The 2nd annual Northern Ky Wine Festival is happening on Saturday, May
18 19, in Alexandria, KY, only a few minutes south of Cincinnati. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Northern Kentucky Vintners & Grape Growers Association (NKVGGA) education programs and the Camp Springs Initiative.
This year’s festival is even bigger and better than last year’s event; in fact, the festival is four times bigger than the inaugural outing. There are 11 Kentucky wineries attending, along with craft and food vendors. You won’t find standard festival fare either. The food vendors are unique, including perennial favorite Graeter’s Ice Cream, PJs Chicago Style hot dogs, Bryan Vineyards scallops and shrimp, Tasty Treat Confections, and the Creekside Garden Market fajita bar. In addition, Mustard Seed Gourmet will be offering wraps, panninis, box lunches, and French picnics to go with your wine. Mustard Seed Gourmet is also offering cooking demonstrations throughout the afternoon. For those who want something different from wine, Milestones Equestrian Achievement/Therapeutic Riding Program is sponsoring a beer booth, with proceeds going directly to the charity.
There are 11 wineries attending the event, with the possibility of more. The wineries are from throughout the state, and range in size from small farming vineyards to larger, commercial wineries. (A full list of wineries can be found at the end of the article, after the jump.) Two wine competitions will take place: the multi-state amateur competition and a statewide Kentucky Wine Competition. Winners will be on display throughout the festival. The wine judging will take place the weekend prior to the event by a varied panel of judges. (You can view the results of the competition here and read about our experience as judges here.)
Craft vendors will all be located in one area and and include everything from sauces and Kentucky Proud food items to jewelry, dolls, and art. Party Town, an event sponsor, is staffing a booth that offers cheeses, candies and other gourmet items. They are also offering sessions on sensory evaluation of wine at their booth. The festival is offering a wide variety of musical acts throughout the day, starting at 2:30 pm and running through 9 pm. A full schedule of the musical acts can be found on the festival web site.
What gave you the idea for the festival?
"Since it’s inception in late 2004, the Northern Kentucky Vintners & Grape Growers (NKVGGA) has a passion for promoting and growing the wine industry in Kentucky. As part of the mission of the association, the group decided that a wine festival promoting the wines of Kentucky would be a perfect medium to convey that message, hence the birth of the Northern Kentucky Wine Festival. In early 2005, a group of dedicated members started the planning. Our first festival was held under a tent with ten Kentucky wineries, one food vendor and 15 booths for arts, crafts and other products. Four musical groups played that day. It was a glorious and sunny day, and attendance was in the 500-600 person range. There were flaws, to be sure, but overall, we seemed to have found an event that people enjoyed attending."
There are two other wine festivals happening that weekend: The West Chester Wine Festival at VOA park in West Chester and Dayton’s Fleur des Fetes. If folks are going to pick just one festival to attend, why should they pick the Northern Ky festival?
"I am sure that oenophiles are just going to have a tough decision to make for this particular weekend. The West Chester Wine and Food Festival at VOA Park is along the same lines as the Northern Ky Wine Festival, promoting the Ohio wine industry and the history of winemaking in Ohio…but their event is both Friday and Saturday – so wine lovers can attend the Ohio event on Friday, and the Northern Ky event on Saturday – it’s the best of both worlds. Dayton’s event is on a Sunday – so that rounds out a full weekend of wine events for wine lovers. For those that can only choose one event? It’s a hard choice, but we hope that event goers will find the Northern Ky Wine Festival has something for everyone and promotes and benefits several organizations that serve the Northern Kentucky community through the year. Not to mention great wines."
Of course the overall goal of this festival is to help put Kentucky wines on the map. We have our own appellations and we’re growing vinifera in those old tobacco fields. Throw in some great music, gourmet foods, and unique crafts, and you have a recipe for success. We hope to see you at this festival!
The Northern Kentucky Wine Festival
Saturday, May 19
2 pm – 9 pm
Tickets: Wine Sampling Admission – $15 with 5 sampling tickets, General admission: $5
Tickets are available at now at Party Town and Stonebrook Winery, or at the gates the day of the event. Show your Remke Shopper’s Card or membership in the Beringer-Crawford Museum to receive $2 off the admission price.
Current List of Wineries
Acres of Land Winery, Richmond
Chrisman Mill Vineyards & Winery, Nicholasville
Elk Creek Vineyards, Owenton
Stonebrook Winery, Camp Springs
Lost Heritage Winery, Alexandria
Vintner’s Cellar, Mall Road in Florence (no kidding!)
Wildside Vines, Versailles (no web site)
Horseshoe Bend, Willisburg (no web site)
Long Lick Winery, Willisburg (no web site)
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