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  • Delayne Martin

Marked Tree Vineyard

We visited Marked Tree several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed our visit and the wine. Since then we have visited their Asheville Tasting Room several times, we wanted to get back to the vineyard’s tasting room and the experience that comes with it. We decided to make a reservation for the vineyard tour. We arrived a few minutes early and the staff was busy cleaning up from their very first wedding event the night before. I can only imagine how beautiful it was. I can also see Marked Tree getting very busy with weddings in the near future. The views are amazing and the photo opportunities are endless.

Tim Parks and Lance Hiatt purchased the property in 2015 and began planting grapes the next year. Marked Tree sits at 2300 feet above sea level. This area of the Blue Ridge Mountains received the official designation as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 2019. To be labeled as such, 85% of grapes must come from this area, known as the Crest of the Blue Ridge Henderson County AVA. Take a look at our previous blog for additional information regarding North Carolina’s AVAs.

Marked Tree is a Native American term that guides people along a path. Trees were literally marked to lead the way to water or a settlement. Just as our ancestors used marked trees to find their path we do as well today.

Before you even taste the incredible wine, the label’s simplicity will begin a conversation of how the graphic and wine name tells a story. Marked Tree’s labels, although simple in design, are distinctive and easily stand out when placed among other bottles. Owner Lance Hiatt started sketching label designs before he and Tim were actually vineyard owners. As an architect, he could have designed the labels alone, but he brought in a design team that created magical labels that have a story to tell. Get the full story here . After reading this article you won’t be throwing away these works of art. Tim’s background in luxury retail space has created an atmosphere that is elegantly refined, friendly, and welcoming. He, Hannah, and their amazing staff maintain and provide a high-end product and a unique experience.

Tim and Lance found a path to combine their love of farm, family, and wine. The tasting room prompts a clean, modern design, and resides on top of the Eastern Continental Divide directly next to OTTO (Ole Two Tops Oak), Henderson County’s oldest tree. Although Lance completed the final design of the tasting room, it was truly a collaborative effort with input from Shamburger Architectural Group, Carolyn Auger of Black Dog Studio, Paul Amago, and Alice Guess-Professor of Architecture S.C.A.D.

Hannah, the tasting room manager, greeted us and introduced us to our tour guide, Bonnie. She led us through the vineyard describing the vines with an electric energy as if these vines were her children.

The vines next to the tasting room are an experiment for North Carolina with a double vine trellis system, Double Geneva Curtain (DGC). The system is used in Geneva, New York. This system allows for double wines to grow thereby producing more fruit. It’s easy to forget all the science and hard work behind great wine if all you see is the tasting room. Throughout our tour of the vineyard, we tasted Chardonel, Gruner, Otis Amber, Skyward Branch, and the Reserve Cabernet Franc as we learned so much about Marked Tree and vineyards in general.

You can really hear the wind howl when you climb up to the ridge looking back to the tasting room. Come prepared with appropriate clothing and good hiking boots. You can also get a spectacular view of the Eastern Continental Divide. Rainwater from the Blue Ridge Plateau flows eventually to the Gulf of Mexico and on the Blue Ridge Escarpment flows to the Atlantic Ocean. Bonnie explained the upcoming additions from a new winery to bottle on the property to more Malbec vines being planted. The grape varietals they grow were chosen because they can thrive in the rocky soil and cool mountain climate.

If you choose not to take the vineyard tour you can reserve a table-side guided tour, led by a knowledgeable host. Reservations are highly recommended on the weekends. The tasting room is open 7 days a week. If you have a group please check their website for their policy. No outside food is permitted. They offer a wide selection of local items that pair well with their wines. After our vineyard tour, we enjoyed a charcuterie board and beet hummus. First time trying the beet hummus and it was delicious. To accompany our plates we split a bottle of their Cabernet Franc. Tim stopped by our table as he greeted each guest. We talked about wine and upcoming releases. We look forward to the single varietal Lemberger. The patio is ideal to gather and enjoy the view. There is seating inside, but you can’t beat the views from the patio. It can get chilly. Be sure to pack a jacket or blanket. During the colder months, heaters are available. Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. Pets, on a leash, are welcome on nonevent days.

We always recommend checking the website for the latest details on happenings and restrictions.

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