Great Valley Wine Trail is a wine trail originally along the historic Thunder Road traveled by moonshiners through prohibition in East Tennessee. The Wine Trail is comprised of five wineries, all located within East Tennessee, promoting agritourism in Union, Claiborne, Granger, Cocke, and Johnson counties. But we soon outgrew our name as we realized there are many wineries that could be on our trail outside of Thunder Road. Hence, the name “Great Valley Wine Trail” that encompasses the area south of the Cumberland Mountains and north of the Smoky Mountains.
No, each winery is privately owned and operated. We formed the Thunder Road Wine Trail to promote East Tennessee wineries and agritourism and to give wine lovers something new to explore in East Tennessee.
The distances from one winery to the next vary but the average distance between neighboring wineries is about 24 miles for the three wineries closest to Knoxville, TN and 74 miles for the two wineries further east. The total distance between the winery farthest west on our Wine Trail Map (The Winery at Seven Springs Farm in Maynardville TN) to the winery farthest east (Watauga Lake Winery, in Butler, TN) is 145 miles.
We recommend a designated driver if you plan to visit several locations. Your driver will enjoy the scenic countryside and the unique winery sites. We offer non-alcoholic refreshments for that individual.
Most people spend a day, weekend, or a couple weekends visiting the vineyards / wineries and sampling (and, of course, purchasing) the wide variety of wines offered while allowing time for picnicking and/or lunch and/or dinner. The Thunder Road Wine Trail is in such a beautiful and historic part of East Tennessee that you will surely want to allow extra time to take in other things the area has to offer. Please check out our “Along the Trail” section on this website to get some ideas.
Each winery/vineyard has different hours of operation and tour programs. Please refer to the specific information for each winery or contact them for more information.
Yes. Learn more about our passport program and prizes. Visit our five full-time wineries and receive a complimentary Great Valley Wine Trail wine glass, plus a chance for Grand Prize #1 — a Winemaker’s Dinner. Visit all six wineries and win a chance for Grand Prize #2 — a Two Night B&B Stay at Watauga Lake.
Free Wine Trail Passport Program. There is no fee for participating in the Great Valley Wine Trail Passport program. In fact, we encourage you to visit again and again and complete multiple passports — doing so gives you more chances at winning our Grand Prizes. You can pick up a Thunder Road Wine Trail passport at any of the wineries or print it off this website.
Each winery / vineyard has different hours of operation. Four wineries are year-round and one (Watauga Lake Winery) is seasonal / weekends. Please refer to the specific tasting and tour information for each winery or contact them for more information about tasting policies and pricing.
Yes, each winery operates under the 2014 Tennessee Code “Grape and Wine Law” that allows them to be open and sell wine, including Sundays, even in if located in a dry county.
“Notwithstanding any law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, any winery or farm wine producer licensed under this section may serve wine manufactured by the winery or the farm wine producer for consumption on the premises of the winery or farm wine producer.”
The only restrictions on wine sales are between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 8:00 am.
Yes. Some wineries on the trail offer brown bag specials; “brown-bagging” means to take a bottle of wine to a restaurant. According to an opinion filed on June 14, 1977, by Tennessee assistant attorney general William C. Koch Jr., “the practice of ‘brown-bagging’ is legal under state law,” and “‘brown-bagging’ is permissible as a matter of state law in all parts of the State.” Some restaurants will charge what’s called a “corkage fee” to cover the waiter’s time, not to mention the use of glassware and someone to wash the glasses.
Visit our Along the Trail section on this website for things-to-do by interest (Americana, History, Scenic View and Drives, etc) as well as things-to-do near a particular winery you are interested in visiting: Near Eagle Springs Winery, Near Goodwater Vineyards, Near the Winery at Seven Springs Farm, Near Spout Spring Estates Winery and Vineyard, and Near Watauga Lake Winery.