OWENSBORO, Ky. (7/30/13) – “The way I look at it, Jesus was a wine-maker.”Those were the words of Don Keller, owner of Misty Meadow Winery in Owensboro, who started making wine after he finally pulled his wine-making kit out of his closet months after he received it as a Christmas gift from his wife, Janet. It was in the middle of America’s recession in 2007 and his furniture store wasn’t doing as well as in prior times. Keller finally had enough time to take up a new hobby.
He started with beer and soon graduated to using the fruits and berries from his family’s farm to make his experimental wine. Keller became interested in the techniques of wine-making and found a listing in the local paper for a course at the University of Kentucky.
Keller and his daughter took the Vegetable Growers Association Conference’s course, which had 754 students testing wines in a lab at the university. Staying after class one day, he had a mini tasting with 12 other students and when one advisor asked him to sell all his bottles to him, he knew that wine-making might just be a profitable business venture.
Keller received his wine-making license in May 2007, and by July of the same year, he had made his first fruit wine. He soon realized that wine-making takes a lot of planning. Red wines take generally around 18 months to three years to fully develop, and white wines can take six to eight months.
“I‘ve made every mistake so far,” Keller said. “It’s been a learning curve for us.”
Keller lives with his wife at his hundred-year-old home, also on the multi-generation family-owned property. Keller’s property is so nestled off Carter Rd, you wouldn’t think that he would have two small vineyards, two berry patches, a garden, and a furniture shop. In the past six years, though, more traffic has hit the Kellers’ gravel road with much success coming their way in wine-making.
Misty Meadow Winery is now part of the Kentucky Grape and Wine Council, the Kentucky Vineyard Society, the Kentucky Wine group, and is also featured on the Kentucky Travel website. The winery is selling 18 different unique wines and has won multiple awards in the last year from the Western Kentucky Wine Competition that included wines from Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois. Misty Meadow’s Amarone-Italian Raison won gold in the competition.
Keller is still in the experimental phase of his company. He is working on a tomato and jalapeño wine that he says, “tastes like a Bloody Mary.” He is still deciding on a name, but thinks “Bloody Wine” might be the best one yet.
He prides himself on having good tasting wine for low prices. His red grape wines range from $12 to $20, and other fruit wines start at $10. So, no matter what your price range is or what your wine fancy, you’ll find everything you need at Misty Meadow Winery. Just like Jesus would’ve done it!
To set up a wine-tasting and tour of Misty Meadow Winery, call Don or Janet Keller at 270-683-0361.
Photos provided by Taylor Riley
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