Jul 7, 2021
Online wine sales benefit Kentucky grape, wine research

Wines grown and produced by the University of Kentucky Winery are now available for purchase online by the school’s students, faculty, staff and retirees.

All proceeds from wine sales directly support grape and wine research that helps to advance Kentucky’s commercial wine industry, including the work of the University of Kentucky Winery.

There are currently 74 commercial wineries in Kentucky. UK’s vineyard research at the Horticulture Research Farm, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, focuses on developing grape production practices that improve fruit quality, labor efficiency and reduce pesticide use. Researchers have evaluated more than 100 wine grape cultivars and numerous grapevine rootstocks for commercial viability.

Current wine production research identifies methods to produce wines that reflect Kentucky’s unique soil and climate. That work includes identifying and using native yeast and bacteria to conduct fermentation.

All UK wines are produced using only fruit grown at the Horticulture Research Farm. Currently, there are 15 white, rosé, red, sparkling and fruit wines available, with nine wines newly released.

Those new wines include the 2017 Quercus alba, a full-bodied white wine. Extended aging in oak barrels gives this wine a bourbon-ish flare. The 2017 Flora is a dry white wine with an aroma of melon, apple and floral notes balanced with an earthy spice.

Both new rosés are 2017 vintages. Saignée is a dry wine with a high acid taste, and Verona is an unfiltered dry rosé with an intense fruity aroma.

New red wines are all 2017 vintages. Querus rubra is a dry red wine aged for 12 months in new Minnesota oak barrels from Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville. South Farm Red is dry with a dense color and classic red wine texture with just enough tannin to make things interesting. Carbonic, a balanced white wine with low alcohol, moderate acidity, has low but well-balanced tannin and a slight bitterness.

The new sparkling wine, Chambourcin (2015), is similar in style to traditional Champagne. Extended bottle aging in the presence of yeast provides a complex fruity-yeasty bouquet and a creamy mouthfeel. The 2017 Solidago is similar in style to dry/brut prosecco.

All those affiliated with UK who wish to purchase wine through the UK Winery Web Store first must fill out a member registration form on the site, http://winery.ca.uky.edu/. After submitting an order, members may pick up wines curbside at the UK Horticulture Research Farm located at 4321 Emmert Farm Lane in Lexington. Detailed descriptions of the wines are also available on the winery site.

Contact: Nancy Savage.

– Carol Lea Spence, University of Kentucky

Early June growth of grapes in the vineyard at the UK Horticulture Research Farm. Photo: Stephen Patton

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