WINNERS: River Valley Winery owners Krasi and Vicki Georgiev pose with their award-winning wines at their wine tasting room, Mehana. The wine tasting room is located on the corner of Sixth Street and Highland Avenue in downtown Carrollton. This year, the winery entered four of its wines into the 2008 Indianapolis International Wine Competition. The four wines submitted each medaled in various categories, taking home three bronze medals and one silver medal in all. The winning wines included the winery’s 2005 Medovina, 2006 Bobby’s, 2006 Cynthiana and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery will be celebrating their success at 6 p.m. today at the tasting room. (Staff photo by Sara Denhart)
WINNERS: River Valley Winery owners Krasi and Vicki Georgiev pose with their award-winning wines at their wine tasting room, Mehana. The wine tasting room is located on the corner of Sixth Street and Highland Avenue in downtown Carrollton. This year, the winery entered four of its wines into the 2008 Indianapolis International Wine Competition. The four wines submitted each medaled in various categories, taking home three bronze medals and one silver medal in all. The winning wines included the winery’s 2005 Medovina, 2006 Bobby’s, 2006 Cynthiana and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery will be celebrating their success at 6 p.m. today at the tasting room. (Staff photo by Sara Denhart)
For River Valley Winery owners Vicky and Krasi Georgiev, this weekend will not only be a time of celebration of our nation's independence from Great Britain, but also a celebration of the winery's recent achievements at the 2008 Indianapolis International Wine Competition.

More than 3,200 wines from 15 countries are featured at the wine show, which is one of the largest wine shows in the western hemisphere.

At this year's competition last month, the Carroll County winery took home four international medals - three bronze and one silver. The medals represent the best wines submitted in each category.

The Georgievs submitted four of their wines this year - one of which has never been released for public consumption.

The silver Indy International Wine Competition Award went to the winery's 2005 Medovina, which is the ancient word for honey wine and is the oldest alcohol containing drink known to man. The bronze medals went to the winery's 2006 Bobby's, which is an American blush or rosé wine named after Vicky's father; the 2006 Cynthiana, which is a rich, full-bodied red wine; and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a dry red table wine with a color and flavors of black cherry, spices and vanilla.

"We're really, really excited," Vicky Georgiev said. "We sent four wines and all four medaled."

In the past, the couple have only participated in a few competitions but had limited their time at competitions due to the expense of competing. For each entry, a winery has to submit at least three bottles of the wine for tasting and judging.

But, this year marked the opening of River Valley Winery's tasting room, Mehana, and the couple wanted to celebrate their opening. They chose some wines to submit and the wines were the one that the couple had opened this year.

The 2005 Medovina was just released this year in January with the opening of the tasting room on the corner of Sixth Street and Highland Avenue in downtown Carrollton, and the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon has not been released for public sale.

Because the winery won medals for all of its wines, the River Valley Winery will be releasing its 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon this weekend in celebration of their successes.

The wine's debut party will be at 6 p.m. today at the Mehana tasting room in downtown Carrollton.

"If it's good enough for Indy, it's good enough for here," Vicky Georgiev said. "We're very excited."

The Georgievs started their winery on the hills of Carroll County in 1999 a few years after Vicky and Krasi married. The idea to start a winery in Carroll County came when Krasi, who is originally from Bulgaria, asked Vicky where the wineries in Kentucky were located.

The Bulgarians take their wines very seriously, Vicky Georgiev said, and the soils in Kentucky were good for planting grapes.

The couple decided to start their own winery and retire together running the vineyards.

During the mid-1800s, Kentucky was the third largest wine-producing state in America. However, prohibition halted the booming industry, and in 1976, the state allowed farm wineries to operate and plant new vineyards.

Since 1998, the wine grape acreage has quadrupled and new plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc have become very popular in the Commonwealth.

About seven years after obtaining their winery license, the Georgievs opened their first tasting room and their business has been booming ever since.

"I said to Krasi, 'This is it. Let's open a tasting room,'" Vicky Georgiev said about looking at the tasting room location. "We thought this would be a perfect place."

Starting at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, the River Valley Winery begins serving soups, sandwiches, wine snacks of cheeses and salamis and non-alcoholic drinks for lunch. The tasting room is open until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The winery opens at 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays.

Over the years, the winery has won eight international medals and two tri-county medals for their wines. And, next month, the River Valley Winery will debut its Merlot, which is a red wine that has a medium body with hints of berry, plum and currants.

"All our grapes are 100 percent Kentucky grown and made in Carrollton," Vicky Georgiev said. "We crush and we press everything right here in Carrollton."

For more information on the winery, call the Georgievs at (502) 732-5500 or visit rivervalleywine.com.