You Won’t Guess What State is one of the First U.S. Wine Producers

Great post and information on commercial wine production in Kentucky and when it started.


While doing research for my last blog post, I was inspired to share  a relatively unknown fact about U.S. wine. One of the first states to begin commercial wine production was none other than (drum roll) Kentucky which started back in 1799. That isn’t  to say  wine wasn’t being produced in the U.S prior to this, for example, in California Jesuit missionaries started as early as the 1680’s but it wasn’t with the intention of exporting or mass distribution. Kentucky offered an ideal climate for wine-making in addition to the prevalence of limestone near the Ohio River. This combination led to Kentucky being America’s third largest producer of wine in the mid-nineteenth century.

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Kentucky wine production was first started by the Marquis de Lafayette’s wine maker, Jean-Jacques Dufour. He joined forces with statesman, Henry Clay, and launched the “Kentucky Vineyard Society.” While boasting impressive consumers like Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky’s wine…

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