From: Liquor Barn’s Party Line Blog
I spent the afternoon in another beautiful part of Kentucky yesterday.
I was near Willisburg, at Horseshoe Bend Winery.
I watched and listened as a group of four out-of-state visitors were led through a tasting of Horseshoe Bend wines by Regina. The wines showed well, purchases were made, stories were told, and smiles were abundant.
I mentally compared it to my early tasting experiences in Napa and Sonoma. I remember the passion of the winemakers and winery workers who had come to wine country from all over to be part of a new and wonderful thing happening. It was impossible not to catch fire from the enthusiasm of this collection of wine pilgrims.
Yesterday, I saw demonstrated once more the difference between that experience and what’s happening today in Kentucky’s wine country. The passion is the same. The enthusiasm and sense of mission is the same. But these are not wine pilgrims from another place in the world. These are our neighbors and most of them are as firmly committed to their “place” and their communities as they are to their wine efforts. Our tasting rooms are as exciting as I remember in other wine countries, but we enrich our hospitality with a healthy (exactly the right word) portion of graciousness that makes a Kentucky wine-tasting a special thing indeed. How nice that it is impossible not to catch fire from the enthusiasm of our neighbors.
Ann and Bon Karsner are the owners of Horseshoe Bend. Ann and I chatted about surveys and local art and her wines. All but one of her current wines are made 100% from Kentucky grapes. That means she either grew the fruit herself or she knows the people who did. It also means she can put the word “Kentucky” on her label. The legal requirement for using “Kentucky” on the label is that the wine must be 75% Kentucky fruit. Ann’s wines easily make that standard.
This means something to me and it seems to mean more each year. It does not guarantee that the wine is great or even good. Nor does “Napa Valley” or “Santa Barbara” or “Bordeaux” on the label guarantee quality. I’ve had unpleasant experiences with those labels and many others. What having “Kentucky” on the label guarantees is that wine was made by one of your neighbors and grown by one of your neighbors. For me, that is an excellent start.