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Vote 'yes' on winery

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By Brent Schanding

On Dec. 11, voters in precinct A102 near Finchville will decide if a Lexington-based winery can put down roots on 17 acres in Shelby County.

Promoters of the winery, which will be located on Gordon Lane across from Breighton Industrial Park, report it will feature a tasting room, a walking trail, a lake, 5-acres of grapes, an art gallery and a reception area.

County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger and Magistrate Mike Whitehouse support the winery as a way to increase tourism and economic development in the county, and they're right to do so.

The winery will draw people from across the Commonwealth and lure wine enthusiasts across the region because of its accessibility to the interstate.

The winery will be a great way to showcase the beautiful landscape of Shelby County. It will also provide a solid foundation for rural economic development here.

While the tourism department does not calculate the economic impact of state wineries, representatives of the Kentucky Department of Tourism estimate millions of dollars are reaped each year by the agribusiness.

Wineries also have historical significance in the state.

The state was the site of America's first commercial vineyard, planted in 1798 by the winemaker for the Marquis de Lafayette. By the late 1800s, Kentucky was the third largest grape and wine producer in the United States.

When prohibition hit, vineyards were either uprooted and converted to cash crops or abandoned throughout the state. But in recent years, Kentucky vineyards have made a comeback.

Nearly 80 wineries and vineyards currently operate within the state. A yes vote from Shelby's 916 eligible voters next month could add one more reason to raise a glass and celebrate.

The election will be held Dec. 11, at Shelby County Fire Station No. 2, 1000 Taylorsville Road from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.