Halfway between Nashville and Memphis is where grapevines are nurtured by a sun that shines just a little brighter and with the help of warm breezes, happy grapes are born. Experience beautiful wines with expression of the unique Tennessee terroir that reflect the care they were given.
There is a symbiotic relationship going on at Crown Winery and …..it works.
Crown Winery’s wines have as much personality as the nurturers/owners, Peter and Rita Howard, as well as their devoted “winery family” Manager Allison Hagin, Viticulturist Taylor and the winemaker, Barry.
As I looked around, I could see is grapes for miles, literally 20 miles of vines! There are a total of 30 acres of vines where Sangiovese occupies 4 of the 30 acres.
Hybrid Grapes and Peter’s favorite child, Sangiovese:
That’s right! The grape of Chianti is being grown right in the Tennessee!
Hybrid grapes thrive in Tennessee, and Crown Winery is no exception. The North-facing hill produces the best fruit and some of the grapes varieties grown here include Chamborcin, Chardonnel, and Traminette which make beautiful wines on their own.
Sangiovese is the exception. Sangiovese is a Vitis Vinifera mostly notably known for Chianti in Tuscany and also grown throughout Central Italy. The Sangiovese grape loves hot weather and that is what West Tennessee has these days.
There are has 4 acres, 24 rows that average 50 feet of gorgeous Sangiovese vines that produce luscious and earthy wine with notes of sour red cherries, dried herbs, earthy aromas, tannins and nice acidity that make this wine a jewel in the crown of this winery!
Set amidst the beautiful West Tennessee landscape is a most impeccable piece of land in Gibson County that traditionally is a fruit growing area with strawberries, peaches, apples, and blueberries. There you will find a small, family-run gently sloping vineyard with 30 acres of vines proving again that this is perfect environment for growing grapes. Tennessee produces a variety of lovely wines with hybrid grapes with a lovely perfume and flavor with an expression of the Tennessee terroir. The grapes thrive in 6 hrs of sun in the unique wine-growing county of West Tennessee.
Peter is an adventurer, a renaissance man. His life IS a story of adventure. He was born in an air raid shelter in 1942. Peter is a natural born story teller and has the gift of gab complemented with his British wit. He is an adventurer, a renaissance man full of endless energy.
He has had many unique and entrepreneurial jobs which led him to meet his lovely wife Rita in 1973 in Austria. Rita, a natural born beauty originally from Tennessee, is a former beauty queen who earned many crowns and Peter’s biggest supporter of his free-spirited life.
Peter and Rita Howard began their journey in 2005, when this land was originally home to cattle.
They decided to move back to Rita’s home state and then The Crown Winery story began.
Peter has developed his own sense of style and philosophy where winemaking is concerned. He believes that a bottle of wine is made in the vineyard. If the grapes aren’t good, you can’t produce a good wine. He also believes that grapes are like infants. You nurture the vines that produce the “babies.” If you raise them right, “Happy grapes make happy wine!”
The Winery Family:
Peter and Rita told me that Allison, Taylor and Barry (winemaker) bring a youthfulness to the winery. He enjoys working Allison, the General Manager and Taylor, the viticulturist, the ultimate nurturer. Taylor began working for Crown Winery at 15 yo while he was still in high school and has been farming most of his life. Taylor is essential to the vineyards’ success and works dawn until dusk trouble-shooting daily challenges to get it right. Allison Hagin, the manager, is devoted to the care and well-being of the winery and always greets everyone with a smile and cheerfulness sets the mood for an enjoyable day at the winery. Barry devotes his time to making quality wines that reflect the quality and finesse.
Peter believes that “A bottle of wine is made in the vineyard, if the grapes aren’t good, you can’t produce a good wine.”
This year they will most likely harvest 65 to 70 tons of grapes which is around mid-September.
Harvest is fast! Peter likes to say they have to sneak up on the grapes while they are sleeping in the night, harvest and put into tanks before they get warm. Grapes start fermenting immediately due to natural yeasts.
They work closely with UT and designed rows for mechanical harvesting. Harvest begins at night because its cooler. Taylor and Peter planted the vines to accommodate a mechanized harvester.
Destination Weddings and the Amphitheater:
Couples make Crown Winery their destination dream wedding from around the country including Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Indianapolis, to name a few. But that’s not all! The outdoor amphitheater and 800 seat bleachers is the perfect place for concerts, corporate picnics an reunions.
Eric Botbyl owner of Companion Gallery which is behind Crown Winery creates one of a kind Amphoras to hold and store your wine.
The Amphora is an ancient vessel used by the Greeks stored wine using olive oil to seal. Here, it’s filled with wine, then a wax seal is set in place as is very effective for protecting your wine until you are ready to drink!
Ms. Rita is very proud of their award-winner sparkling wine with the Traminette grape, called Tiara, which is just perfect for toasting at a wedding or your special event. I enjoyed this aromatic bubbly beauty in a glass as well as the other wines at Crown Winery!
This is the perfect time of the year to enjoy a glass of the many wines from Crown Winery. Each have their own delightful characteristic flavors and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a later summer evening with family and friends!
In the next post, I will be featuring some of Crown Winery’s wines with a dinner pairing that I am sure you will enjoy! Stay tuned!
Crown Winery & HRH Vineyards
3638 East Mitchell Street/Hwy E. 152
Humboldt, Tennessee 38343