Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Baker Bird Winery: Augusta Kentucky

Second in the "Explore Your Town Series," #ExYTS...

Located on the Northern Kentucky Back Roads Wine Trail,** you can find Baker-Bird Winery tucked away in quaint Augusta, Kentucky, right along the Ohio River. The scenery is gorgeous, and the grounds are very well kept up at Baker-Bird as well. (Open Saturday and Sunday from 1:00pm-5:00pm!)

The history tour, (COMPLIMENTARY!!) took place in the old homestead. It's a gorgeous 1800's style home, and aside from electrical wiring done a few years ago, everything is exactly the same. Of course, it has been maintained. Personally, I'm a sucker for historic houses. While learning of the history, there are several pictures, and copies of framed documents-everything from tax papers, news articles, census reports, etc. The Winery is on the following historical lists: United States Historic Registry, Freed Trail, and Civil War Heritage Trail .

The area around Cincinnati and along the Ohio River was largely settled by German's in the late 1700's and early 1800's. In 1850, the winery took home a gold medal for it's Champagne from Paris, France!  Baker-Bird was also the first commercial winery of the United States, with wine distribution beginning in 1856. Then, in 1862, the Civil War Battle of Augusta took place. However, by 1919 Kentucky was the FIFTH largest grape producing state in the United States.

In addition to the award winning champagne (1850), Baker Bird is most noted for their Bourbon Barrel Wine, aged in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels, which are a hot commodity in the brewing/distilling industry (side note: Bacardi ages their rum in Kentucky Bourbon barrels as well!) The "true" name for the wine, due to the trademark of "Bourbon" is Black Barrel Wine, officially launched in 2014. It has a higher alcohol content, and IS more expensive at $35.00/bottle, but I guarantee you, it IS worth it. Also, noted on their website, they will be introducing Lightening Strike in the near future, Vidal Blanc with a kick of white lightening, also at $35/bottle. I know, I'll be trying that one as well!!

The Cellar...was breathtaking. I heard "wine cellar," and assumed it was your typical, below the basement wine cellar. NO. This was 40ft wide X 40ft tall X 90ft long. Built by hand into the hillside! WOW! Here's a couple of pictures, but I assure you, they do not do the cellar justice at all. It is regal, huge, and it breathes history. If you're lucky, you might get to roll the wine barrel!

The tasting was fun. Everyone that worked there was very knowledgeable, and could answer questions. Wineries vary in their tastings. The tasting was $5, and you got to sip all of the wines. Of course, if you truly didn't want to try something, you could pass. The wine steward had excellent descriptions of the wine. In addition, you were able to taste the Black Barrel for an additional $2, and with it's rich Kentucky roots, I simply could not pass that up. I also purchased a glass of the Ruby Hawk Rose, that I enjoyed in the cellar, where I learned even more about the winery. (so very knowledgeable here!!!) Cheese plates can also be purchased for an additional $10. Baker-Bird also hosts the "Wine is Wonderful is Tour" and "Wine is Wonderful University," (scroll to the bottom past the calendar!) both of which were unique (to me, at least), and I will DEFINITELY be going back in the future to check out these specialized tours (future blogs, yippie!!)

FIVE STARS! It's a must see, must visit, must try! The history tour was beyond interesting. I'm new to the area, AND German. So, it was fascinating to me that this area was largely settled by a German population and, that is also who started the winery. I enjoy tasting different wines and how they vary from state to state and even vineyard to vineyard. Standing in that huge cellar was SO neat. If  you're in Cincinnati or the Northern Kentucky area, hit the Back Roads Wine Trail, and stop in at Baker-Bird. Oh, and Augusta is the birthplace to the devilishly handsome George Clooney. ;)

Ultimately, I purchased 2 bottles, one of which was the Black Barrel Wine, a logo wine glass-to add to my collection of wineries visited, and since this was my last stop on the Back Roads Wine Trail, I received a complimentary coaster. It's the first wine trail I've been able to complete. So, it was a "big deal" for me. I need to go back to the other wineries before I post about them, as some were visited close to a year ago, and my blog is just a baby. :)

Thank you for stopping by! Until next time...


**NOTE: Redman's Farm and Winery is now included in the Northern Kentucky Wine Trail. Though, information has not be updated on the Internet. The Wine Trail passport will have them on there.

#ExYTS1 #Explore #YourTown #NorthernKentucky #Kentucky #ExYTS #Augusta #winery #local #winetrail

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