Category Archives: Regions

2 of the Best Wineries in the Bluegrass State

2 of the Best Wineries in the Bluegrass State

When people think of Kentucky, wine isn’t usually the first thing to come to mind. It’s no wonder: bourbon whiskey captures most of the attention. Kentucky produces 95 percent of the bourbon in the world and is home to some world-renowned distilleries that make exceptional whiskey.

However, Kentucky also boasts some excellent wineries with award-winning wines and beautiful views of the state’s hill country. Check out two of the best wineries in the Blue Grass State below.   

Purple Toad Winery

purpletoad

The largest winery in the state, Purple Toad Winery is located in Paducah in the western part of Kentucky. The winery was established by June and Allen Dossey, who felt inspired to plant a vineyard after visiting Napa Valley. They planted 2,500 vines, including Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. They eventually decided to take the next step and open a winery.

Today, Purple Toad Winery produces a variety of wines with grapes not only from Kentucky but also from California, Oregon, Washington, and New York. The winery has garnered a number of awards over the years, including numerous gold medals at the Kentucky Commonwealth Commercial Wine Competition.

In 2016, the winery took home the gold medal for the Black Strawberry, a sweet wine that blends its Blackberry and Strawberry wines, as well as for its Chocolate Strawberry. The winery’s other fruit wines include Blackberry Lemon and Black Peach, which blends peach and blackberry.  

Those interested in dry wines can also find plenty of options, including the Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a pleasant whiskey finish. The winery also makes a Cabernet Franc with Kentucky-grown grapes. Aged slightly in toast French oak barrels, this dry wine features a bit of a raspberry finish.

Purple Toad Winery is open daily and offers free tours led by a knowledgeable bartender. Those who can’t visit the winery can find its wines in liquor stores not only in Kentucky but also in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee.

Equus Run Vineyards

Located in Midway near Lexington, Equus Run Vineyards stands out as a winery in the middle of horse country. With historic stone fences and thoroughbred horse farms nearby, the winery was named a “Must See Hidden Treasure of the US” by CNN Travel.

The winery is operated by winemaker Cynthia Bohn, who started the winery in 1998 after a 31-year career with IBM. Equus Run Vineyards welcomes wine lovers to visit the estate for a self-guided tour of the beautiful vineyard. Visitors can view the different types of grapes and learn about the various trellis techniques used to protect the grapes.

Further, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities on the estate. These include fishing, walking in the promenade gardens, practicing their swing on the golf putting green, or kayaking on South Elkhorn Creek.

The winery also offers private tours for groups of 10 or more. This gives visitors a closer look at the viticulture and winemaking processes and includes a private wine tasting. In addition, Equus Run Vineyards operates a Picnic Program for groups of 10 or more. Groups can choose their gourmet picnic box lunch, in addition to sampling six wines. Guests can enjoy the variety of wines on the tasting room patio, in the gazebo, or on the bar veranda patio.

Equus Run Vineyards’ wines include the Cab Blanc de Noir, a sweet rosé that is similar to a White Zinfandel. This unique wine features aromas of citrus and cantaloupe and flavors of cherry, watermelon, and strawberries. Another white wine made at Equus Run Vineyards is the 2016 Chardonnay. Awarded a silver medal in 2016, this wine has flavors of fresh green apple and pear.

Red wine lovers can try the winery’s Zinfandel, which features notes of black cherry, currant, and blackberry. Further, Equus Run Vineyards makes a Merlot with aromas of dark berries and crème de cassis as well as fruit and vanilla bean flavors. Finally, the winery’s newest addition is the Bella Rosa, a Port-style dessert wine.

In addition to hosting individuals for tastings, Equus Run Vineyards invites guests to visit for the Tunes in the Vines series. For 20 years, the vineyard has hosted this Sunday afternoon event, which allows guests to enjoy live performances of local musicians at the Event Barn. Guests can sample the wines and even enjoy a picnic as they enjoy the music.

Purple Toad Winery and Equus Run Vineyards offer a great introduction into Kentucky’s beautiful, yet little-known wine country. Despite not being in a typical wine climate, these wineries produce excellent wines that you may find rival some of your favorites from more well-known vineyards. Before visiting, be sure to check the following websites for updates on the latest vintages released as well as information on tastings and events: purpletoadwinery.com and www.equusrunvineyards.com.

5 Events at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

5 Events at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

When it comes to wine festivals, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival stands out among the rest as a massive, 16-day event packed with great wine and culinary delights.  The festival features a number of tastings that showcase various wines from different viticulture regions in Australia. With events at numerous venues throughout the state of… Continue Reading

3 of the Best Wineries in the Lake Tahoe Area

3 of the Best Wineries in the Lake Tahoe Area

California often garners attention from wine enthusiasts for its wineries and vineyards in Northern California, especially in Napa and Sonoma. These are indeed some of the best wineries in the state, and even in the country, but the eastern side of the state, near Lake Tahoe, is also home to a number of award-winning wineries.… Continue Reading

Must-See Events at the 2019 Winter Wine Festival

Must-See Events at the 2019 Winter Wine Festival

Are you dreading the frigid weather and looking for a wine festival to liven up your winter? You’re not alone. In recent years, a number of winter wine festivals have been established for wine enthusiasts just like you. From the Southwest to the Northeast, wine festivals in the winter are happening all over, with one… Continue Reading

3 of the Best Wineries in Southern California

3 of the Best Wineries in Southern California

Northern California often draws attention from wine lovers for its vineyards and wineries. However, Southern California is also home to high-quality wineries. From the Santa Ynez Valley to Temecula, Southern California has plenty to offer wine enthusiasts. Check out the following list of three of the best wineries in Southern California.   Malibu Family Wines… Continue Reading

3 of the Best Wineries in the Russian River Valley

3 of the Best Wineries in the Russian River Valley

If you’re even a novice wine drinker, you’ve probably heard of California’s Sonoma County. Within this region lies a beautiful area called the Russian River Valley, which stands out as a fertile valley for grape growing. With rolling hills and a climate conducive to viticulture, this region boasts several award-winning wineries. Read on for a… Continue Reading

3 of the Best Wineries in Chile’s Maipo Valley

3 of the Best Wineries in Chile’s Maipo Valley

While many people may be familiar with the famous wineries in Argentina, they may not know that just across the Andes, Chile offers a number of outstanding wineries that are producing award-winning wines. Chile’s oldest wine-producing region—and one of its most prolific—is the Maipo Valley. Located near Chile’s capital, Santiago, the Maipo Valley has a… Continue Reading