The Winery at Seven Springs Farm is located just outside of Maynardville, TN on Seven Springs Farm, a 370-acre working family farm, purchased by Rick and Donna Riddle in 1994. In 2015, The Winery at Seven Springs Farm, run by their daughter / winemaker Nikki Riddle and her fiancé / master winemaker Michael Coombs, is the first winery to be established in Union County, Tennessee. One of the few degreed enologists in Tennessee, Nikki understands that winemaking is both an art and a science. She and Michael combine their educational backgrounds with hands-on experience to expertly craft some of Tennessee’s best wines.
The History of Seven Springs Farm
In 1996, two years after they purchased the farm, Rick and Donna moved back home to Tennessee after Rick, a veterinarian by trade, retired from a 20-year military career with the Air Force. Donna had envisioned a place where she could grow fruits and vegetables and sell local produce; Rick, a place to raise a few cows and call home. Working with their local soil conservationist, they charted a course for Seven Springs Farm, named for the abundant artesian springs located on the property.
Donna’s pride are the 18 varieties of northern and southern highbush blueberries which are available for U-Pick in late May and June each year. She built a thriving fruit and vegetable business, growing over five acres of various garden vegetables and selling locally at five farmers markets in Knox and Union Counties. Donna recognized that the farm, if properly developed, had the economic potential to become a supporting family farm and with Rick’s help, drew up a plan to present to their children, Nikki and Jim. Donna wanted her kids to be close, and this was an opportunity to make that happen.
The Birth of the Winery
Rick and Donna’s daughter, Nikki Riddle, graduated from Vanderbilt University as a Biomedical Engineer in 2008, and began her career working as a Field Clinical Engineer for a company performing medical device trials. As things happen, due to a corporate downsizing in 2011, Nikki opted to spend the summer at the farm along with helping her Aunt and Uncle in their vineyard located in Grainger County, just 17 miles away. She worked in vineyards on both properties and helped make “homemade” wine. This experience cultivated her interest in grapes and wine and began her career as a winemaker with Ed and Louisa Cook at Beachaven Vineyards and Winery in Clarksville, Tennessee. It is at Beachaven that she met her fiancée, Michael Coombs, who has worked for Beachaven over the past 10 years.
Recognizing that winemaking is both and art and a science, Nikki enrolled in the Undergraduate Program in Enology at Missouri State University. This program is a partnership of The Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA), the Missouri State University system and colleges, and universities, vineyards and wineries across America. These partners share a 21st Century vision for education in grape growing and winemaking. Being convinced that this was indeed a passion she wanted to pursue, Rick also enrolled in VESTA’s program, and they both graduated with degrees in Enology in 2015.
In 2015, The Winery at Seven Springs Farm becomes a reality. The Winery at Seven Springs Farm is housed in a 3200 sq ft timber framed structure designed and built by Rick along with family and friends, using various species of timber harvested and milled on the farm. It shares the space with Donna and their son Jim’s Seven Springs Farm to Table business, finally realizing Donna’s original dream of an on-farm market retail store.
The winemaking facilities were designed by Nikki Riddle and her fiancée Michael Coombs. With a combined 20 years in the wine industry, Nicole and Michael used their knowledge to design and equip a state-of-the-art modern facility and wine laboratory consisting of custom designed stainless steel wine tanks from Vance Metals in New York housed in an ultra-modern temperature-controlled tank room.
As winemakers, Nikki Riddle and Michael Coombs combine their talents and love of wine in crafting the vintages at The Winery at Seven Springs Farm in their own unique style. These wines are made with grape varietals grown in their vineyard and around Tennessee as well as fruit from leading viticultural areas in the United States. Nikki recognizes that quality in the bottle is a direct result of both the quality of the fruit in the vineyard and the capabilities at the winery. Visit The Winery at Seven Springs Farm and experience their unique selection of both dry and sweet wines that will appeal to any wine lover. Our custom timber frame facility and walnut slab tasting bar truly offer a unique venue for weekend outings or daytrips to rural East Tennessee.