy Efficiency

Marked Tree Vineyard is committed to reducing its energy usage and carbon footprint. The vineyard team uses solar panels to generate electricity, and they have implemented energy-efficient lighting and equipment throughout the vineyard and winery. They also use sustainable materials in construction and maintenance, such as recycled steel and reclaimed wood.

Soil Health

The health of the soil is essential to the quality of the grapes and the sustainability of the vineyard. Marked Tree Vineyard implements practices to promote soil health, such as cover cropping, composting, and integrated pest management. They also use organic and biodynamic farming practices to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Community Engagement

Marked Tree Vineyard is committed to being a responsible member of the community. They engage in outreach and education programs to promote sustainable winegrowing practices and environmental stewardship. They also support local organizations and initiatives that promote sustainability and social equity.

Overall, Marked Tree Vineyard's sustainability practices demonstrate their commitment to producing high-quality grapes and wine while preserving the environment and supporting the community.

Awards and Recognition

Marked Tree Vineyard has received numerous awards and recognitions for their excellent wines and their dedication to the craft of winemaking. Some of the most notable awards and recognitions are listed below:

  • In 2023, Marked Tree Vineyard was recognized as one of USA Today's Top Ten New Vineyards in America. This recognition was a testament to the hard work and dedication of the owners, Tim Parks and his wife, Brenda.
  • In 2022, Marked Tree Vineyard won multiple awards at the NC Fine Wines Showcase, including a gold medal for their 2019 Cabernet Franc. The NC Fine Wines Showcase is a prestigious competition that highlights the best wines from across the state of North Carolina.
  • In addition to these awards, Marked Tree Vineyard has also been featured in numerous publications, including Triangle Around Town and Winston-Salem Journal. These publications have recognized Marked Tree Vineyard for their exceptional wines and commitment to sustainable winemaking practices.

Marked Tree Vineyard's commitment to excellence and dedication to sustainable winemaking practices have set them apart in the industry. Their focus on estate-grown and locally sourced/produced North Carolina wines has allowed them to create unique and flavorful wines that are truly representative of the region.

Overall, Marked Tree Vineyard's numerous awards and recognitions are a testament to their commitment to quality and their passion for winemaking. Whether you're a wine enthusiast or just looking for a great bottle of wine to enjoy with friends and family, Marked Tree Vineyard is definitely worth a visit.

Future Plans

Marked Tree Vineyard is a relatively new addition to the wine scene in Henderson County, North Carolina. As such, the owners, Tim Parks and Lance Hiatt, have exciting plans for the future of their vineyard and winery.

One of the primary goals for Marked Tree Vineyard is to expand their production and distribution. They plan to increase their acreage of grapevines to produce more wine and reach a wider market. Additionally, they are looking to expand their distribution channels to reach more customers across the United States.

Another plan for the future of Marked Tree Vineyard is to continue experimenting with different grape varietals. They have already had success with their current selection, but they are always looking for new and innovative ways to create unique and delicious wines.

In addition to expanding their production and experimenting with new grape varietals, Marked Tree Vineyard also plans to enhance their tasting room experience. They want to create a welcoming and educational environment for visitors to learn about their wines and the winemaking process.

Overall, Marked Tree Vineyard has ambitious plans for the future. With their passion for winemaking and dedication to quality, there is no doubt that they will continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.