Top Tips for Experiencing Gatlinburg Wine and Spirits Scene




Top Tips for Experiencing Gatlinburg Wine and Spirits Scene


As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Have A Great Time In Gatlinburg

Welcome, friends! Grinning Gary here, ready to take you on a spirited adventure through Gatlinburg wine and spirits scene. Whether you’re a wine aficionado, a moonshine enthusiast, or a craft beer lover, Gatlinburg offers a rich tapestry of flavors and experiences. Exploring the local wineries, distilleries, and breweries is a must to fully appreciate Gatlinburg’s unique charm. In this guide, I’ll share my top tips and personal anecdotes to help you make the most of your tasting journey. So grab your glass, and let’s get started!

Gatlinburg wine and spirits, Smoky Mountain Winery, Sugarland Cellars, Ole Smoky Distillery, Gatlinburg Brewing Company, Sugarlands Distilling Company
Ole Smoky Distillery Sign” by nick.amoscato is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Exploring Local Wineries

Smoky Mountain Winery

Smoky Mountain Winery, the oldest winery in East Tennessee, is a cornerstone of Gatlinburg’s wine scene. Established in 1981, this charming winery offers a delightful array of wines, from robust reds to crisp whites. Their muscadine wine is a local favorite, celebrated for its sweet and fruity flavor. The cozy tasting room provides a welcoming atmosphere where you can sample their finest selections. I remember my first visit—sipping their award-winning wines while learning about the winemaking process was an unforgettable experience. If you’re a wine lover, this is a must-visit spot.

Sugarland Cellars

Next up is Sugarland Cellars, known for its locally sourced wines that capture the essence of the Smoky Mountains. Each bottle tells a story, with names like “Elkmont” and “Mountain Laurel” paying homage to the region’s history and natural beauty. Their tours offer a fascinating glimpse into the winemaking process, from vine to bottle. And let’s not forget the tasting sessions—each sip reveals the meticulous care that goes into their craft. One of my favorite memories is chatting with the friendly staff, who are always eager to share their knowledge and passion for wine.

Little Bear Winery

For a more intimate wine experience, Little Bear Winery is the place to be. This charming winery offers a cozy ambiance and a delightful selection of wines. From fruity whites to rich reds, there’s something to please every palate. The tasting room’s rustic decor and warm atmosphere make it a perfect spot to unwind. I have fond memories of a rainy afternoon spent here, savoring their unique blends and chatting with fellow wine enthusiasts. Don’t miss out on their seasonal offerings—they’re always a delightful surprise!

Discovering Local Distilleries

Ole Smoky Distillery

Ole Smoky Distillery is a legendary name in Gatlinburg’s spirits scene, and for good reason. As the most visited distillery in America, it offers a unique blend of history, craftsmanship, and fun. Their moonshine and whiskey varieties are a testament to Appalachian ingenuity. The distillery tour is an adventure in itself—watching the distillation process and sampling the end products is an experience you won’t forget. I recall my first taste of their signature Apple Pie Moonshine—it was like a sweet, liquid hug from the Smokies!

Sugarlands Distilling Company

Sugarlands Distilling Company is another gem in Gatlinburg’s spirits landscape. Known for their award-winning spirits, they offer interactive tours that are both educational and entertaining. The highlight, of course, is the tasting session. From their Butterscotch Gold Moonshine to the Roaming Man Whiskey, every sip is a new discovery. The welcoming atmosphere and knowledgeable staff make each visit special. I still remember the laughter and stories shared during my last tour—it’s more than just a tasting; it’s an experience.

Tennessee Shine Company

For a more personalized distillery experience, Tennessee Shine Company is a must-visit. Their handcrafted spirits, from moonshine to whiskey, are a true reflection of local craftsmanship. The distillery’s inviting atmosphere and friendly staff make you feel right at home. I have a soft spot for their Strawberry Dream Moonshine—it’s like summer in a bottle! The tasting room is filled with warmth and laughter, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy some Southern hospitality.

Savoring Local Breweries

Gatlinburg Brewing Company

Gatlinburg Brewing Company is a haven for craft beer lovers. Their diverse beer offerings, from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts, cater to every taste. The brewery’s casual and lively atmosphere makes it a great spot to unwind with friends. I have fond memories of enjoying a pint of their signature Gatlinburg Blonde Ale while chatting with the locals. The seasonal selections are always a treat—be sure to check out their latest brews!

Smoky Mountain Brewery

Smoky Mountain Brewery is a staple in Gatlinburg’s craft beer scene. Known for its extensive beer menu and delicious food pairings, it’s a favorite among both locals and visitors. The brewery’s lively vibe and friendly staff make each visit enjoyable. I still remember my first taste of their Cherokee Red Ale—rich, flavorful, and perfectly paired with a hearty meal. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just looking for a great place to hang out, Smoky Mountain Brewery won’t disappoint.

Unique Tasting Experiences

Wine Tasting Tours

Wine tasting tours are a fantastic way to explore Gatlinburg’s wineries. These tours offer a curated experience, guiding you through some of the best wineries in the area. You’ll learn about the winemaking process, enjoy exclusive tastings, and meet fellow wine lovers. I highly recommend taking a tour—it’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the local wine culture. Just remember to pace yourself; there’s a lot of delicious wine to savor!

Moonshine and Whiskey Tastings

Moonshine and whiskey tastings are a quintessential Gatlinburg experience. These events offer a chance to sample a variety of spirits and learn about their unique characteristics. From smooth sips to bold flavors, each tasting session is an adventure. I recall my first moonshine tasting—it was a mix of excitement and a bit of a burn, but oh so worth it! Whether you’re a seasoned taster or a curious beginner, these tastings are a must-do.

Brewery Hopping

Brewery hopping is a fun and engaging way to explore Gatlinburg’s craft beer scene. Plan a route that includes stops at the top local breweries, and enjoy a pint at each one. It’s a great way to sample different brews and soak in the lively atmospheres. I have many fond memories of brewery hopping with friends—each stop brought new flavors, laughter, and stories. Just be sure to have a designated driver or use local transportation for a safe and enjoyable outing.

Pairing Wine and Spirits with Local Cuisine

Restaurant Recommendations

Gatlinburg is home to a variety of restaurants that pair perfectly with local wines and spirits. From cozy bistros to fine dining establishments, there’s something for every palate. Some top recommendations include The Peddler Steakhouse for a perfect steak and wine pairing, and The Greenbrier Restaurant for its exquisite cocktails and Southern cuisine. Dining at these spots is always a delightful experience, and the perfect pairing elevates it even further.

Wine and Food Pairing Tips

Pairing wine with food is an art, and Gatlinburg’s local wines offer some fantastic options. For Southern dishes, try pairing a robust red wine with barbecue or a crisp white with seafood. Sugarland Cellars’ “Elkmont” is a great choice for poultry dishes, while their “Mountain Laurel” pairs wonderfully with desserts. Experimenting with pairings is part of the fun, and you’ll discover combinations that enhance both the food and the wine.

Craft Beer and Food Pairings

Craft beer also offers exciting pairing possibilities. Gatlinburg Brewing Company’s hoppy IPAs pair well with spicy foods, while their stouts complement rich, hearty dishes. At Smoky Mountain Brewery, try their Cherokee Red Ale with a burger or their Smoky Mountain Special with a pizza. The key is to balance the flavors, so both the beer and the food shine. Trust me, finding the perfect match is a rewarding experience!

Visiting During Special Events

Gatlinburg Wine Fest

Gatlinburg Wine Fest is an annual celebration that wine lovers won’t want to miss. Featuring a wide array of local wineries, the festival offers tastings, seminars, and live entertainment. It’s a great opportunity to explore new wines and enjoy the festive atmosphere. My tip: arrive early to avoid the crowds and take your time savoring each sample. The festival is a highlight of the year for many, including myself!


Brewfest is Gatlinburg’s celebration of craft beer, bringing together local and regional breweries for a day of tasting and fun. With a variety of brews on tap, live music, and food vendors, it’s a fantastic event for beer enthusiasts. I’ve attended Brewfest several times, and it’s always a blast. The energy, the people, and the amazing beers make it a standout event. Be sure to pace yourself and enjoy the unique brews each brewery offers.

Spirits Festivals and Events

In addition to wine and beer festivals, Gatlinburg hosts various spirits-related events throughout the year. These events offer tastings, workshops, and entertainment centered around local spirits. Whether it’s a moonshine festival or a whiskey tasting event, there’s always something exciting happening. I love attending these events—they’re a great way to discover new favorites and meet fellow enthusiasts. Keep an eye on local event calendars for upcoming dates.

Shopping for Souvenirs

Winery and Distillery Shops

No visit to Gatlinburg’s wine and spirits scene is complete without bringing home a few souvenirs. Many wineries and distilleries have on-site shops where you can purchase your favorite bottles. Smoky Mountain Winery and Sugarland Cellars offer a range of wines, while Ole Smoky Distillery and Sugarlands Distilling Company have an impressive selection of moonshines and whiskeys. These shops are perfect for finding unique gifts or treating yourself to a memento of your visit.

Local Specialty Stores

In addition to winery and distillery shops, Gatlinburg has specialty stores that sell a curated selection of local wines and spirits. These stores often feature products from multiple local producers, giving you a broader range to choose from. The Village Shops and the Mountain Mall are great places to explore for unique finds. I’ve discovered many hidden gems in these stores—don’t hesitate to ask the staff for recommendations.

Online Shopping Options

For those who want to stock up on Gatlinburg’s wines and spirits from afar, many local producers offer online shopping options. Websites like Ole Smoky Distillery and Sugarlands Distilling Company allow you to order your favorite bottles and have them shipped directly to your door. This is a convenient way to enjoy Gatlinburg’s flavors anytime, anywhere. Just be sure to check shipping restrictions for your state. I’ve used these services several times—they’re reliable and make for great gifts, too!


What are the best wineries to visit in Gatlinburg?

The best wineries in Gatlinburg include Smoky Mountain Winery, Sugarland Cellars, and Little Bear Winery. Each offers unique selections and experiences, from Smoky Mountain Winery’s historical charm to Sugarland Cellars’ locally sourced wines. Little Bear Winery’s cozy ambiance and delightful offerings make it a must-visit. Plan your visit to include tours and tastings for a comprehensive experience.

Are there any family-friendly wineries or distilleries?

Yes, some wineries and distilleries in Gatlinburg are family-friendly. Sugarland Cellars and Ole Smoky Distillery offer tours and tastings that are suitable for all ages, with non-alcoholic options available. It’s a great way to learn about the winemaking and distillation process while enjoying a family outing. Always check in advance for family-friendly policies and activities.

What should I bring to a tasting tour?

For a tasting tour, bring a notepad to jot down your favorite wines or spirits, a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated, and comfortable shoes for walking. A small bag for any purchases and a camera to capture the experience are also recommended. Most importantly, bring an open mind and a readiness to explore new flavors!

How can I book a tasting tour in Gatlinburg?

Booking a tasting tour in Gatlinburg is easy. Many wineries and distilleries offer online booking options on their websites. You can also find tour packages through local travel agencies or websites like TripAdvisor. Book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability. Personal recommendations: check out the tour options at Sugarland Cellars and Ole Smoky Distillery for a great experience.

Are there any seasonal specialties I should try?

Absolutely! Gatlinburg’s wineries and distilleries offer seasonal specialties that are worth trying. During the fall, look for pumpkin-spiced moonshine and apple wines. Winter brings festive flavors like peppermint moonshine and mulled wine. Check with local producers for their seasonal offerings—they’re always a treat! Personal favorites include Sugarland Cellars’ seasonal wines and Ole Smoky’s festive moonshines.

Conclusion – To Gatlinburg Wine And Spirits

There you have it, folks—Grinning Gary’s top tips for experiencing Gatlinburg’s wine and spirits scene. From exploring local wineries and distilleries to savoring unique tasting experiences and pairing drinks with local cuisine, Gatlinburg offers a rich and diverse tapestry of flavors. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, a moonshine enthusiast, or a craft beer lover, there’s something here for everyone. So, plan your tasting adventure, explore the local flavors, and discover why Gatlinburg’s wine and spirits scene is a must-do. Cheers to your next great tasting experience in Gatlinburg!


  • Grinning Gary McLaughlin

    Grinning Gary McLaughlin is Gatlinburg’s own treasure trove of tales, a local historian with a knack for weaving humor into the fabric of everyday life in the Smoky Mountains. With roots running deep in the heart of Tennessee, Gary’s passion for his hometown shines through in his engaging and light-hearted narratives. Whether he’s sharing insider tips on hidden gems or recounting hilarious anecdotes from around town, Gary’s writing makes every reader feel like a welcomed friend, ready to explore the wonders of Gatlinburg with a smile.

    View all posts

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts