Sullivan University to host state wine competition

April 13, 2016

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Left to right: Tyler Madison, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Grape & Wine Marketing Program manager; Dr. Kenneth Miller, provost, Sullivan University; Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles; Chef David Dodd, executive director of the National Center for Hospitality Studies; and Bill Wickliffe, director of the KDA’s Division of Food Distribution.


The fourth annual Kentucky Commonwealth Commercial Wine Competition & Commissioner’s Cup (KCCWC&CC) will take place at Sullivan University in Louisville on Oct. 29, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Grape & Wine Council have announced.

With a goal of public awareness and education through promotion and recognition, the KCCWC&CC is the quintessential yearly guide to the best wines produced throughout the state. Eligible only to licensed Kentucky small-farm wineries, the KCCWC&CC assembles panels of expert judges made up of industry leaders throughout the nation to systematically assess and score entries.

“We are very excited to partner with Sullivan University for this year’s competition,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Sullivan is one of the top culinary institutes in the country, and their expertise will help showcase Kentucky’s grape and wine industry.”

Tyler Madison, the KDA’s Grape & Wine Marketing Program manager, added: “It makes a lot of sense for us to work together. The facilities at Sullivan are incredible; it’s a perfect place to hold a top-tier wine competition.

“What I’m looking forward to the most is working with some of the students. These students represent the next generation culinary scene, and we’ll have the opportunity to not only get them involved in the planning of a wine competition but also teach them about Kentucky wine.”

For more information about the Kentucky Commonwealth Commercial Wine Competition, visit

The Grape & Wine Council works to promote and facilitate the development of a grape-based wine industry in the Commonwealth. The Council and KDA offer a marketing cost-share grant and a wholesaler reimbursement grant to help Kentucky small-farm wineries market and distribute Kentucky wine products. To find out more, go to the Grape & Wine Program page on the KDA’s website,, or contact Tyler Madison at (502) 782-4117, or

Kentucky was home to the first commercial vineyard in the United States and was one of the leading grape- and wine-producing states in the nation until the industry was all but shuttered during Prohibition. Kentucky’s grape and wine industry was revived in the 1990s, and today Kentucky has 70 small-farm wineries.  Kentucky wineries produced nearly 173,000 gallons fermented in 2014, Madison said, and Kentucky farmers are growing an estimated 450-550 acres of grape vines.


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