Going Where the River Takes Them
Saturday, February 09, 2013 4:00 AM
David and Teresa Weyler never imagined when they first started looking at properties for recreational purposes that they would eventually open their own winery and live near the banks of the Little Kentucky River.
Teresa Weyler and her husband, David, talk about the process they went through to open their Little Kentucky River Winery in Trimble County. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
The Weylers, originally from Louisville, walked hundreds of acres during their two-year search for the right property. They found just the place they had been looking for in Trimble County, Ky., about four miles south of Bedford on U.S. 421. Their purchase of 175 acres with plenty of wooded area soon led the Weylers to make frequent weekend trips to hunt and tend gardens at the property.
The Weylers continued to add to their property and bought three other pieces of land surrounding their initial purchase, eventually owning more than 600 acres near the Little Kentucky River.
Some of the purchases included a few homes that were in severe need of repair. With plans to restore the homes to be used as rental properties, the Weylers began renovations on buildings that had been left empty and boarded-up for years.
"The place had kind of become a black hole," David Weyler said, noting a lot of money was going into the property they used only for recreation. "So the project shifted at that point."
Eventually, renovations for a potential rental property turned into renovations to make the house their own. The Weylers sold their home in Louisville, and moved - permanently - to Trimble County.
The couple decided to combine some of their interests and created plans for a winery ... Except the property they purchased was located in a dry county.
Still, other wineries had become successful in dry counties before. The Weylers just had to get approval from the county by popular vote.
"(David) said if you can make it happen, I'm in," Teresa Weyler said, so she began researching and creating a business plan.
Approval for the Little Kentucky River Winery in Trimble County was granted a few years after the Weylers first approached the county, and they planted their first grape vines in 2009.
Over the years, the Weylers learned all of the details that go into creating a bottle of wine, from planting the vines and tending the crop to picking and eventually bottling the product.
They want to expand their part-time winery business after they retire from their careers.
"When we retire, we want to do something else," Teresa Weyler, a systems analyst with UPS, said. "We wanted to learn the whole process."
David Weyler, president of Specialty Manufacturing in Louisville, planned and built a tasting pavilion on the property with the help of friends and with from lumber and rocks from the land.
They eventually plan to build another building to house wine-making and bottling supplies.
"We're just letting it grow (on its own)," Teresa Weyler said. "We like being quaint."
In addition to the winery, the Weylers do forest and wildlife management on the property as well.
"We wanted to preserve the property," David Weyler said.
The couple also wanted to preserve the history of the property and the state of Kentucky, so they chose to name their wine varieties with historical meaning.
"We'd sit around and debate names for hour and hours," David Weyler said.
One of the eight wines offered at the winery - "Hunter's Bottom" - honors the oldest referenced family name of property deeds of the current location of the winery, while "Miss Bessie's Pick" honors the original homeowner of the winery. Another flavor - "Kentucky Rain" - references that the state has more miles of running water than any other state except Alaska, and "1812" honors the sacrifices of the Early Kentucky Militia during the War of 1812.
"Country Road" notes the rural setting of the winery, while "Smokehouse Red" was named after an incident during renovations that caught the house and Teresa Weyler on fire. "Dance in the Rain" honors a friend's who lived life to the fullest each day, even during the 'rainy' days.
"We don't want to be like everybody else," Teresa Weyler said. "We're all about vintage Kentucky."
The Little Kentucky River Winery hosts hours on Saturday beginning at noon. Outdoor musical events take place on select weekends in the spring and summer.