Advocating for under-appreciated wine regions in the Eastern United States
The Virginia Grape
An urban tasting room with offsite vineyards.
Following retirement, like so many winery owners, Bill was looking for a project. He had been making wine as a hobby and he had a farm, where he was able to grow grapes. So he planted vines, engaged in wine production and marketed his product primarily at local farmer’s markets and wine festivals. Tiring of the festival circuit, he decided to open a tasting room, but did not want all the traffic converging on the acreage around his home. So he settled on his current location and had been there just over a year, when I paid my visit.
Generation Hill is a small operation and might even be considered a micro winery. Bill grows an acre of fruit on his nearby farm and sources from other Kentucky vineyards, but has a capacity of only 500 cases annually. In truth, however, he sells between 150 and 200 cases, so production is actually much lower than the maximum. In a typical year, small batches of between seven and nine wines are bottled.
The location of the tasting room makes it easily accessible. As an added bonus, the town of Bellevue is a charming little river town. On a nice day, this is a place that you might linger after your tasting and explore the restaurants, shops and other small businesses. In any case, you will want to drop in and taste the wine. We should support this small Kentucky industry. So put Generation Hill on your list and after your visit, let me know what you think.
Open to Public
Fri-Sat 1 to 7; Sun 1 to 5
I was able to taste seven of the Generation Hill wines. Bill poured a nice semi-dry Seyval Blanc, a dry-style Viognier an excellent Traminette and a light-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. All were well crafted, good wines. The real story, however, is the Chambourcin, which is not a varietal I typically get excited about. The cold-pressed Chambourcin Rosé, which at 2% residual sugar contained barely perceptible sweetness, but it was enough to really accent the fruit. The dry-style and off-dry Chambourcin were also worthy of writing home about and, like the Rosé, displayed bright fruit on the palate without the astringency found in many wines made from that varietal. It is a grape that I see all over the east coast, but it is rare that I find Chambourcins of this quality. It really is the signature grape.
The shop is a cozy little space in the midst of the shopping district.
315 Fairfield Ave, Bellevue, KY 41073
Generation Hill Winery Profile
Written by Brian Nov 30, 2015
I was visiting family in Cincinnati, where a year earlier I explored some of the wineries in Southwestern Ohio. This year I decided to travel south of the Ohio River and see what is happening in Kentucky. The area across the river is still part of the Ohio Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), but the wine industry in the Bluegrass State is much smaller and more recent than that of its northern neighbor. With a total of seventy wineries spread throughout the state, Kentucky vintners only began making wine in earnest about ten years ago. I was anxious to learn more.
I did a little research and selected Generation Hill Vineyard and Winery. They produce their wines exclusively from Kentucky grapes and they have an urban tasting room in the town of Bellevue, which is only twenty-five minutes from where I was staying. I arrived at 10:00 am on a Saturday morning, just as owner/winemaker Bill Buda was opening for the day. I beat the crowd and was able to spend a bit of time talking and tasting wine with minimal competition from other customers.
One of the offerings for sale in the tasting room.