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The 4 Best Wine Festivals In Kentucky

Will Beck
Last Updated: July 31st, 2023

When you think of Kentucky, what comes to mind? The Kentucky Derby and mint juleps are the answer most people give. However, this state is so much more. It has a very diverse landscape, with tall mountain peaks covered with snow overlooking the state, and fields full of fresh produce ready to be harvested.

Fresh water coming from rivers irrigates the land, and beautiful lush green forests inhabit many wild species. It is a perfect place for anyone looking for a getaway from their busy life, with scenic views, delicious food, and many different alcohols to indulge in.

In this article, we will take a look at the history of wine in the state and check out the best wine festivals in Kentucky for you to discover.

Winemaking in Kentucky Through the Ages

winemaking in kentucky through the ages

Kentucky is known for producing about 95% of the world’s bourbon, however, it is also a native of the wine industry. In the 1800s, it was known as the Rhine of America, being the third largest producer of wine despite the crop damage from the civil war.

Winemaking however was stopped due to prohibition in the state. This law was overturned and legislation was passed in 1976 that allowed wineries to restart wine production, and return to their roots. Due to this, in the last 20 years, Kentucky has reentered the wine scene and is excelling.

Kentucky is also a history and wine lover’s paradise, with the oldest commercial estate winery in the States, the Baker-Bird winery, present here in Augusta. This winery has seen its fair share, withstanding prohibition and civil war, since 1798, still functioning and producing high-quality wines.

It also offers modern wines and wine tastings, on its original vineyard land, making a perfect mix of old and new. If I were you, I would book my next trip to experience a wine tasting of internationally acclaimed wines in this historical estate.

How Have The Wineries In This State Progressed?

The bluegrass state has a very fertile land perfect for agriculture, producing delectable wines from around 20 different varieties of grapes, and different fruits as well as vegetables.

In a short period of 20 years, this incredible state has more than 65 wineries ranging from family-run small wineries to large vineyards holding tastings and festivals for their delicious blends.

These wines are not just loved by locals or visitors, but some have also won awards and are internationally acclaimed having had a hand in boosting tourism as well.

Sipping on these wines, and enjoying the breath of fresh air at these picturesque vineyards is nothing short of a dream. Be it a romantic trip for two, or a girl’s trip to the south, wine tasting in this state is a must.

So is the experience of wine festivals that take place throughout the year in this state, providing a variety of wines under one roof, music, food, and conversations with fellow wine lovers.

The wine festivals allow you to interact with many wine-makers who passionately explain their craft and journeys and support local vendors. So let me take you over a list of wine festivals you do not want to miss!

The Top Wine Festivals in Kentucky

The Kentucky Wine and Vine fest

kentucky wine and vine fest
Image: KY Wine Fest
  • Where is the festival?
    100 Park Drive, Nicholasville, KY, United States
  • When is the festival?
    Saturday, 18 June 2022, 1:00-9:00 pm, to be announced for 2023
  • Ticket Pricing: $5 admission, $25 for tastings, to be announced for 2023

This is a 21 or older event, held in Nicholasville annually, and has come to be loved by locals and tourists alike. It is a part of a weekend-long soirée with the first event consisting of mouthwatering food made from fresh ingredients by local chefs and a silent auction.

The main event is on the second day and includes wineries from all over the state allowing one to experience the craftsmanship and quality of Kentucky wines, eat tasty foods, and dance along to some music. This event will also bring together Kentucky’s arts and craft vendors, so you can take a souvenir or two home.

‘Run for the Merlot’ contest will also be arranged at 2 pm, to keep you thoroughly entertained. A kid’s area with inflatables will be set up to keep them engaged while you can visit different wine booths.

The best thing to look forward to will be a chance to learn about good wine from the ones who make it best, taking a wine walk and meeting new people from different parts of the country.

As far as traditions go, this Kentucky tradition is an all-rounder fun event, ending the night with a beautiful show of fireworks that will stay with you for a long time.

The Wine and Vine Fest will be arriving in 2023 including an early bird discount, so if I were you, I would be keeping a lookout.

Etown Wine Fest

etown wine fest

  • Where is the festival?
    Freeman lake Park, Blue Heron Way Elizabethtown, KY 42701, United States
  • When is the festival?
    Saturday, 17 September 2022, 5:00-10:00 pm
  • Ticket Pricing: $25 for admission and 8 tasting tickets

This will be the 7th annual wine festival to be held in Elizabethtown, welcoming people from all over the country to come together for the love of wine. This festival will include multiple wineries, allowing you to get a true sense of the wines in this state while dancing along to live music.

Multiple food options will also be available to indulge any foodie, along with some beer if that is what you fancy. A state classic, some exquisite bourbon will also be available for you to taste, giving you more than what you came for.

This is the perfect event to drink away and destress, as an entry-only/designated driver ticket will also be available for only $10. So get ready, and buy your ticket before they all sell out!

BG Wine Fest

bg wine fest

  • Where is the festival?
    Historic RailPark and Train Museum, 401 Kentucky Street, Bowling Green, KY, United States
  • When is the festival?
    Saturday, July 9, 2022, 12:00-6:00 PM, to be announced for 2023
  • Ticket Pricing: $25 admission

This festival takes place annually in Bowling Green, in the south of Kentucky, hosted by the Kentucky Wineries Association. It includes an experience like no other, allowing you to sip on wines kept at the Historic RailPark & Train Museum including wines from all over the bluegrass state.

You will get a chance to mingle with new people, and shop at the booths with accessories and decor items set up by local vendors while sipping on the wine. Wine is also great paired with food available to be purchased all day.

Starting at noon, the fun will begin as Marquee Backstage will be there to keep you thoroughly entertained. So, keep a lookout for when tickets become available because this is one event you would not want to miss!

Louisville Wine & Food Experience

louisville wine & food experience

  • Where is the festival?
    Norton Commons, Prospect, KY, United States
  • When is the festival?
    October 1, 2022, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Ticket Pricing: $100 for the VIP ticket, $65 for Grand tasting ticket

This event is being held exclusively by ‘USA today’ in Louisville, and will only allow people aged 21 or over to enter. Get ready to bask in the sun, while you sip on your wine enjoying delicious food prepared by local chefs excelling in their fields.

If you are lucky enough to get a very limited VIP ticket, you are in for a treat. You will get to enter an hour before the actual event, and have unlimited tastings of delicious craft beers and delectable wines from all over the state, as well as exclusive wines.

Another advantage will be exclusive access to the culinary demonstration stage and the cellar stage where you will be able to view and learn from the top chefs of Louisville.

The Grand tasting would get you an unlimited tasting of food made by the best local chefs, and access to their demonstrations as well as sommelier and mixology seminars at the Cellar. Wine and craft beer tasting will also be included.

This festival will make you forget all your troubles as you taste some fine wine, meet new people and enjoy the music. This event is too tempting to miss, and the tickets are running out fast, so go ahead and get yours as they get more expensive on the day!

About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with whiskey a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee with spectacular scenery whilst he coordinates behind the scenes of the Drink Stack blog!

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