April 22, 2009

Celebrating its fifth year, the Kentucky Wine and Vine Fest will offer many opportunities for visitors to experience the state's growing grape and wine culture May 15 and 16. In 2005, the inaugural festival came on the heels of a grape revival in Kentucky, once known for its quality grape and wine production. Since then, the industry and the festival itself have grown by leaps and bounds.

The Kentucky Tourism Council recently named the Kentucky Wine and Vine Fest in its Top 10 Spring Festivals. This year's festival offers events that visitors have come to expect such as live music, a vendor fair and a tasting tent featuring many Kentucky wines as well as other domestic and international wines May 16.

"The festival is a great way to bring people to Jessamine County," said Marisa FitzGerald Aull, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Jessamine County. "We are proud to work with Nicholasville Now! to promote the festival and to promote our county. Visitors will meet some of the best vintners and winemakers in Kentucky. Jessamine County residents, and all who attend, can see what great wines Kentucky has to offer."

A fairly new addition to the festival is the Kentucky Wine Country bus tour. On May 15, the buses will take travelers to several Kentucky Wineries and Vineyards, including Chrisman Mill Vineyard and Winery and Equus Run, with lunch between visits at the Holly Hill Inn. Tickets for the tour are $65. The tour departs the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce at 9:30 a.m. EDT and returns to the same location at 4:30 p.m.

After the bus tour and an Amateur Wine Competition at Central Bank, visitors may attend the Wine Social, Dinner and Live Auction at Chrisman Mill Vineyards in Nicholasville. The event includes a wine tasting, live music and a meal catered by Chrisman Mill for $25 per ticket.

Kentucky Monthly magazine's Stephen M. Vest will sign his new book, "That Kind of Journalist," from noon to 3 p.m. EDT May 16. Before founding Kentucky Monthly a decade ago, Stephen M. Vest was an award-winning newspaper columnist and sportswriter. His previous book, "Briar Bits," spent a week on the Lexington Herald-Leader bestseller list.

Wineries and vineyards participating in the May event are: Chrisman Mill Vineyards, Nicholasville; Elk Creek Vineyards, Owenton; Wildside Vines, Versailles; Talon Winery and Vineyard, Lexington; Acres of Land Winery Inc., Richmond; La Ferme du Cerf, Dry Ridge; Stonebrook Winery, Melbourne; Equus Run Vineyards, Midway; and Wight-Meyer Vineyard & Winery, Shepherdsville.

Sponsors include Nicholasville Now!, Lexington Clinic, Kentucky Wine and Grape Council, Isenhour Incorporated, Wine Tutoring School, eSign and Graphics, Gourmet Goodies, Progress, Rogers Retreats & Gift Bags Galore, Chrisman Mill Vineyards, Kentucky Bank, Town Square Bank, Triple Crown Golf Cars, WUKY, Fox 56, Nicholasville Tourism Commission, Kentucky Main Street, Renaissance on Main, Kentucky Heritage Council and the Kentucky Tourism Council.

For tickets or more information contact Tonya Coleman at 859-881-3820 or send an e-mail to: tonyacoleman@windstream.net or visit the festival's Web site at http://www.kywineandvine.com.