Beau Monde Vineyards is Weakley County’s first ‘Farm to Bottle’ winery

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By Renee Phelps

MVP Features Writer

Weakley County natives Larry and Paula Snider started their vineyard in Martin after deciding to return “home” and retire after 40 years in Kingsport, TN. Their home and family, and a natural curiosity have turned their extra acreage on Pleasant Valley Road into a hard working, successful hobby of sorts.

With no real plans in the beginning for their extra five acres, Snider said it was his son-in-law who suggested he plant grapes. It sounded strange in an area where soybeans and corn had long flourished in the fields. “But I thought about it and decided why not try it? I needed a hobby anyway,” he laughed. Grapes were already being planted in the state. But early attempts by others at growing grapes here weren’t that successful. “When you think of grapes, you usually think of California and Napa Valley,” he said. But California grapes didn’t like the weather here. “It was way too humid and they just didn’t do well.”

Good fortune prevailed when an Illinois farmer created a hybrid grapevine that yielded a wine much like Chardonnet, a favorite around the world. Since then, Tennessee has become a great place for vineyards and wine.

It takes a lot of people to tend a vineyard. For some, it’s a real family affair. Armed with shovels and pruning shears, Snider and his family started with just 3 varieties and 1,300 vines. In three years, they sold their entire first harvest to Arrington Vineyards outside of Nashville.

Since that first harvest almost a decade ago, their vineyard has doubled in size with five varieties and seven different bottled wines proudly sold under the family’s own label. The wines include three sweet, three dry and one semi-sweet “so we’ve got something for everyone’s taste,” he said.

One of their selections “Stan’s Harmony” is named in memory of Stan Johnson, a talented singer and a member of the Beau Monde extended family who faithfully harvested grapes and enjoyed a sweet red wine. This wine is made from the 2021 Chambourcin grape harvest and was a crowd favorite their first weekend open.

On April 28, they officially opened a small “Farm to Bottle” Vineyard to the public. Visitors can enjoy a glass of wine in a beautiful natural setting and even take part in wine tastings. They can also purchase the family’s vineyard products sold onsite. Hours are 1-7 pm Friday and 1-5 pm Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re trying to see what hours work best for those interested in sampling our product so we’re trying to be flexible with our schedule,” he said. They’ve already extended their hours on Friday.

Tennessee’s wine and grape industry has grown tremendously. The State currently houses 85 licensed wineries and 31 tasting rooms – up from 24 in 2001. East Tennessee is home to 56 of these ventures and are highlighted as stops on the Tennessee Wine Trail, which launched late last year and is already driving increased interest in Tennessee wines.

“Many Tennesseans have no idea that vineyards in our own backyards grow 50 different varieties of grapes, ranging from delicious dry reds to crisp muscadines and everything in between,” said Laura Swanson, executive director of the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance and Tennessee Wine Trail. “No matter what type of wine you enjoy, there is a Tennessee-grown option for you. We’re proud to say more tourists and locals than ever before are embracing Tennessee wines.”

For the Sniders, the vineyards have become a symbol of hard work, accomplishment and hometown

pride. They still sell grapes to other nearby wineries like White Squirrel in Kenton and Beechhaven in Clarksville where Beau Monde’s grapes are actually bottled, although they consider Beau Monde still very much a Weakley County venture. And while there’s still room for growth, there remains a strong desire to stay “local.” Sharing the fruits of their labor where their own roots began will always be part of the legacy of the “beautiful earth” of Beau Monde.

2 COMMENTS

  1. So proud of you , your family, and workers who have worked so hard to prove this area can grow grapes for your product. Glad you have been publicized. Im going to make it out there one of these days

  2. Wow, way to go. So proud of you and your hard work. What an exciting adventure. That certainly is a nice legacy. Glad that you have put Martin on the map with your vineyard. Yea!!!

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