MOSHEIM, Tenn. (WJHL) — Forget about Napa Valley or Sonoma — you can get the vineyard and winery right here in Northeast Tennessee. Goodwater Vineyards in Cocke County takes you through each step of the wine-making process and allows you to enjoy some unique experiences.
Located right off the Nolichucky River in Mosheim, Goodwater Vineyards is home to 30 acres and five varieties of grapes. The first vines were planted in 2004, and the winery was completed in 2013.
“We have five right now, and we plan on adding the two fields that we took out last year,” said Laura Poland, Goodwater Sales and Vineyards manager. “These are our noble muscadine. We have other older muscadine but these are the younger ones.”
From Goodwater Farm to Goodwater Vineyards, operations have always been a family affair. Beyond the family, they have only two full-time employees.
“We’ve been growing grapes for almost 20 years now when my dad planted the first grapes,” said Poland. “He’s a local physician, and he and my brother and Uncle Steve planted the vineyard with a neighbor. So, it was just a small local [business] — not just family, but our neighbors work with us.”
From harvest to bottle, every step of the wine-making process is done on location.
“We start harvesting in about July… then we’ll continue harvesting all the way through October ,” said Gene Poland, Goodwater Head Vintner. “It’s all hand-selected in the field, which is great because we use only the best fruit”
Gene Poland leads tours through the winery. He said he will tailor the tours depending on visitors’ time and interest, ranging from as short as a few minutes to up to an hour.
Laura Poland grew up on the farm. Now, she and her husband, Gene, tend to the vines and create the numerous wines they sell.
“We have some very unique wines,” said Laura Poland. “I haven’t found one like it [Pearadise]. It is a dry fruit wine. This one’s made from 100% pears and we call it ‘Pear-adise.’ We like to make cute little punny labels. People seem to like that. You’ll see it’s kind of the color. It’s almost rosy of a pear. It has a nice clarity to it.”
Laura Poland leads visitors through tastings, offering thorough explanations of each wine’s profile and food pairing suggestions.
They take pride in reducing their chemical use.
“We stopped using herbicide completely and invested in an in-row tiller,” said Laura Poland. “Which is what you saw when he flew over the vineyard. He was tilling instead of spraying the grapes.”
For a date, friend outing, or any occasion, you can book a picnic right in the vineyards
“We make suggested offerings for them to buy a bottle to go with their picnic and what items go best with that wine,” said Laura Poland. “That includes linen and China. So, it’s a little more upscale picnic than what people are used to. It’s kind of a nice, special treat, and it’s a family share. So you pick items that are on the menu to share with everybody.”
The Polands said what makes them stand apart from other tasting rooms in Gatlinburg and in the area is that they only offer Tennessee-grown grapes and the wines that can be made from them and a variety of fruits.
Offering family-friendly (and pet-friendly) experiences at their family farm.
The vineyard and tasting room in Mosheim is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Their tasting room in Gatlinburg is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tastings in Mosheim cost $5 to try all the wines. In Gatlinburg, you can sample three wines for free.
Goodwater Vineyards currently allows campers on the property and is looking to expand further in the future.
For more details on the wines offered, to book a visit or picnic, visit the Goodwater Vineyards website.