Derby Fest adds wine competition

A competition for commercially produced wines from Kentucky and Indiana joins the roster of Kentucky Derby Festival events this year.

A panel of experienced wine judges (including this writer) will sit in judgment on Tuesday, May 1, on an estimated 50 to 70 locally produced wines in eight categories, following the same 20-point American Wine Society rating scale used in the Kentucky State Fair competition for regional home wine makers.

Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners will be awarded to the top-scoring wines, which will also be announced in a news release, said Carrie Brantley, event manager with the Kentucky Derby Festival. Should any of the winning wines also be on the wine list for the separate Derby Festival WineFest, those wines will be highlighted for the information of WineFest patrons.

The wine competition judging is not open to the public, but tickets are available at $31 per person for WineFest, which benefits the Brown Cancer Center. WineFest features wine tastings from 5-9 p.m. on May 1 and 2, on the Waterfront overlook adjacent to the Chow Wagon.

WineFest participants will be able to taste samples of wines from Kentucky producers Chrisman Mill Vineyards (Nicholasville), Elk Creek Vineyard (Owenton), Equus Run Vineyard (Midway), Felice Vineyards (Louisville), Springhill Vineyards & Winery (Bloomfield), Talon Winery and Vineyards (Lexington) and Wildside Vines Vineyard (Versailles); and Indiana’s Huber Winery & Vineyard (Borden).

Brantley and Wine Competition spokesman Gerald Tyrrell said they hope the competition can expand to become a major wine judging with national and international entries in the future.