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MAIN Arrow to Wine Wines Arrow to Wines North America North America Arrow to American Wines USA Arrow to Wines of Kentucky Kentucky

Kentucky wines & vineyardsAccording to the Kentucky Department of Tourism, Kentucky was the site of America's first commercial vineyard, planted in 1798 by the winemaker for the Marquis de Lafayette.

By the late 1800's, Kentucky was the third largest grape and wine producer in the United States. Prohibition hit the regions wine industry as it did in many other American states. Vineyards were either uprooted and converted to cash crops or abandoned throughout the state.

Today, through a cost-share program supported by the State of Kentucky's Vineyard Assistance Program, over 250 acres of grapes have been planted in Kentucky, like the Chrisman Mill Vineyards & Winery near Lexington, Kentucky, above.

According to the University of Kentucky the most common wine grapes grown in Kentucky are American cultivars Concord, Niagara, Norton; Hybrids Cayuga white, Chambourcin, Chardonel, M. Foch, Traminette, Seyval, Vidal blanc, Vignoles; and European cultivars Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Although Kentucky has not caught up to other wine producing areas, more than a dozen commercial wineries have taken root, primarily in the fertile central bluegrass region, but also in the northern and eastern parts of the state.

Will Kentucky wines one day become as popular as fine Kentucky bourbon? As they say in the vineyard, time will tell.

Meanwhile, there are already many Kentucky wineries where visitors can enjoy wine tours and tastings and you can look forward to more cropping up every year...


More information about Kentucky wine around the Web:


Kentucky Tourism - Wine
- Just scroll down to the wine category for a good rundown of the Kentucky wineries and vineyards with details on wine tasting tours, events and visitor hours with links to official Web sites.

"Growing the Grape" in Kentucky and Indiana - This archived illustrated feature from the Wine Lover's Page spotlights the Broad Run Vineyard in Louisville, and the Huber Winery in Starlight, Indiana with background and historic info, interviews, and wine tasting notes.

 

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