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.
Valentine’s Day brings to mind thoughts of love and romance. If you’re a wine lover, thoughts of sharing a bottle of wine with your love one will not be far behind.
Many wine experts are recommending rosé as the perfect wine for romance. Some say reds are best. Here’s my advice — choose your favorite wine. Make it a special one that you only have on special days. Whether the wine is red, white, or rosé doesn’t matter. What matters is the person you are sharing it with!
Have a wonderful, romantic Valentine’s Day with that special person!by admin
Has the winter blues got you down? For those who live close to Boone County, I have just the cure. Verona Vineyards is open from Thursday through Sunday. The wine and the atmosphere will cheer you up.
For those who enjoy sweeter wines, the winery is offering a Pinot Grigio. This is an Italian grape that makes a lovely wine. The wine has a light straw color, with floral aromas, and flavors of tropical fruits. I would recommend it to anyone who likes their wine on the sweet side. For those who enjoy a bolder, dryer red, Verona Vineyard’s Cabernet Franc is lovely with flavors of dark cherries, with just a hint of chocolate.
They are also offering a new wine for them, a Petit Verdot. This wine is newly bottled and while it is enjoyable now, it will get better as it ages. Look for fruit and strawberry flavors with bold tannins.
Last weekend, we stopped by for a couple of hours, tasted some wine and relaxed. We were pleased to chat with Dan (the owner and winemaker) for a while and got some hints about some new wines coming soon and the possibility of another off-site tasting room. I’ll let you know when this happens.
Verona Vineyards also offer events during the winter months. Go to their website (check the links) to find dates and times.by admin
As 2016 winds down, cuddle with a loved one and your favorite Kentucky wine. 2016 brought a lot of changes, not all of them good, but let’s raise a toast for a better 2017! Hope to have some book news for you soon! Also, look forward to sharing some wine news!
Hope your new year is a great one!
Hope all you wine lovers have a red and white Christmas, not a blue one.
Best wishes from the Kentucky Wine Lover!
A couple of years ago, we were able to taste a really good wine from a new winery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. We kept promising ourselves that we would visit the winery and kept that promise this summer.
Rising Sons Farm Winery is a charming farm winery, owned and operated by Francine and Joe Sloan. Rising Sons has a cozy tasting room and many good wines, some that are not the varietals you might expect. They do offer wines made from Norton, Chambourcin, and Vidal Blanc, those standard Kentucky grapes. But you’ll also find a Vignoles, a Baco Noir, and a St. Vincent.
The St. Vincent is not very well known. Though it is often grown in Missouri, even there it is described as an orphan grape, with a mystery of its parentage and growth. It is agreed that it is a French-American hybrid, but that’s where the agreement seems to end. Francine referred to it as a problem child in the vineyard. But Rising Sons uses it to make a very interesting wine, with an interesting name and label – Crazy Llama Red, with a Barnyard Collection label.
Other labels feature their Italian heritage, such as Cataldo’s Salute, an aged Norton, Maria’s Dolce Rosato, and Bellissimo Bianco, a Cayuga. Visitors there to taste wine also get to taste a yummy Norton wine jelly.
You might want to visit their website (check my links) and blog. I found the recipes on the blog especially interesting. If you find yourself near Lawrenceburg, you’ll want to stop at this appealing winery.
Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery has always had a tasting room in Lexington, even before the Vineyard was able to open to the public. For the last few years, the tasting room was at Hamburg. For a lot of reasons, they decided to move. The Winery of Chrisman Mill opened in June, on the outside of Fayette Mall, just a couple of doors from the Cheesecake Factory and next door to Chipotle. The Winery at Fayette Mall is a welcome addition to one of central Kentucky’s favorite shopping sites. The décor is unique with beautifully displayed wine gifts, wine racks, an antique cork collection display, an arrangement of old vines on one wall, and a long tasting bar with a mood feature. What’s that, you ask. A section of the bar allows you to rest your hand and find out your current mood. Just like the old mood rings, you can find out if you are happy or anxious. After tasting, you might want to buy a glass, or a bottle, and relax at a table or on the sofa in a corner that just sends out a welcoming message. The winery offers a selection of truffles created and made by Denise. They are yummy. Other snacks are also available.
The setting is just perfect for relaxing in the midst of a busy day shopping or making a special trip to experience a fun day at the Winery.
As many of you have noted, I’ve not been keeping up with the wine news lately. After injury, surgery, recovery, and physical therapy for three long months, I’m back. I’ll try to catch up with all that’s been happening. I’ve even been able to visit a few wineries and attend a couple of events. I’ll write about those later. Check back soon.
Elk Creek Vineyards is under new ownership. The Papina family, with over a hundred years of wine making experience, are the new owners. Originally from California, they are introducing new wines and new ideas to Kentucky wine lovers. The winery is now open seven days a week, with the Café opening 1 hour after the 10 AM opening of the winery. Events are planned all summer long. Check out their website for more information at http://www.elkcreekvineyards.com
Brianza Gardens and Winery is now open 6 days a week. Their new hours are Tuesday to Friday 11 to 5, Saturday 11 to 8, Sunday 1 to 5, or by appointment. Many scheduled special events are planned. Check out their website at http://brianzagardens.com
Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery has opened a new tasting room. The Fayette Mall Tasting Room is located just in front of the mall, next to Chipotle’s. The hours there are Monday to Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM and 1 to 6 on Sundays. The tasting room at the vineyard hosts special events and is available for private parties. For more information, visit https://www.chrismanmill.com/
If your last visit to Verona Vineyards has been a couple of years, you might not know that they have a tasting room in the town of Rabbit Hash in the old iron works building. Both sites are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Check their website for the hours at http://www.veronavineyards.com
Just a few bits of news for those wine lovers that are looking for a place to visit and try some Kentucky wines.by admin