Local foods are moving into the spotlight more and more these days. As we celebrate our rich agricultural history we see traditional foods taking center stage. The Bluegrass Region is famous for Bourbon, which gains its specific local flavor from our unique geology and the calcium found in limestone rock. Lesser known but equally enjoyable are the local wines now gaining popularity in our region. Tonight, in partnership with Old 502 Winery we will be toasting our Parkland Members at a special members-only wine tasting in Gheens Foundation Lodge.
Old 502 Winery is located right in the heart of downtown Louisville where they produce wines made from locally grown grapes. While Kentucky wines may not have the recognition of those from Napa Valley or Southern France; historically Kentucky was a great producer of wine. In the early 1800’s wineries flourished in the Bluegrass Region, and Kentucky emerged as the third largest wine producer in the country. You may wonder why Kentucky did not remain on the map as a destination spot for wine connoisseurs everywhere. The answer can be found in a piece of legislation passed in 1919. Kentucky was two months ahead of the rest of the nation in passing a Prohibition law which made it illegal to produce or sell alcoholic beverages, eliminating the wine industry in our state. Fields of grapes were quickly replaced by fields of tobacco.
Prohibition was repealed in 1933, but it was not until 1976 that production of wine was again allowed in the state. The money from tobacco settlements helped to encourage agricultural production of other crops, such as grapes. We are now home to a thriving wine industry, producing an estimated 100,000 cases each year, which supports the local economy and encourages tourists to visit our state and to sample the premium wines it has to offer. We can’t wait to taste Old 502 Winery’s selection from right here in Louisville, Ky.
Want to learn more?
Watch this video for more about growing grapes in Kentucky: