Dense blue fog clings to lush tree tops. Boundless verdant hills stretch for miles. Behold the land of the Great Smoky Mountains, among the oldest mountains in the world.
Tucked between these majestic ridges, five wineries and one distillery form the Rocky Top Wine Trail.
With free tastings at every stop and more than 70 unique wines offered, you’re sure to find a Tennessee wine to please your palate.
Plan to take your time and break up the trail over a few days. This way you’ll get to try more wines and have more time to appreciate the Smokies.
Taste the sweet fruit and muscadine wines at Mountain Valley Winery or the unique apple wines at Apple Barn Winery.
Grab some lunch or a snack at the nearby restaurants and shops, including the famous Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store.
If you’re looking for something with sparkle, try the bubbly at Hillside Winery. Stay on the trail toward Sugarland Cellars where the knowledgeable staff will be happy to talk you through their wine tasting process or share some of the forgotten stories of the Smokies.
Then top off your trip with a visit to Mill Bridge Winery, where you can savor a chilled wine or cider on the patio overlooking the river. Bonus points if you make it to Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery for a taste of their locally-made moonshine.
Not far from the Great Smoky Mountains’ territory is the Great Valley Wine Trail, formed by three wineries.
Travel country roads between each stop, and you’ll discover why the locals love East Tennessee.
A short drive from Knoxville is The Winery at Seven Springs Farm.
Located on the historic “Thunder Road,” which was once used by moonshiners, Seven Springs is steeped in historic charm and a homey atmosphere.
Further down the road is Spout Springs Estates, well known for its stunning views and wines made only from Tennessee grapes.
On the tail end of the Great Valley Trail, Goodwater Vineyards is a family-owned spot specializing in dry wines.
Call ahead to sign up for their catered picnics held Tuesdays through Sundays until the end of summer.
Many of these trails can be enjoyed over a few days, so no matter which one you choose, take your time and savor all the beauty between sips.
And remember, there’s a lot to explore on Tennessee’s country roads, so be sure to have a designated driver with you on your journey.