A special holiday for those of us who love our grapes in a glass, February 18th is National Drink Wine Day. Get ready wine lovers, find your favorite bottle, pour a glass, and toast the day. As a wine lover, it’s your duty to support the holiday!
For the 11th year, wine lovers of Kentucky have the opportunity to support the state’s history and taste some really good wine at the “Wine Barrel Tasting for the Springs.” Eighteen of Central Kentucky’s wineries will be giving tastes of a wine that is still aging in the barrel.
McConnell Springs, a National Historic Site, is the location where William McConnell and a group of explorers camped in 1775. While there, news reached them of a victory at Lexington, Massachusetts in the Revolutionary War. They named that future settlement Lexington. Today, visitors can visit the site with its natural landscape and historical remains of that early settlement. Proceeds from the Barrel Tasting will help fund improvements at McConnell Springs.
Each spring many wineries of the state that are within an hour’s drive of Lexington participate in this event. This year the event takes place on March 31, 2018. For $20, a person can travel around the Bluegrass at their own pace and in their own vehicle visiting their choice of participating wineries, and receive a commemorative glass.
Many wine lovers are familiar with barrel tastings and have enjoyed experiencing the stages of aging of their favorite wines. If you are new to the wine world and have never tried wine from the barrel, it is really a treat. Wine makers, while sharing facts about the wine, will draw wine directly from the barrel with some sort of wine thief and pour it directly into the taster’s glass. Wines change as they age and wine makers try the wine at different stages to be sure that it has reached the taste they want. A barrel tasting is an opportunity for wine lovers to be a part of this process.
Check my links page for more information on McConnell Springs.
We have enjoyed the “Wine Barrel Tasting for the Springs” many times in the past and look forward to the event this year. What a good way to celebrate the beginning of spring!
Last week, when the weather was still cold and terrible, we decided it would boost our spirits to visit our favorite local winery. We spent a couple of hours visiting Brianza Gardens and Winery. Not only did we have some wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, but we also got to talk with Tony about wine, upcoming events, and his recent remodel of the tasting room.
From a beautiful antique swinging door to the lovely mural on the back wall, the additional space in the tasting room is fantastic. It adds seating room and gives the winery a much roomier, welcoming space. The room also connects to the party and event space and when there is music, visitors will be able to hear the music while still visiting with friends. If you haven’t been able to visit Brianza for a while, you’re in for a treat. An afternoon there will brighten even the dreariest of dreary winter days.
Jim Wight started making wine as a hobby and as an amateur created many wines that were enjoyed by his friends. His success led him to give professional winemaking a try. Early in the 2000s, he planted a vineyard and in 2007 opened a winery in Bullitt County. As they say, the rest is history. Jim is one of Kentucky’s best winemakers. Not only has he won many awards for his wines, but has also been a guide for some of the state’s other wineries.
Recently, Jim has created wines from some unusual hybrids. He is making a delightful white wine from a new grape called Cabernet Doré, a hybrid of Norton and Cabernet Sauvignon. What? A white? It is thought to have developed as a white grape due to a recessive white gene, likely from Sauvignon Blanc, a parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. Wight’s Cabernet Doré is a smooth dry white. His other new wine is a Rosé made with the Zinthiania grape, a hybrid of Norton and Zinfandel. With notes of dried strawberries and cranberries, the wine is delicious.
A visit to Wight-Meyer Vineyard and Winery will be a treat for all wine lovers. No matter what your tastes are in wine, you will find something there you will love.
Saturday was a chilly fall day, but that didn’t stop the wine lovers that visited the festival at Brianza Gardens and Winery. There were many visitors enjoying the vendors, Browning’s Ham food truck, the music of Holly Spears, and, of course, the wonderful wine.
Festivities began early in the day, but we arrived in the late afternoon and the vendors were closing down. It was easy to tell that visitors had been enjoying themselves for hours. We were there several hours and had a great time as we always do. We chose Saturday to stop by for the food and the music that was scheduled.
We have been fans of Browning’s Ham and have visited the farm for several years, but this year he has added a food truck and brings his food to fairs, festivals, and events around the state. We had ham sliders that were delicious. We also tasted his ribs and just had to bring some home for later. If you see his big red food truck, be sure to give it a try. The food is really good!
Holly Spears is a well-known singer around Nashville, whose music includes folk, country, pop, and Christian. Her show is excellent. She has a lovely voice and performed some of our favorites, including covers of Chris Stapleton’s Traveller and Maren Morris’s My Church. Holly really puts on a good show and we are looking forward to seeing her again.
The wine is always worth a visit. The new release of Tony’s Cabernet Sauvignon is worth the trip. We also were treated to some birthday cake as Tony and Deb were celebrating Deb’s birthday. It was a really good time!
Visitors to one of Kentucky’s oldest and most popular wineries are in for a surprise when they walk through the door of the vineyard tasting room. As you arrive, the vineyard still welcomes you as you drive up the hill to the parking area, the walk to the tasting room is the same, but then you notice the changes.
The new décor reflects a fresh, new look for the winery. Wine lovers will also want to look for a new wine release, with a new name and label – Dragonfly. While the vineyard is only open on special days, watch for those days. The visit is worth it!
The Winery of CM at Fayette Mall is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 AM to 9 PM and on Sundays, from 1 to 6 PM. Wine gifts, specialty foods, and of course, wine is available there for visitors. Come in, taste, or buy a glass and relax for a while. A visit to the Winery is an excellent break in a day of shopping!
Wine lovers in Northern Kentucky are in luck. Brianza wines are available for tasting and purchase at Vom Fass at Crestview Towne Center and you’ll find some olive oils and balsamic vinegar selections from Vom Foss at the winery in southern Boone County.
Brianza Gardens and Winery have been welcoming wine lovers for over two years. They are open six days a week and host many special events. Their wines range from the dry full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon to the lighter Sweet Bottom White. There’s something for all tastes and they are all well made by winemaker, Tony Parnigoni.
For those who have not discovered Vom Fass, the shop is located in Crestview Towne Center on the corner just across from Dillards. They offer an interesting selection of oils and vinegars, as well as wines and spirits. Tastings are offered of all of their offerings. Shoppers can enjoy tasting limoncello, brandies, wines, olive oils, and balsamic vinegars all at the same place. Check out their website to learn about the shop and their special events.
Look in my links to check out both websites. You’ll be glad you did!by admin
Just a few short years ago, Verona wine would bring thoughts of Italy and centuries of grapevines and vino; but believe it or not Verona, Kentucky has become a wine destination. In mid-June wine lovers spent the afternoon touring the offerings of one vineyard and three wineries located just minutes from each other in southern Boone County. The county is something of a dichotomy with Florence Mall and all of the stores located on Mall Road and Houston Road, and the southern part of the county being mostly rolling farm land with cattle, and fields of hay and tobacco. In recent years, vineyards started popping up on some of those southern Boone County farms. Wine lovers seem to be pleased.
The oldest of these vineyards is Verona Vineyards, started in 2011. Dan and Peggy Montgomery have developed quite a following both at the winery and vineyards at the Verona farm and the tasting room at Rabbit Hash.
Brianza Gardens and Winery was opened in 2015 and in a short time developed loyal fans who enjoy the wine, the events, and the gorgeous setting. Tony Parnigoni, the owner and winemaker, offers a wide variety of wines to appeal the all wine lovers.
Schoolyard winery opened their doors in 2016. The winery occupies the building, built in 1914, that once held the town’s school. Gary Younts, winemaker and veteran developed his love for wine in Germany and now greets visitors that want to try his wine and tour the old school building.
The grapes at Verona Landing Vineyards, grown by Greg Palmer, are sold to Verona Vineyards. The vineyard is not open to the public usually but welcomed visitors for this event. Wine lovers were able to taste the wines made from their grapes, tour the vineyard, and see the planes that are the reason for the name.
Wine lovers and visitors were able to learn about the grapes and enjoy a beautiful day with wine and music at these southern Boone County destinations.by admin
In 2007 vines were planted to reestablish the vineyards at the site of the first commercial vineyard in the United States, near Nicholasville, Kentucky. First Vineyard Winery soon followed. Today, wine lovers can visit the winery that one can imagine resembles what one might have found in 1799. But of course, the current winery contains all the modern conveniences.
According to Kentucky wine history, Jean Jacques Dufour, sold stocks to the directors and the Society for Promoting and Cultivation of the Vine in Lexington, Kentucky, and established the first commercial vineyard in First Vineyard, Kentucky, in November 1798. The vineyard was located in Jessamine County, overlooking the Kentucky River. The vineyard produced wine that was enjoyed by the directors in Lexington. After a killing freeze in 1809, Dufour and his family relocated to Vevay, Indiana, where he developed Second Vineyard.
First Vineyard welcomes visitors from 1 to 7, Fridays through Sunday. They offer a variety of wines for all tastes. From a unique dry white, Cabernet Doré, to a Kenkoolas, a peachy wine slushy, visitors can choose a drink and enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the porch of the tasting room imagining themselves in the same spot in the early 1800s sipping a new Kentucky wine.
They also have lodging at the Sugar Creek Resort. Check my link to their website.by admin
Wine lovers in the Bluegrass had a new winery to visit in 2014. Just off I 64, near Winchester, Hamon Haven Winery opened its doors. Visitors are welcomed into a lovely, cozy tasting room from Monday to Saturday, on a flexible schedule. It’s best to call ahead. They have some nice wine gifts as well as a great selection of Kentucky wine.
Native grapes, such as, Catawba, Concord, and Niagara, can be found side by side with Chardonnay and Merlot. A unique wine offered at Hamon Haven is a Zinthiana. Yes, the spelling is correct. A grape breeding program to combine Vinifera grapes with the native Norton resulted in this hybrid. Zinthiana is a red hybrid, more hardy for the cold temperatures in Kentucky than a Zinfandel, the grape produces a high quality, robust, red wine with jammy flavors. The grape has become available to vineyards and I think you’ll be seeing more of this hybrid in Kentucky.
We visited Hamon Haven Winery during the McConnell Springs barrel tasting and certainly enjoyed meeting the winemaker and trying this new wine.