Kentucky Ag News


Raise a glass to Kentucky wines at WineFest May 2-3


By CHRIS ALDRIDGE, Kentucky Agricultural News


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Thirteen Kentucky wineries have been confirmed to participate in the 13th annual Kentucky Proud Derby Festival WineFest May 2-3 on The Belvedere at Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville.


Tyler Madison, who manages the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Grape & Wine Marketing Program, said WineFest exposes Kentucky-made wine to people who are visiting Louisville for the May 6 Kentucky Derby. The WineFest will run from 5-9 p.m. both days.


“A lot of people come in from out of town and wouldn’t be exposed to a Kentucky winery if not for that festival,” Madison said. “So it enables somebody from Indiana or Ohio to recognize the quality of Kentucky wines and want to come back for a weekend to visit a Kentucky winery.


“There are also people who come back every year from local or surrounding areas, where the WineFest is a staple for them.”


The regulars will notice three first-time participants in this year’s WineFest:

  • Boucherie Vineyards & Winery near Spottsville in Henderson County,
  • Carriage House Vineyards near Auburn in Logan County, and
  • Jean Farris Winery near Lexington.


Kentucky wineries returning this year are:

  • Broad Run Vineyards near Louisville;
  • Elk Creek Vineyards near Owenton;
  • Horseshoe Bend Vineyards & Winery near Willisburg in Washington County and Jesters by Horseshoe Bend near Lebanon, the former location of WhiteMoon Winery;
  • McIntyre’s Winery & Berries near Bardstown;
  • Old 502 Winery in downtown Louisville;
  • Purple Toad Winery near Paducah;
  • Rose Hill Farm Winery near Butler in Pendleton County;
  • Smith-Berry Winery near New Castle in Henry County;
  • StoneBrook Winery near Camp Springs in Campbell County; and
  • Wight-Meyer Vineyard & Winery near Shepherdsville.


There will be cooking demonstrations every half hour on both days, and Logan Leet, owner of Old 502, will pair a wine with each dish.


Wight-Meyer won the second-most gold medals, five, in the Kentucky Proud Derby Festival Wine Competition in March. Patrons will be given the opportunity to taste Wight-Meyer’s and other medal-winning wines, and will be directed to them in a tasting guide distributed to attendees.


“We’re making strides,” Madison said of the state’s wine industry. “Kentucky is still incredibly small and our industry is young – it really didn’t take off before 2000. There’s still a lot of experimentation, but we’re starting to see better wines pop up more frequently.


“We’re taking a step in the right direction, but these are still teething years,” he added. “There are growing pains, but it’s a fun industry. It’s an exciting time seeing it all take shape. There’s a lot of collaboration and working together to determine who we [Kentucky wineries] are and where we fit in the industry [nationwide].”


Madison said wineries that participate in WineFest generally report a positive experience.


 “There are a lot of festivals out there, but this one seems to be successful for those that attend,” Madison said. “The Derby Festival does a great job running it, and it almost always sells out.”


Tickets, which cost $45 for general admission and $85 for VIPs, include a complimentary wine glass and event pin. Designated driver tickets will also be available at the door for $10 each.


Kentucky Proud products are showcased at WineFest, the They’re Off! Luncheon, and throughout the Kentucky Derby Festival leading up to the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. Visitors also can enjoy Kentucky Proud foods in dozens of Louisville restaurants.


For tickets and more information, go to