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Wine festival proposed as possible tourist attraction; Winery wins top regional honors

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Bullitt County may be part of the Bourbon Trail but it might also be part of a new wine festival.

Members of the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission listened to an intriguing presentation.

Although he wasn’t looking to organize the event, award-winning wine grower Jim Wight felt Bullitt County was ripe to host a festival devoted to those fruits that grow from the vine.

Vineyards in Kentucky are relatively new but Wight said most are growing in popularity and most are doing an excellent job.

With 16-17 vineyards in the Kentucky Derby Wine Region, Wight said Bullitt County could be an ideal spot to host a festival.

He said similar events in Nicholasville and Danville have grown into major social and tourist events.

It would give guests an opportunity to taste wines from the various growers, as well as giving the vineyards a chance to sell their product.

Competitions could be held for both commercial and amateur growers.

In Nicholasville, he estimated over 5,000 people would attend each April for the one-day event.

“I think it’s real doable,” said Wight, who is part of one of two vineyards in the county.

He could see drawing visitors from surrounding counties. Since opening the Wight-Meyer Winery in the past year, he said the interest from Bullitt and surrounding counties has really grown.

It also helps to have two wineries in the county - the other is Brooks Hill Winery - so visitors have an opportunity to see both during their trip, according to Wight.

Wight said he didn’t have the time to organize the event but would be more than willing to assist. He could envision organizations like the Arts Council, the Woman’s Club and others getting involved.

Tourist chairman Bill Barnes said it is something the commission would consider.

Commissioner Tom Kelly said the board’s goal is to bring people to the community to help local businesses and it sounded like something to pursue.

In other business:

*Grants were approved for the North Bullitt Lions Club and the Red Crow Indian Council Pow Wow.

The commission granted $1,500 to the North Bullitt Lions Club to help advertise its three demolition derbies to be held in 2009 at the Bullitt County Fairgrounds.

The Red Crow Indian Council would receive $1,000 toward its annual Pow Wow in early June at the First Street Park in Shepherdsville.

*Work continues on getting a job description for the project manager position for the beautification grant on Highway 245 at Interstate 65.

The 18-month position would be paid an estimated $60,000.

*The commission approved spending just under $40,000 on new carpeting for the large Salt River Hall.

The next meeting of the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission will be on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 4:30 p.m. at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre. The public is invited to attend.

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Winery wins top regional honors in 2008 competition

Wight-Meyer Vineyard and Winery, located in Cedar Grove, recently led the state in the 2008 Wines of the South regional wine competition.

Co-owner Jim Wight said 14 states competed in the annual event.

Wight-Meyer’s “Kentucky Rose” brand earned the “Best  of Blush” overall award in the rose and blush category, while its “Diamond” took the “Best of White” overall award.

Along with the top honrs, Wight-Meyer earned four silver awards for its “Blackberry,” “Kentucky Reisling,” “Kentucky Vignoles” and “Pine Creek Summer” Traminette brands.

The “Kentucky Norton” brand also received a bronze award.

Wight-Meyer was the top winner of all Kentucky wineries entered in the competition.

Wight said Wight-Meyer brands were entered into 54 competitions during 2008, earning a total of 46 medals. He said the local winery was the only one in the state to receive five Concordance, or double, golds, meaning the brand received all first place votes from the judges.

For information about Wight-Meyer Vineyards and Winery call 921-0267 or visit www.wight-meyervineyards.com.