When we think of American wine, we tend to think of California. Although the Golden State wineries are certainly the most well-known, wine production in the U.S. actually began quite some time ago, and some 2,300 miles away.
Jean-Jacques Dufour, who had previously made wine in France, set out to find land in the New World whose climate was comparable to that of his homeland. After searching around a bit, the first American vines were planted just outside Lexington, Kentucky in the last two years of the 1700s.
Wine production grew rapidly throughout the 1800s, and the state was known throughout the union for its quality product. The Kentucky wine industry thrived even during the Civil War and successfully combatted patches of bad weather and vine diseases.
Unfortunately, when Prohibition was passed in 1920 the Kentucky wine industry was entirely decimated. Unlike other similar fields, like beer and spirits, it didn’t pick back up when the law was repealed in 1933. The Kentucky wine renaissance only took off in the late 1970s, when the state government passed legislation allowing production to begin again.
Since then, the industry has developed swiftly while maintaining the ideals of quality that it started with way back when. Local wineries have also been a boon to the Kentucky tourism industry, attracting visitors from near and far.
Interested in visiting the Bluegrass State for a tasting? Information about visiting Kentucky’s wineries can be found here: https://www.kentuckytourism.com/food/vineyards-wineries/