County Fiscal Court
approves Sunday wine sales
winery to start its
Sunday sales by late spring
Helen E. McKinney
BEDFORD, Ky. (March 2012) To say that Teresa
and David Weyler are excited about the approval of Sunday wine sales
in their precinct of Trimble County, Ky., would be an understatement.
Their small, part-time business, the Little Kentucky River Winery, can
now bring more revenue and tourists to the county.
Trimble County Fiscal Court in November approved the second reading
of an ordinance that would allow the sale of wine on Sundays. There
was only one dissenting vote, said Trimble County Judge-Executive Randy
We heard from a well-defined group on the second reading,
said Stevens. Approximately 50 individuals came to the court meeting
but only two spoke. I believe the rest were in support that Sunday wine
sales are not a necessary thing.
Many in the community feel that Sunday wine sales are just a step toward
going wet, said Stevens. But he and others feel this is not the case.
This cant happen unless its the will of the people.
pointed out that initially, the winery was put in place by a public
vote. Petitions were signed and it was approved by a 2-1 vote, even
though there was not a heavy turnout, he said.
The key to understanding Fiscal Courts dealings with the
issue is that we looked at it as a business decision, Stevens
The court considered the idea of the winery helping the community in
one respect by simply buying a piece of property with a dilapidated
house and remodeling it. Right now, the winery appears to be a
good neighbor to the community, he said.
The Weylers asked the court that they be allowed to sell wine from 1-10
p.m. on Sundays to better accommodate their customers, Stevens said.
He continued, saying that similar small farm wineries can help other
business in the area.
I dont believe small wineries such as this one can exist
only on wine sales to Trimble County residents, but rather it
will also take outside sales to turn a profit, said Stevens.
Were happy that a lot of people in the community did back
us, said Teresa Weyler. It should bring more revenue into
Although the Weylers had the majority of their support from the community
in the East Bedford precinct where the winery is located, there
is still opposition within the religious community, but that is not
a bad thing, said Weyler.
One opposing group, the Faith Community of Trimble County,
state their position as not wanting to share their day of worship with
the sale of alcoholic beverages. Such groups just ask for reverence
and honor for the Lords Day on Sundays.
There are a lot of surrounding counties that have passed the ordinance
to sell wine on Sundays, said Weyler. She cited the following counties
as having wineries: Henry Countys Smith-Berry Winery in New Castle;
Owen Countys Elk Creek Vineyards in Owenton; and Carroll Countys
River Valley Winery near Carrollton.
Weyler sees Sunday wine sales as a way to bring a lot more people
through the area. We see people from Madison, La Grange, Louisville,
Ohio and even tourists from Alabama have stopped in, she said.
Any time tourists visit, Weyler said she is quick to point out other
places of interest such as restaurants in the area.
Tourists often visit several wineries in one weekend, she said. For
this reason, theyll spend time doing other things in the
area. She believes its difficult for visitors to spend much
time in the area if a lot of businesses, such as wineries, are closed.
It would be better for the industry if there were statewide approval
of wine sales on Sunday, she said.
The Little Kentucky River Winery works closely with the University of
Kentucky Agricultural Department. Theyve been a huge help
in getting the winery established, said Weyler. The Weylers are also
members of Kentucky Proud Products and the Kentucky Vineyard Society.
We continually research legislative laws and have a committee,
made up of all of our board members, which lobby for laws in favor of
those wineries and vineyards said Alicia McGuire, executive director
of the Kentucky Vineyard Society.
There are several wineries in this region of the state that are new
and have had to go through the Sunday wine sale approval process. We
try to point wineries in the right direction, she said. A
lot of new wineries have had this problem and the more established wineries
can help them.
McGuire said it would behoove the Kentucky wine industry if all
wineries could sell wine on Sundays. Well work toward that happening.
The Kentucky Vineyard Society partners with the University of Kentucky
Agricultural Department to provide continuing education classes for
vineyard and winery owners. A winter conference was recently held in
Lexington and a summer field day will be held in June. This field day
provides onsite vineyard and winery training, said McGuire.
She said one of the main benefits for opening a winery in the state
is that owners can use Kentucky Proud grapes. Before the Prohibition,
we were ranked in the top three states in the country for producing
grapes, McGuire said. She believes Kentuckians should take
pride in helping our vineyards and wineries get the respect we know
Kentucky has a lot of history, and UK and the Kentucky Vineyard Society
offer the tools and continuing education to help vineyards and wineries
become successful, she said. The society was recently awarded a $515,000
Kentucky Agricultural Department Funding grant. The grant helped save
three positions in the Viticulure Department at UK and provided funding
to the Kentucky Vineyard Society to help further educate wineries and
Weyler said it would probably be late spring before the Little Kentucky
River Winery actually began selling wine on Sundays. Right now
were in a slow season, she said. But she has planned musical
events and different activities for warmer months when people can get
out with their families and enjoy the winery and surrounding amenities,
such as fishing and picnic areas, that it has.
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