KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — That sound-- it's music to your taste buds.  

Just opening that bottle of wine, whether it be a $10- or $150 bottle, brings with it a range of emotions like excitement. 

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But, many who drink it probably haven't given it much thought about the person, the place or the time that went in to making that wine.

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"We love wine," Chuck Belt, the owner and operator of Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard, said.

"We started out as consumers, then became growers, then became vintners, and now we're still customers for our own wines."

Chuck and Alice Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard

He and his wife Alice have been operating Spout Spring Estates for more than 10 years.  

Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard

"We are an estate winery.  So everything we have in our winery is grown here, it's made here, it's bottled here and it's sold here."


And it's a process that takes more than a year to complete, from grape to glass.

Let's break it down for you....

1. Spring

Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard

"Each year, you start in the spring to prune [the grapevines] back from the previous year," Belt said.

Next, you get what's called 'bloom,' where the beginning of the bunches of grapes come out and little flowers open up and are fertilized. 

Did you know grapevines are self-pollinating?

The bloom leads to 'berry set,' and from there, bunches of grapes begin to develop. 

2. Summer

After many days of working to maintain the vineyard through the spring, the grapes have grown nice and plump by July. But... they aren't ready yet.  

Grapes at Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard

Over the next month, they will begin to change color.  

And as soon as they do, the grapes are ready for harvest, which is typically around August to September.

"It's a way of life, it's constant, every year," Belt explained. "These are going to do this every year, so you have to be ready for them."


3. Fall

From there, the grapes move on to mashing. No, they don't do it with their feet.

Mashing at Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard

Then, the grapes are placed in huge tanks to ferment. It's all very scientific, with the length of time and other factors about the tank determining the quality and taste of the wine.

Fermenters at Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard

And the final step? That's bottling the wine, of course! 

4. Winter

By the time this all happens, it's now sometime in December.

And from there Alice and Chuck get ready for the following Spring, where they will have to do it all over again.

Bottling at Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard

Why do the Belts put up with this never-ending cycle?

"It's about local, it's about local people, local farmers, working hard to produce a quality product for our local folks."

For more information about the winery and vineyard, click here.