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Trimble County Wine Sales

Proposal to allow Sunday wine sales
in Trimble County considered

Approval would help
business for newly opened winery

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BEDFORD, Ky. (November 2011) – Since the newly opened Little Kentucky River Winery is currently only open on Saturdays, it makes sense to the owners, David and Teresa Weyler, to be able to hold tastings and sell wine on Sundays if the opportunity presents itself. The Weylers are awaiting the results of the reading of a county ordinance that would let them do so.
Trimble County, where the winery is located, is a dry county. In 2008, the couple was able to get the required amount of signatures on a petition to put the issue of them selling their wine to a vote. Voters in the East Bedford precinct approved the issue by a vote of 52-27, and Trimble County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of an ordinance in October that would allow the sale of wine at the winery.
That was the first hurdle. The second hurdle the Weylers are facing centers on a petition to further amend the law to allow for Sunday sales at their winery located at 3289 U.S. 42 South. The next step is for fiscal court to adopt the ordinance after a second reading on Nov. 21.

Wine Pavilion

File photo

The Little Kentucky River Winery
offers wine tastings on Saturdays
only at this newly built pavilion.

If passed, hours for the Sunday sale of wine at the winery would run from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. “We’re just starting out and this is another opportunity for us since we both work full-time jobs,” said Teresa Weyler, who works in information technology for UPS. Her husband is owner and president of Specialty Tool and Machine Co. in Louisville.
Little Kentucky River Winery opened for its first wine tasting on Sept. 17. The Weylers plan to hold tastings from noon to 7 p.m. every Saturday in an open-air pavilion at the winery. When the weather becomes too cold to be outside, the couple will hold tastings in their home, which is also a bed and breakfast.
The Weylers are trying to be as self-sustainable and green as possible. All of the wood for the pavilion came from the farm they own, and the stone floor was constructed of rocks taken from the Little Kentucky River and creeks that flow through the farm.
The pavilion, which also features a huge stone fireplace, has earned national recognition. It won third place in the “outdoor project” category in Woodmizer’s Personal Best contest and will be featured in the company’s magazine in November.
Their next project is to construct a winery building and Weyler said, “We hope to break ground on an actual facility next year.”
They have hired a licensed architect Bruce Swetnam, who specializes in timber frame design. The winery will be a 38x70-foot, two-story structure.
But Weyler said, “We don’t want to just focus on wine sales. We want to focus on the experience people will have Little Kentucky Winery. We want people to come out and experience the property.” It contains trails, ponds for fishing, areas for picnicking.
Wine sales on Sunday would give visitors one more reason to visit over the weekend. “We do try to promote other wineries in the area,” said Weyler, “since we don’t have Sunday sales yet.”
Most people who visit wineries hit one or two a day, she said. It gives them a chance to get out and make a day-trip of it, and the Weylers would just like to be included in this, she said.
The couple has been working on their property for the last four years. Weyler said that Trimble County Judge-Executive Randy Stevens has seen what they have accomplished and is in favor of the winery and allowing them to have Sunday sales. In addition to Stevens’ support, “We have a lot of backing from the people of Bedford and Campbellsburg,” she said.
“My experience was very positive on my visit there,” said Stevens, who visited when there was not a wine tasting going on. With no major advertising campaign under way, people are just happening upon it, he said. He believes that if visitors have a positive experience, they will encourage others to visit the winery.
Stevens feels the Weylers are making “a small step in the right direction.” Their business has been “good for the community. They have improved the property considerably and have been good neighbors.”
He feels that denying the winery the right to sell wine on Sunday would be similar to denying them the right to succeed. Based on a business decision only, he “endorses something that has been very positive.” The Little Kentucky River Winery is operating on the same laws and basis as other wineries, just starting on a much smaller scale, he said. “It’s going to be a progressive thing.”
Stevens equates the winery to the history of the tobacco industry in Trimble County. “Health issues are well documented on the packaging of cigarettes,” he said. “It’s perfectly legal to sell tobacco on Sunday. Tobacco has been the prosperity of many people around here.”
For that reason, he doesn’t see how denying wine sales on Sunday and only having the winery open one day a week can foster business growth for the Weylers. Little Kentucky River Winery is certified Kentucky Proud, as is nearby Smith Berry Winery in Henry County and Elk Creek Vineyards in Owen County, two well-established and highly respectable wineries.

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