Saturday is a good day for wine lovers in Kentucky. On June 15, the annual Wine and Vine Fest will be held in Jessamine County. (For those who don’t know the history of wine, the first commercial winery in the United States was established in Jessamine County over 200 years ago by Jean Jacques Dufour.) Kentucky has celebrated the states’ wine industry with a Wine and Vine Festival for nearly two decades. The biggest difference this year is the location. For years, the festival was held in downtown Nicholasville. This year the festival will be held at the RJ Corman Grounds, a beautiful site for a wine festival.
From 1 PM to 9 PM, there will be vendors featuring local artists, food vendors and trucks, live music, and wineries from around the state pouring tastes for visitors. The festival ends with a balloon show and fireworks. You can get your tickets at the gate on Saturday.
We’ve attended the festival for years and are looking forward to the new venue. Saturday is a great day to celebrate Kentucky wine. Hope to see you there!
Check the link at http://www.kywinefest.com/ for information on the wineries and the event schedule.
My apologies to Bill Oliver and the folks at Oliver Winery. Their excellent vineyard is named Creekbend. Some of their best wines come from the grapes from that vineyard, such as Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Doré, Chambourcin, Traminette, Vignoles, Crimson Cabernet, and Noir.
Sorry for my lack of editing.by admin
As we have many times in the past, we spent the last weekend in May celebrating our Anniversary (51, this year) at Nashville, Indiana. At the exact time of our anniversary, we were sharing a bottle of wine at a table under the trees by the lake at Oliver Winery.
Having visited Oliver the first time about twenty-five years ago, we’ve seen many changes. From the new winery building, to the new expanded tasting room, to the new wines from their Creekside Vineyard, Oliver winery has grown to be the largest winery in Indiana and one of the largest in the eastern United States. The winery was started in the 1960s by Bill Oliver’s father, but took off when Bill Oliver became the owner in the 1980s. When we visited first in early 1990s, the winery was still small and the tasting room a cozy building that still hosts special tastings on the grounds. What was the same was the beautiful lake next to the winery with the surrounding trees making it the perfect spot to picnic with a bottle of wine and the cheese and fresh baguette sold in the tasting room.
This visit we were treated to perfect weather that made sitting outside a great way to celebrate our special day. We did share a memory when we noticed the graveled walks that allow visitors to enjoy a walk down the hill to the lake. On one of our early visits, we were sitting by the lake and wanted to get a second glass of wine. I walked up to the tasting room, got our wine and started back down to our table. As you might be guessing there were no walkways then, it had rained a shower earlier, and I immediately slipped and slid down the hill on my bottom. Wearing white jeans that day, I was a mess but I’m proud to say not a drop of wine was spilled.
Oliver Winery should be on the to-do list of all wine lovers in the area. There’s wines to suit all tastes, from the driest to the sweetest. Their wines, the beauty of the grounds, the lovely tasting room, and the knowledgeable staff have made Oliver one of the east’s most popular wineries.
We visit Brianza often, but are especially glad to visit for the special wine events that they host. This month we were lucky to experience two special tastings of their excellent wines.
A couple of weeks ago, winemaker Tony Parnigoni, hosted a marketing tasting where visitors were able to try several vintages of his red wines and compare them, and also try their hand at blending some varietals and taste the results. For true wine lovers, it was an interesting experience.
This past weekend, library wines were brought out for tasting. Library wines are old vintages of the same wine. Vintages are the year the grapes were grown. Each vintage differs just a bit due to the differences in the weather and the changes that makes to the growing season. For instance, dry summers make for great red wines. As a relatively new winery the library wines are not very old, but there are still subtle distinct vintages. Brianza’s library wines were fun to try. Again, true wine lovers enjoy experiences such as this as they are always looking for new ways to learn about their favorite wines. Tony’s Cabernet Sauvignon is our favorite and has had several great vintages. The day was made even more enjoyable by the musical entertainment of Jeff Blackburn and Steve Maynard.
It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!by admin
Chrisman Mill Vineyard and Winery is one of the oldest wineries opened in Kentucky. They planted their first vines in 1997, released their first vintage in 1999, sold their wines at a tasting room in Lexington, and opened the vineyard tasting room to visitors in 2003. Since then, they have served tastings, had events, hosted special Tuscan dinners as well as other dinners, taken part in a number of festivals around the state, and have developed a tradition of fine wine.
For those who have not visited Chrisman Mill for a while, changes have arrived. There’s still a vineyard and winery, but now a distillery and a restaurant are there as well.
The vineyard itself is also changing. Old vines coming out and new ones being planted. Some new wines will be coming as well. Just released is an Old Vine Zinfandel. The grapes came from Lodi, California and were well worth it. The wine is a dry red with flavors of blueberry, raspberry, and spicy oak. It is a lovely addition to the menu. The décor is new as well but retains the welcoming ambiance that fans of the winery have come to expect.
The distillery, Hummingbird Ridge, is in the beginning stages with only one offering (for now). A Jamaican style small batch pot-stilled rum that retains the flavors and characteristics of the sugar can and blackstrap molasses. Tastings as well as a selection of mixed drinks are available and are delicious.
The restaurant, Fuego, features wood-fired dining in a Latin American and Argentinian style, but hand prepared with local all natural ingredients. A large grill in an outdoor kitchen is where most of the foods are prepared. Lunches and four-course dinners are available on the weekends. Check their website for times. We tried lunch and enjoyed it and are looking forward to trying dinner soon.
The Nelsons have made lots of changes over the years but one thing has remained the same – Chrisman Mill is one of the best examples of the wine industry in Kentucky. Chris has from the beginning crafted fine wines and now has added distiller to his repertoire. Denise is an amazing chef who has never created a dish that wasn’t well-prepared and flavorful.
The weather is good, summer is on its way. It would be a great time to become reacquainted with or to try out Chrisman Mill. My advice, make plans for a visit to Nicholasville. You’ll be glad you did!by admin
Every year since 2013 Jane’s Saddlebag, in Union, has hosted a wine festival in Boone County. This year’s festival takes place on June 18 and 19, from 11 to 6.
Lots of people in Northern Kentucky have discovered Jane’s Saddlebag over the years. It is a lovely spot to visit, explore, and relax for an interesting afternoon. There are shops, food, wine, a petting zoo, and they are making a bourbon. This pastoral location is a perfect spot for a wine festival. Visitors can stroll around the grounds, relax on the lawn, enjoy the music, and especially try some wines.
Check out their Facebook page for ticket information.
Nicholasville in Jessamine County, home to the first commercial winery in the United States, is now home to its third winery. Opening last year, 1922 House Vineyards and Winery are making some very interesting dry red wines, Norton wines, one which is aged in a bourbon barrel, Chambourcin wine, and a Noriet wine.
They are a small farm winery and will be opening a tasting room sometime in the future, hopefully in the summer. Check back on their website for updates about how they are coming along. The owner and winemaker, Brian Young, is from the business world and is new to the wine industry, but is enthusiastic and creative with a lot of ideas for developing his winery.
The name, 1922 House, comes from the house at the farm that was built in 1922. The setting for the winery is quite lovely. We’re looking forward to visiting their tasting room.
For the past several years, McConnell Springs has hosted a Barrel Tasting at some of the Bluegrass wineries as a fundraiser and, again this year, it was a success. Wine lovers spent the beautiful spring day traveling from winery to winery talking to wine makers and tasting their wines from the barrel. We chose four wineries to visit this year.
We started the day at Prodigy Vineyards and Winery in Frankfort with lunch and a taste of Cabernet Sauvignon. Both were lovely. Next we visited a rather new winery in Nicholasville, 1922 House Vineyards and Winery. We tried a very interesting Chambourcin and a Norton. Our next stop was at Talon Vineyards and Winery. We’ve visited many times in the past, but it had been a while. We tasted a new Malbec and will be back to try it. Our last visit of the day was to try the long awaited Zinfandel from Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery, and were also surprised with cocktails made from spirits from their soon to be open distillery.
Kentucky wine lovers get ready. There will be fun to be had at the wineries in the Bluegrass. Next Saturday (March 30) is the date for the McConnell Springs Barrel Tasting. If you’ve never been to a barrel tasting, you are in for a treat. Tasting a wine that is new and hasn’t been bottled gives you the opportunity to gain an insight into the depth a wine can reach as it ages. We’ve gone to many and have enjoyed them all. It is especially fun to try a favorite wine and then later look for the changes that have occurred after a few weeks in the bottle. You’ll gain a new appreciation for your wine. As a special treat, the wineries will usually have a few surprises ready for their guests.
Here is a link to the brochure for the event. Check it out for the wineries that will be pouring, the time, and the cost.
Hope to see you at one of the wineries. We’re looking forward to a good day!by admin