With its rustic architecture and soft, rolling hills of vines, Chrisman Mill Vineyards brings a little taste of Tuscany to the Bluegrass State. Amidst hand-painted murals of Tuscan landscapes, guests in the tasting room pair ciccetti, or Italian tapas, with sips of local wine made from the best Kentucky grapes. The laid-back environment encourages visitors to savor the small pleasures in life, as do the staff, who entertain with amusing anecdotes and enlightening descriptions of how each wine is made. At the winery in Hamburg Pavilion, guests can also browse Kentucky-made goods as well as more than a thousand winery gift items, including customized gift baskets.
Talon Winery's Lexington and Shelbyville locations offer visitors a unique wine-tasting experience. At the Lexington location, visitors can follow the entire winemaking process from vine to bottle, while strolling through a lush five-acre vineyard. The vineyard features a gift shop, and guests are welcome to a wine tasting in the historical tasting house. At the Shelbyville location, guests can sample wine in a modern tasting room adorned with a barrel ceiling. Despite the contemporary decor, the tasting room is set against the small-town charm of the city. Like the Lexington location, the Shelbyville location features a gift shop to peruse.
Lexington Beerworks brings together homebrewers and fans of finely crafted beer with an emporium of brewing supplies and a bar full of craft beers on draft or in bottles. Guests stop in for sips of Three Floyd's Gumballhead or Southern Tier's Crème Brûlée, perfect for pairing with freshly baked thin-crust pizzas. Upstairs, visitors find a treasure trove of tools for trying out their own brewing recipes at home.
Ensconcing visitors in spacious rooms surrounded by 30 lush acres of grapevines, Elk Creek Vineyards merges the grandeur of Napa Valley with Kentucky hospitality. Among three discrete lodgings, the Estates' wraparound deck sounds the creak of rocking chairs, the Inn's communial living room welcomes late-night conversation, and the Lodge's private decks open up onto vineyard and lake. Live entertainment Friday through Sunday keeps eardrums occupied, and a gallery exhibits the creations of local artists. During tastings and tours, guests sample the vineyard's products and stroll through the fields, popping grapes to figure out which ones are alcoholic. The tasting specialists offer a free tour of the winery Monday through Saturday at 10:30 am and 4:00 pm and at 1:30 pm and 5:30 pm on Sundays.
To spring through the air, launch themselves onto velcro walls, or careen down slides spanning multicolored castles, kids call on Party Right Inflatables. During open jump and open gaming sessions, kids roam the spacious indoor facility to ping-pong across huge inflatable structures and win Xbox matches. Meanwhile, in the lobby, parents use the Wifi to find out how to disguise themselves as children so they can use the bounce houses, too. With plenty of inflatables available for rent—plus extras such as dunk booths and cotton-candy machines—Party Right makes at-home bashes as fun as the private events held at the facility.
Since 1997, Neil and Rachel Vasilakes have been growing fresh fruit with minimal pesticides on 30 acres of rolling farmland. With the grapes, berries, apples, and peaches that grow there, they craft 22 wines. Included in these are nine dry reds, which range from medium to robust, as well as such dry whites as chardonnay and seyval blanc. Neil, the primary winemaker, also enjoys exploring unusual varietals, fermenting small quantities of inventive recipes for his Black Barrel Reserve collection. Though they frequently rotate, these wines sometimes include peach mead, port wine aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, and black walnut wine aged in Maker's Mark barrels. The winery is also known for Neil's blackberry, strawberry, and blueberry wines.
Within their tasting room, they serve up cheese pairings to complement the flavors of the wines, several of which won silver and bronze medals at the 2009 Kentucky State Fair Commercial Wine Contest. Believing that no good thing should go to waste, they repurpose some wines from the tasting room into gourmet cooking vinegars.