It’s springtime in the beautiful southern states of Kentucky and Tennessee — the days of wine and roses are here. The roses are pretty easy to find, but you might not know about some great local wine venues that are well worth a visit.
Mountain Valley Winery
Heading to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., this spring? Raise a toast to the Smoky Mountains' own Dolly Parton, or perhaps to your sweetheart, at the Mountain Valley Winery. It’s located at 2174 Parkway, and is open seven days a week in the spring and summer. Mountain Valley Winery focuses on sweet, fruity French and German style wines — it is a great destination for those who are new to this hobby. Contact Mountain Valley at 1-866-453-6334, or visit www.mountainvalleywinery.com for more details.
Blackberry Hill Winery
Chardonnay, merlot and cabernet are wines named after the grapes they are made from. Did you know that wines can be crafted from harvests other than grapes? Barker's Blackberry Hill Winery makes wines from cherries and honey as well as blackberries. It’s located on Mt. Zion-Verona Road in Crittenden, Ky., convenient to interstates 71 and 75. Wine tastings are offered daily, and group wine tours are by appointment only. Before you visit, call 859-428-0377 or check out www.kyagr.com/kdapage.aspx?id=3318 for hours of operation, tour availability and other details.
Natchez Trace Wine Trail
Nothing says Southern hospitality like Natchez. The Natchez Trace Wine Trail in Middle Tennessee, south of I-40 between Jackson, Columbia and Nashville, will introduce you to the Amber Falls, Grinders Switch, and Keg Springs Wineries. The Natchez Trace Wine Trail’s history has as much to do with corn and moonshine as it does with grapes and wine, giving it a unique Southern feel. Visit www.ntwines.com to learn more.
Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
Are you ready for a change of pace from the rustic? Memphis' Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar, located on South Main, is a cool spin on the wine bar experience. The venue is contemporary, and the menus are fun and clever. Diners and wine enthusiasts can sample multiple selections in a single "flight." Learn more at www.flightmemphis.com or call 901-521-8005.
Holly Ridge Winery
Viticulture — the science, study, and production of grapes — is what Holly Ridge Winery in Livingston, Tenn., is all about. More than a dozen types of grapes can be found in its vineyards. Some are French hybrids, while others are all-American selections from the wine meccas of Niagara and Concord. Information on visiting the winery is available at 931-823-8375 or www.hollyridgewinery.com.
Benjamin Franklin is a popular figure in American history, and numerous places in Northeast Tennessee bear his name. He knew what he was talking about when he said, "Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."