Winery: Stonehaus Winery
Location: Crossville, TN
Ease of Access: 5 of 5
Cost of Tasting/Number of Tastes: Free for 7 tastes
Website: Stonehaus Winery
Today, Elinor and I stopped in Crossville, TN, to visit with the folks at Stonehaus Winery. What attracted us to this winery was the billboard that said ‘Free Tastings.’ Clearly, it takes a lot of effort to get us to detour on a 7-hour road trip. After stopping, though, we were glad to be distracted. This winery was charming, featured a great many quality wines, and hosted several friendly staff members.
When we parked at Stonehaus, we approached the rather bland-looking building and first noticed the bulletin board-sized menu posted between the entrances. While this may seem trivial, for two people who were just passing through, it was a welcome sight. I was able to, at first glance, determine whether I wanted to spend any time here. I quickly took note that many of the wines here at Stonehaus were staples (two varieties of Chardonnay, a Merlot, Muscadine, etc.), and to be honest, I was not expecting much from this winery. I am thrilled to say that my first impression was wrong.
Entering the winery, we were greeted by a gift shop of sorts, boasting wine paraphernalia ranging from t-shirts to novelty gifts to wine serving tools. A large tasting bar dominated the space without detracting from the quaint atmosphere. We took a minute to peruse the items for sale before approaching the nearly empty bar.
Upon approaching the bar, we were quickly welcomed by Kim, who ran our tasting. Laminated menus were already laid out on the bar, and after checking our IDs, Kim brought us a couple glasses, explained the tasting process (no charge for up to 7 tastings), and explained the menu. I explained that I prefer dry wines, and Elinor explained that she tends to lean more sweet but was exploring the world of semi-sweet wines. Kim was quick to recommend a wine that Elinor and I both ended up enjoying a great deal, and that was the TGA Blanc. This dry white was very crisp and smooth, with subtle notes of fresh citrus.
Between the two of us, we sampled some 12 or so wines, including the Aaron Tippin Country Jam, a blackberry-based wine that was too sweet for my palette. However, this wine was unique in that it was creamy, and in talking with Kim, we decided that it would be great on top of ice cream or cheesecake. We also discovered that Aaron Tippin is a close friend of Stonehaus’ owner, and Kim said he is a very down-to-earth guy, exactly what you expect based on his music. I had to ask if the Country Jam was Aaron’s preferred wine, and Kim informed us that when she pours for Aaron, he usually goes for the Merlot, which I will say was quite smooth and flavorful (berries, plums, and cherries). Even Elinor enjoyed this Merlot!
After chatting with Kim for a while and finishing our tastings, Elinor and I finished our visit to Stonehaus by walking through the second half of the gift shop, which boasted a boutique of women’s clothing, more wine-themed items, and fudge that could be sampled (of course, we sampled, and it was indeed delicious). We left the winery feeling content and will more likely than not stop back by on our way home at the end of the week.