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Cathy and Harkey Edwards Keep Harkness Edwards Vineyards Sound Through Fire and Ice: HWC-2017-03-28

From left: Cathy Edwards, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Harkey Edwards

From left: Cathy Edwards, Chris Michel, Ouita Michel, Harkey Edwards

Cathy Edwards, who grows the grapes at Harkness Edwards Vineyards, started out growing exactly the wrong grapes for Kentucky. All that effort to plant, prune and weed, and they had to be taken out. Many other experiments with wine grape varieties and much additional painful ripping out and replanting followed. After 14 years, the grapes Cathy has learned both grow well in Clark County soil and make good wine are influencing other wineries that are part of Kentucky's wine-making renaissance. 

Harkey Edwards makes the wines. Initially he and Cathy both farmed and both made wine. It works better, they say, for each to have a decision-making domain. Their three daughters each play a role in the family business as well.

Harkey Edwards, left, and daughter Beth offering Harkness Edwards wines at the 2013 Food and Fiber Festival.

Harkey Edwards, left, and daughter Beth offering Harkness Edwards wines at the 2013 Food and Fiber Festival.

The Harkness Edwards Vineyards experience includes trials by fire as well as ice. In 2013 the winery and large tasting room burned to the ground, destroying everything it housed. The vines remained, but the following winter brought Polar Vortex weather: Arctic cold destroyed two acres of Viognier vines. 

Now, in 2017, Harkey Edwards has been making wine again for almost a year. Sam's Club has begun offering Harkness Edwards Vineyards' "Big Red," a blend of Concord and Vidal Blanc grapes that Harkey calls "a fun wine." Local Liquor Barns and Kroger Wine & Spirits offer wines from the Vineyards. People interested in wine and helping Kentuckians launch vineyards and wineries seek Cathy and Harkey out for guidance on how to move forward without having to learn so much by expensive, frustrating experience.

Enjoy this fun, interesting, inspiring show.

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