Elk Creek Vineyards is now open 7 days a week!
We offer 27 varieties of wines starting at $10.99 per bottle. We offer tastings starting at just $6 (includes 5 one ounce pours). We have 2 free winery tours each day. In addition to our counter serive cafe, we offer live entertainment and dinner specials on the weekends.
Nestled among the rolling hills of Kentucky, we established Elk Creek Vineyards in 2003, believing that the only way to make great wines is to intimately know what grows best on Kentucky soil, hand-select the finest grapes at harvest and limit production.
On October 22nd the Papina family joined the Elk Creek family and we brought the best of California to Kentucky!
Papina Legacy Winery, LLC is a family owned business with a 145 year-old vineyard and winemaking history. Fred and Carol Papina have been married for over 50 years; they have 3 children, including their son Barry and daughter-in-law Karin Papina who have blessed them with 5 amazing grandchildren.
The Papina family has a deep love for vineyards and wine. The Family is originally from St. Helena California and has a vineyard that has been in the family for 145 years. Papina Family Vineyards (located across the street from Charles Krug Winery and down the street from Behringer Winery) produces high-end Cabernet, Petite Verdot, Old Vine Zinfandel and Old Vine Petite Sirah. The grapes are used in wines that are crafted by some of the top wine makers in Napa. The property has always been a special place and one that is very coveted in the valley due to its incredible soil and perfect growing conditions, which includes natural shelter for the vines from frost.
The patriarch of the Papina family, Fred Papina, has been involved in the care of the vineyards since he took over management of them in 1958. Fred has always been very fond of vineyards and grape production from a very young age. At 24, he maintained the vineyard by himself and learned from family (and trial & error) what worked best to keep the vines producing great vintages. Fred and Carol recently purchased a home in Burlington to be closer to their Son, Barry and his family. The couple was incredibly excited to find out that Elk Creek Vineyards was for sale in Owenton. They have hope that Kentucky's Largest Winery will enable the Papina family legacy to live on!
Our winery is a spectacular place for tastings, winemaking tours, weddings, concerts, and special events. Enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer and savor items from our cafe. Relax next to our three-story stone hearth and enjoy true Southern hospitality.
Elk Creek Vineyards is Kentucky’s LARGEST winery and we are now open 7 days a week! Our tasting room presents more than 20 varietals of wine and our café menu features gourmet soups, salads, and sandwiches daily. We offer 2 free winery tours each day in addition to live music and dinner specials every Friday and Saturday. Elk Creek has 15 lodging rooms, meeting space, and a spa that makes us the perfect place for a wedding, corporate outing, reunion, or special event. We host concerts in our amphitheater, comedy shows in our mezzanine, movies under the stars, and murder mystery dinner theaters.
Did you know that Kentucky was the first state in the US to have a commercial winery BEFORE prohibition? It's true! When Elk Creek opened in 2006 there were only 4 small farm wineries in Kentucky; as of 2016 there are 74 Small Farm Wineries in our state! Did we mention that Elk Creek is the LARGEST??
Elk Creek has 30 acres in vine and produced KY’s first Estate Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Sangiovese wines! We also grow Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Chardonelle, Norton, and Chambourcin on the Estate.
We harvest about 3 tons of grapes per acre on average (1 ton of grapes yeilds 450 gallons or 2,225 bottles of wine).
We have 4 SIZES OF STEEL TANKS and 4 sizes of oak barrels to age and ferment our wines.
4640 gallons (largest) =25,000 BOTTLES
60 gallons, 120 gallons, 500 gallons and 1,200 gallons
Remember that 1 gallon = 5 BOTTLES
At Elk Creek we hand pick all our grapes! The red grapes are destemmed, crushed, and pumped in a tank with the skins for 2 or 3 weeks to give the red wine color. Since the tannins give the wine a dry sensation on the tongue and the tannins come from the seeds they are also given a few weeks in the tank before they are pressed. The white grapes are destemmed, crushed, then pressed. Our grapes are pressed with an air filled bladder then the skins and stems are composted.
Elk Creek grows our own unique yeast culture used to ferment our wines. Fermentation is simply the process of turning sugar into alcohol and different varieties of grapes have different levels of sugar. We allow all the natural sugars to ferment to about 13.5%.
Most of our white wines take 6-8 months from harvest to bottle, fruit wines (including concord) take about 3 months and they are all made in our stainless steel tanks. The red wines are aged in American or French Oak barrels and typically age between 18 and 28 months. We use medium toasted white oak barrels to age the wine allowing the surface to accept the wine and to expand and contract as needed for aging.
When our wine is ready to bottle we bring the tank into cold stabilization, the frost forms on the blanket and brings the tank to about 32 degrees allowing the sediment to fall to the bottom. Then we pipe off the top for the clear wines and allow the tank to come back up to about 62 degrees. Our bottling machine is top of the line and can bottle 3.5 cases or 42 bottles of wine per minute!