Kentucky winery recognized in California

Posted by brandon on September 20, 2011

By Bill Francis – FOX 41

Willisburg, KY (WDRB News) — When you think of wine, Napa Valley comes to mind. But a small family-owned central Kentucky winery is getting some recognition in California.

Not too far from bourbon country, in Washington County, Kentucky, Greg Karsner and his family operate the Horseshoe Bend Vineyards in Willisburg.

Greg shows off the tiny fruit on the vine now in the middle of the growing season. He says wine growing is a very hands-on business. “It’s the most hardcore farming you can possibly imagine,” he says. “I will probably touch every one of these 20,000 or so plants by hand at least four times a year.”

The hard work has paid off. Horseshoe Bend has been chosen as the official vineyard for this year’s Catalina Island Film Festival in California, traditionally known as wine country.

“We flew wines out there and they tried them and loved them,” says Greg. “They decided to be a little more unique so instead of having a California wine they just chose a wine from Kentucky.”

Before prohibition, Kentucky was the third largest wine producing state in the nation. Wine production in the state continues to make a comeback. The state’s limestone based soil, famous for its contribution to the horse and bourbon industries, is also ideal for grape growing.

Horseshoe Bend is located about halfway between Louisville and Lexington and is a little more than an hour’s drive from both cities. “It’s just a nice place to come out and relax and take yourself away from the hustle and bustle,” says Greg.