Exploring Kentucky | Wining in Western Kentucky

Article from the Lane Report.com

Lest you think the title is a misprint that should be “winning” and this month’s column is about basketball in the Purchase District, let me set you straight. Though those 1952 Cuba Cubs – the underdog team from Graves County that defeated the big boys, Louisville Manual, for the state championship – were amazing, we’re talking about wine in Kentucky’s western waterlands.

Currently, the Kentucky Grape and Wine Council lists seven wineries in that area, some well-established, some new, all worth a visit for sampling the commonwealth’s burgeoning wine industry, which has quite a history. After all, back in the 1800s, Kentucky was a leading grape-producing state, established the first commercial vineyard and first vineyard society in the nation in 1799 (Thomas Jefferson was a patron), and made its first wine in 1803. 

Western Kentucky’s longest-established facility is Paducah-based Purple Toad Winery, and it can’t seem to stop winning awards! Just last June at the Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University, owner Allen Dossey was named Winemaker of the Year.

“That’s like an Academy Award in the wine business,” says Dossey. “I was speechless, and that’s unusual for me.”

In addition, the winery brought home 16 medals, the most of any competitor at the event, which attracted more than 2,000 entries from 11 countries and 40 states.

Kentucky’s largest winemaker, Purple Toad produced more than 50,000 gallons in 2017. A new 20,000-s.f. processing room has just been completed to replace its cramped 2,500-s.f. space and by summertime, distribution should cover five states. Currently offering 37 wines, Purple Toad – its logo is a Costa Rican tree frog with red eyes and purple, grape-stomping toes – is known for fruit wines.

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Kyndle would like to thank The Gleaner and Union County First for the use of images throughout this site.