This weekend is the N Ky Wine Festival sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Vintners and Grape Growers Association. It’s being held at a nifty new venue: the Bank of Kentucky Center at NKU. Since this is where I’ll be seeing Cirque du Soleil later this year, I’m excited to see the venue. It’s also air conditioned and protected from the rain, which are both important given our current streak of weather.
Kentucky grapes? Yes, actually. Those tobacco fields aren’t getting much use now that smoking is being banned in many states and causing cancer in general. But they do provide the perfect soil for growing grapes. I admit, Kentucky wineries are still young and growing, but you might be surprised about the quality of many of the wines.
The N Ky Wine Festival is all Kentucky wines, but not all of Kentucky’s wineries. Some of our favorites that are attending include Ashwood Cellars, Elk Creek Vineyards (which is right up the road in Owenton), Wildside Winery/Wildside Vines, and Chrisman Mill.
The wine festival isn’t just wine though. It’s an opportunity to try some tasty Kentucky Proud snacks. I tend to buy a lot of these products at Remke; I’m a big Ky Proud supporter because the food is just so good. In addition to food, there will also be crafts such as ceramics, rustic furniture, and jewelry. Last year these vendors were mixed in well with the wineries, giving you a chance to enjoy your wine and keeping the wine tables from being too crowded.
The wine festival runs from 2-9 pm on Saturday. Tickets are supposedly $15 if you buy them ahead of time, but I’d encourage you to buy them at the door. It looks like you can only buy them ahead of time through Ticketmaster, which tacks on $6.65 in fees. If you’re going to pay more than $15 for the ticket, make sure the money goes to the Grape Growers Association and not Ticketmaster.
If You Go
I was lucky enough to be a judge for this year’s wine festival (last year’s as well), so make sure you taste the wines with gold and silver medals. I also recommend the Sangiovese and the Blush from Elk Creek, the Cabernet from Ashwood Cellars, and the Sweet Jessamine Blush from Chrisman Mill. Last year Chrisman Mill was also offering their sweet blackberry dessert wine with a shot of Woodford Reserve bourbon. That mixture was fantastic.
UPDATE: I’ve seen differing prices, including $17 and $22. So somewhere in there is the correct price, plus Ticketmaster fees.
Update: We just got back from the N Ky Wine Festival. I still
encourage everyone to go. However, I want to make clear that the press
releases and other information I was given were a little incorrect or,
perhaps, purposefully vague. For instance, the Bank of Kentucky Center
is indeed hosting the wine festival, but not inside. From what several
vintners told us, the festival was originally supposed to be inside
but the facility isn’t quite finished yet. Therefore, the festival is
outside in tents. Please make sure that if you’re tasting wine, you
taste chilled red and whites. It’s hot out there and that does affect
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