News Date: 11/03/2009
Vintage Kentucky: The Vine to Wine Experience tells the story of Kentucky’s wine industry from its status as a national leader in the 1800s, to its demise as a result of Prohibition, to its current re-emergence. The 30-minute documentary, a project by the Kentucky Grape and Wine Council and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, will be shown statewide on KET with the first airing on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time (dates and times of additional airings are available at www.ket.org). The film, produced by New West LLC and The PPS Group, will have its private premiere showing on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at The Kentucky Center in Louisville.
“Kentucky’s history as being among the world leaders in growing grapes and producing quality wines is a fascinating story,” said Dennis Walter, president of the Kentucky Grape and Wine Council. “We want to let people know about that history, but more importantly we want them to know what’s happening now as we re-claim that history. More and more vineyards are springing up across the Commonwealth, and wonderful wines are being made and enjoyed right here.
“Kentucky Proud wineries are growing all over the Commonwealth,” Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer said. “This documentary will introduce viewers to a few of the people who are operating these wineries and producing award-winning wines. I urge everyone to watch this program and get to know these innovative, hard-working Kentuckians.”
Kentucky became home to the nation’s first commercial vineyard when in 1798 the Marquis de Lafayette’s winemaker, Jean-Jacques Dufour, planted what he called the “First Vineyard” on 600 acres of land in what is now Jessamine County. By the late 1800s Kentucky had become the country’s third-largest grape and wine producer. The industry was wiped out by Prohibition and didn’t begin its resurrection until 1976, when Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill allowing wineries to operate. Today Kentucky has more than 50 wineries and an estimated 500 acres dedicated to the growing of grapes.
Vintage Kentucky: The Vine to Wine Experience is the culmination of a year’s worth of work. After the Kentucky Grape and Wine Council and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture commissioned the production, filming began in August 2008 and was completed by the end of July 2009. The film features Kentucky vineyard owners, winemakers and 10 wineries. Scientists and wine industry experts from the University of Kentucky, who have helped Kentucky farmers make the transition to growing grapes, also appear in the film.
Already, the industry’s resurgence is having an impact on state tourism. Fueled by consumer interest in agritourism and the support of local farmers and businesses, visitation at Kentucky’s wineries continues to grow, and wineries offer a wide variety of experiences such as wine tastings, concerts, theme dinners, art shows and family-friendly events.
To find out more about Kentucky’s grape and wine industry, go to www.kentuckywine.com. For more information about the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s grape and wine marketing program, go to www.kyagr.com/marketing/plantmktg/grape.htm.
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