OUR HISTORY

It all started with a passion for something traditional in a non-traditional place - grape growing in horse country!

An inspired vision to work the rich fertile soil of the Kentucky Bluegrass in a county steeped with equine tradition, a tobacco and cattle farm gave way to what is now Equus Run Vineyards. The vision became reality in January 1998 with the combined efforts of friends and family.

The visionary in this story is owner Cynthia Bohn who, coincidentally, also serves as our vineyard manager, winemaker and captain of the team.  As a 31-year veteran of IBM Corp., she had the opportunity to travel the world and sample many wonderful cuisines and wines.  As the story goes, Cynthia was examining the business case studies of wine giants Mondavi and Gallo as part of continuing business education curriculum at the IBM Harvard Business Institute.   As she researched numerous wineries in the region, her mind gave way to thoughts of her own vineyard and winery in Kentucky.  Countless hours of dedicated research later, the business plan was born and Woodford County, Kentucky had its first winery and vineyard in 1998.

Having grown up on a tobacco farm in Hart County, Cynthia is well-versed in “Farming 101” and learned the value of hard work from her parents. On any one day she may be repairing a motor, pruning or introducing tours.  The winery and vineyard, surrounded by the meandering South Elkhorn Creek, boasts rich soils that were initially cattle fields with tobacco and hay crops.  With the help of local farmers, the fields were cultivated and planted in vines.

Equus Run Vineyards is nestled on 38 acres in the heart of central Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region and was voted by CNN Travel as a Must See Hidden Treasure of the US.  Amidst picturesque thoroughbred horse farms, historic stone fences and the quaint charm of Midway, KY, Equus Run is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic, try your luck at fishing, enjoy the golf putting green, stroll through the gardens or explore the scenic South Elkhorn Creek with kayaking.

Each summer, Equus Run Vineyards offers music at the vineyard series and showcases both national and local musicians in our stone terraced outdoor amphitheater stage.  Starting each May the “Sunday Tunes in the Vines” series starts with free music each Sunday.  We invite you to sip, stroll and simply enjoy our vineyards and winery while visiting the “Horse Capital of the World.”

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THE VINEYARD

Our geography is fortunate to have 4 distinct seasons, plenty of rainfall, and rich soils.

Our geography is fortunate to have 4 distinct seasons, plenty of rainfall (sometimes too much!) and rich soils.  Central Kentucky’s loamy soils and deep limestone shelves (which are also perfect for bourbon making!) allow us to craft a wonderful selection of wines with character.  The unique soil conditions of our property, having maury silt loam soil on top of limestone shelf-rock and clay, provides the vines with many natural minerals and nutrients, often eliminating the need for commercial fertilization.  We have late frosts and early harvests—therefore a constant watch of the Weather Channel is a must!

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THE WINERY

Over twenty years of experience has been used to create our wines with depth and complexity.

For grape harvest, press and fermentation, we use traditional winemaking techniques and equipment. Our renovated tobacco barn winery holds many stainless steel fermentation tanks ranging from 500 to 2,600 gallons.  Tobacco barns have natural cooling and ventilation, thus the winery stays a temperate 68 degrees and is perfect for the barrels aging in-house.  And the winter is always chilly with the outside ambient temperature sometimes below freezing, providing natural cold stabilization for the wine to clarify.  It’s harmony in working with Mother Nature!

Our wines are kept in separate lots throughout fermentation with particular yeast, barrel and stainless steel tank regimes.  Once filtered and placed in the barrels or stainless tanks, we frequently test and wait for the perfect time to blend each wine selection.  Our winemaker, Cynthia Bohn, blends many yeasts and vintages to create the wine style that is the signature of our various seasonal wine selections.  Over twenty years of experience has been used to create our wines with depth and complexity.

EQUUS RUN VINEYARDS TIMELINE

How we got to where we are today.

1998 – 2004

With novice eyes we bought an old tobacco farm and transformed it into a working vineyard and winery. Numerous friends and family helped to renovate many fences, barns and other buildings. Our horse farm neighbors provided much needed farm tools and equipment to work the soils and plant 8 acres of grapes. We started a small music series out on the lawn for 300 guests and opened our doors to tastings and bus tours.

2004 – 2009

The music series grew in attendance and we built a terraced outdoor amphitheatre for 1400 guests. Our entertainment series included local music acts for Sunday Tunes, Shakespeare, ballet and national artist acts such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Exile, Juice Newtown, Wynonna, etc. We opened the facility for hosting outdoor weddings, corporate events and renovated a tobacco barn into the Event Barn with a catering kitchen.

2009-2014

Cynthia Bohn bought out the other two owners and refocused on “destination” marketing. Time was dedicated to many upgrades and rebranding the winery. New fencing, painted barns, a new color scheme, new logo, new website, new point of sale system, waterfall stream garden feature added, additional parking lots, and new roads refreshed the 10 year old agri-tourism business.

2014 – Current

Building renovations and production expansions were needed as guest attendance increased. Three acres of vines were replanted and some vine rows were reworked to make room for the tasting room garden expansion and tasting room patio addition. New tasting room décor, a 4-hole putting green, and 20 more trees and numerous flowering beds were installed throughout the property. Once again a new point of sale upgrade for mobility and a new website were completed to improve the customer experience. Shipping direct-to-consumer finally passed in Kentucky’s legislation!

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TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020!