Don’t expect an upscale, overly sophisticated wine tasting experience at Bootleggers; they don’t take themselves quite that seriously. Do expect tongue-in-cheek wine names, a down-home family atmosphere, and incredible wines with flavors as rich and (dare we say it?) sophisticated as you’d find at the most upscale area wineries.
Bootleggers Homemade Wine was started by two sisters who grew up with a love for the Smoky Mountain flavor of country–and local, homemade wines made by Grandma. That family touch still runs deep: many of the recipes are classics handed down through the family, while others are wildly successful experiments in flavor and body crafted from local grapes and fruits.
The homegrown muscadine blush is a signature wine, full-bodied with a hint of blackberry. A true party pleaser. For a sweet, fruity wine, it’s hard to beat the homegrown peach; the homegrown scuppernong is another favorite (and a Southern staple), medium-bodied with a soft apple-pear finish that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Expect a generous number of free tastings here, as well as a low-key atmosphere that aims to be down-to-earth but retains some definite Southern class. An expansive gift shop area carries a wide variety of fun wine gifts, while the tasting area is large enough to accommodate most small to medium groups at once.
Although wines here are priced higher than many other local wineries, we found them to be well worth it for the excellent quality. Generous discounts on multi-bottle purchases make it very tempting to purchase six bottles or more. This might be a great option if you fall in love with their wine because Bootlegger’s doesn’t ship their wines–yet. They’re looking to add online shopping options in the near future, but right now, your only option is to purchase their wares in-person in Tennessee.
Bootleggers Homemade Wine occupies a charming, rustic storefront in downtown Gatlinburg, just a short walk across the road from Ripley’s Believe it or Not. If you’re hungry, you’ll find a plethora of excellent dining options in the vicinity, from upscale bistros to low-key pubs and everything in between. It’s also a member of the Gatlinburg Wine trail, so it’s a natural stop in central Gatlinburg before heading further out into the mountains to find the more remote wineries on the list.
– Bootleggers often has a Buy 3 bottles, get 2 free offer, and they’re quite generous with their discounts. it’s worth asking what specials they have going on during your visit.
– Want to see some wine being bottled? Call ahead or stop by to sign up for a tour; you’ll get an up-close look at the operation, from vat to bottle to shelf, led by one of Bootleggers Homemade Wine’s master vintners.