Although wine and bourbon may seem worlds apart, one can appreciate the artistry, skill and innovation found at each stop on Kentucky’s Shepherdsville’s Wine & Bourbon Passport Tour and realize how important the land, the water and nature is in making this an ideal locale for giving us some of the finest tastes in the wine and bourbon culture. Sample wine and bourbon after watching the process of how each is made.
The Shepherdsville Wine and Bourbon Passport Tour
The Shepherdsville Wine and Bourbon Passport Tour is a self-guided tour including distillery and winery tours within a nine-mile proximity. It includes stops for the Jim Beam American Stillhouse Tour (the #1 selling bourbon brand in the world), four award-winning wineries and the Four Roses Bourbon Warehousing and Bottling Facility.
The tour starts minutes south of Louisville off I-65 at Shepherdsville and best enjoyed over a few days. If you plan on staying, more than 1,000 affordable hotel rooms are nearby (see links below).
Once in town, pick up your “Passport” at any participating locations and have it stamped at each attraction. Redeem it at the Best Western Hotel Lounge or Cattleman’s Roadhouse Restaurant for a free souvenir glass.
Although each touring location is unique, the sheer size and magnitude of the Jim Beam brand and the newness of its attraction makes it a gateway experience. The Jim Beam American Stillhouse and “behind the scenes” tour has a two-story interactive display and gift shop, a small pilot plant to see the distillery process, and a tasting room. A new barbecue restaurant, Fred’s, is located on scenic grounds.
The tour guides are upbeat and the process is interactive and easy to understand. Visitors are led through a small pilot plant to watch each distillery step where a member of each tour group is asked to add grain to the fermenter. Watch the filling, moving and dumping of barrels and if you are quick to volunteer, you can bottle your own whiskey in the Knob Creek bottling area, place it on the line and have a worker wax the bottle.
Gift shop employees will etch the date and have you personally sign the bottle in gold ink. The only thing that can top that? The tasting room.
More than Bourbon
Kentucky has a surprising wine history, and was home to the first commercial industrial winery in America in 1798. Before Prohibition, it was the third largest wine-producing state. Today there are more than 60 wineries in Kentucky. The four wineries on the Passport Tour have a combined total of more than 1,000 awards.
Come see, taste and learn what elements make for a good location for a distillery or winery. Discover what goes into the best blend of natural elements and the right processes to create these favored spirits. In the end, you just might get a glimpse of the magic touch of human artistry and soulful commitment that enter into the “down-to-earth” creations of wine and bourbon.
Where to stay
Lodging, attraction and dining information can be found online at www.travelbullitt.org. or www.JimBeamCountry.com. Click on the link, “Wine & Bourbon Passport Tour” to download a brochure with a map and to see a tour video.