Kentucky’s Bourbon and Wine Festivals

Welcome to the heart of bourbon and wine country, where every sip tells a story and every festival is a celebration of Kentucky’s rich cultural heritage. From rolling vineyards to historic distilleries, join us as we explore the best festivals and events that showcase the unique flavors and traditions of this beloved region. So grab a glass, raise a toast, and let’s dive into the world of bourbon and wine in Kentucky!

Calendar of Kentucky’s bourbon and wine festivals throughout the year

Kentucky is not only known for its beautiful landscapes and horse racing, but also for its rich bourbon and wine culture. The state boasts numerous festivals and events throughout the year that celebrate these beloved spirits. Here is a calendar of some of the top bourbon and wine-related events in Kentucky:


The new year kicks off with the Kentucky Bourbon Affair, an ultimate experience for bourbon enthusiasts featuring behind-the-scenes tours, tastings, and exclusive dinners at various distilleries. This event takes place in January and tickets sell out fast, so be sure to plan ahead.

In February, Louisville hosts the annual Bourbon Classic, where attendees can participate in masterclasses, sample rare bourbons, and enjoy delicious food pairings. March brings the International Barrel Tasting Festival in Bardstown, where visitors can taste Kentucky’s best bourbons straight from the barrel.


Springtime in Kentucky means Derby season! The famous Kentucky Derby may be known for its mint juleps, but it’s also a prime time to explore more of what the Bluegrass State has to offer. In April, Louisville hosts the NuLu Bock Fest, celebrating German-style bock beer with live music and food trucks. May brings the popular Kybela festival that celebrates both bourbon and wine with tastings from local distilleries and wineries.

June marks National Bourbon Day, which is celebrated all over Kentucky with special events such as outdoor concerts at Maker’s Mark Distillery or cocktail competitions at Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse.


As summer heats up, so do bourbon-related events! The Whiskey City Regatta in Owensboro takes place in July with boat races on the Ohio River accompanied by live music, food vendors, craft beers,and of course whiskey tastings.

In August, Bardstown hosts their annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, which draws crowds from all over the world to celebrate the state’s most famous spirit. September brings the Louisville Food and Wine Experience, a four-day festival featuring tastings, workshops, and celebrity chef dinners.


The fall season in Kentucky is full of harvest festivals and wine tastings. The annual Harvest Homecoming Festival in New Albany is known for its grapes and grains celebration showcasing local wines and bourbons. November brings the Bourbon Country Burn cycling tour, where riders can experience scenic routes through bourbon country while sampling different spirits along the way.

December marks Bardstown’s Christmas Candlelight Tour, a festive event that showcases historic homes decorated for the holidays with special bourbon-themed events throughout town.

No matter what time of year you visit Kentucky, there will always be an event celebrating its rich bourbon and wine culture. So mark your calendars and raise a glass to these unique festivals and events!

Insider’s guide to attending bourbon and wine festivals in Kentucky

Kentucky is known as the bourbon capital of the world, and it’s no surprise that it also hosts some of the best bourbon and wine festivals in the country. These festivals are a celebration of Kentucky’s rich history, culture, and most importantly, its famous spirits. Whether you’re a seasoned bourbon enthusiast or just looking to explore new wines, attending a festival in Kentucky is an experience like no other.

To help make your festival experience even better, here’s an insider’s guide to attending bourbon and wine festivals in Kentucky:

  1. Plan ahead: With so many festivals happening throughout the year, it’s important to plan ahead and decide which ones you want to attend. Some popular ones include the Bourbon & Beyond Festival, Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and Winefest at Shaker Village. Make sure to check their websites for dates and ticket information.
  2. Book accommodation early: As these festivals attract large crowds from all over the country, it’s essential to book your accommodation well in advance to avoid any last-minute stress. Many festivals offer special rates for nearby hotels or have designated camping areas if you prefer a more outdoorsy experience.
  3. Dress appropriately: Most of these festivals take place outdoors on open fields or in barns, so be prepared for various weather conditions such as rain or heat. It’s always a good idea to bring layers and wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking around a lot.
  4. Pace yourself: With so many different bourbons and wines available for tasting at these festivals, it can be tempting to try them all at once. However, it’s important to pace yourself and stay hydrated while enjoying the different flavors.
  5. Attend seminars/tastings: Many of these festivals also offer educational seminars or guided tastings where you can learn about different types of bourbons/wines and how they are made. These sessions are usually included in your ticket price and provide valuable insights into the history behind these spirits.
  6. Try the food: In addition to bourbon and wine, most festivals also offer a variety of delicious food options to pair with your drinks. From Southern BBQ to local delicacies, don’t miss out on the opportunity to indulge in some mouth-watering dishes.
  7. Take advantage of souvenirs: These festivals are a great place to purchase unique souvenirs such as limited edition bottles, custom glasses, or even hand-crafted barrel staves. It’s a great way to remember your experience and support local artisans.

With this insider’s guide, you’re all set for an unforgettable experience at one of Kentucky’s famous bourbon and wine festivals. So grab your friends and get ready for a weekend filled with good drinks, good food, and good company in the beautiful state of Kentucky. Cheers!

Special events at distilleries and wineries (harvest festivals, release parties)

Kentucky is known for its rich bourbon and wine culture, with a long history of distilleries and wineries that have been producing top-quality spirits for generations. As the heartland of bourbon and wine production in the United States, Kentucky is also home to some of the most unique and exciting events in the industry. From harvest festivals to release parties, these special events at distilleries and wineries offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the world of bourbon and wine while celebrating their passion for these beloved spirits.

Harvest festivals are an annual tradition at many distilleries and wineries in Kentucky. These festivals typically take place during the fall season when grapes are harvested for winemaking and grains are harvested for bourbon production. At these festivals, visitors can witness firsthand the process of harvesting grapes or grains from the fields, often accompanied by live music, food trucks, and tastings of freshly pressed grape juice or new make spirit straight from the still. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating some of Kentucky’s most iconic spirits.

In addition to harvest festivals, many distilleries also hold release parties when they launch a new product or limited edition batch. These highly anticipated events give fans a chance to be among the first to taste a brand-new bourbon or wine before it hits store shelves. Attendees can expect an evening filled with live music, food pairings, guided tastings led by master distillers or winemakers, as well as opportunities to purchase bottles directly from the source. Release parties not only allow visitors to try something new but also give them an exclusive glimpse into how these small-batch products are crafted.

One such event that draws crowds every year is Bardstown Bourbon Company’s “The Prisoner” release party. This collaboration between Bardstown Bourbon Company and The Prisoner Wine Company produces a one-of-a-kind blend using both bourbon barrels and The Prisoner’s signature red wine barrels. The release party includes live music, food, and the chance to meet and discuss the collaboration with representatives from both companies. It’s a must-attend event for bourbon and wine enthusiasts alike.

Special events at Kentucky distilleries and wineries provide an immersive experience beyond tasting, allowing guests to connect with the creators of their favorite spirits and celebrate Kentucky’s unique spirits culture. Mark your calendars and raise a glass to these events that honor all things bourbon and wine in the Bluegrass State. For more on these unique experiences, explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and discover the Bardstown Bourbon Company’s events, where tradition meets innovation in every sip.

Experience exclusive tours that offer a deep dive into the rich history, culture, and, of course, the exquisite taste of America’s native spirit. Whether you’re a bourbon aficionado or new to the world of whiskey, our expert guides will ensure an unforgettable journey through the most iconic distilleries and hidden gems of bourbon country. Ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime? Book your tour today and let Bourbon Town Tours show you the true spirit of bourbon.


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