2020-2023 SCBG-UKRF- Sparking Wine and Cider: Defining Best Production Methods for Quality Sparkling Wine and Cider

Grants and Contracts Details


Apples produced in Kentucky are primarily grown as fresh market eating apples. Due to customer expectations there are extremely high standards for their appearance, which ultimately requires high labor costs and pesticide inputs to achieve such quality appearance and taste. Apples grown for cider production can be considered acceptable regardless of cosmetic blemishes and therefore require lower chemical and labor inputs to be successfully produced by Kentucky farmers. Hard cider also has a substantially higher shelf life and therefore a larger window of market opportunity compared to fresh apples and has proven to be a viable value-added product for Kentucky. There are now at least 13 commercial wineries, 2 cideries and 3 breweries in Kentucky producing hard cider. There are also several other businesses that are constructing new orchards, vineyards, and wine production facilities for the sole purpose of producing hard cider and sparkling wine. Market demand is extremely high for locally produced wine and cider. With the help of SCBG funding over 100 apple and grape cultivars have been monitored for development of important fruit chemistry components since 2015. The most promising of these cultivars have been planted at the Horticulture Research Farm in Lexington, KY. The first significant harvest of these newly planted trees was completed in 2019 with subsequent ciders being produced and analyzed for quality components. Continued identification and development of sound sparkling wine production practices designed to improve and diversify the style of both wine and hard cider being produced from Kentucky grown fruit is still needed. Future work will specifically focus on identifying ideal harvest dates and fruit composition values that produce sparkling wines of best wine style and quality. Continuation of this project will also support additional winemaking experiments designed to identify cost effective methods for production of high quality hard cider and sparkling wines made from apples and grapes specifically adapted to the climate of Kentucky. Data collected will be used by University of Kentucky Extension Specialists to make recommendations to current and future sparkling wine and cider producers of Kentucky.
Effective start/end date12/1/209/29/23


  • KY Department of Agriculture: $31,000.00


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