The Urban Winery Is Not an Urban Myth
All photos by Sara Havens.
The Old 502 Winery opened in downtown Louisville, Ky., in January of 2013 and has been thriving since. Not only are they a stop on the popular First Friday Trolley Hop, along with trendy galleries, restaurants and bars, but their tasting room stays busy throughout the week and on into the weekend. They are also a common sight at many area festivals and farmers markets, sometimes offering tastes for a buck, and they recently merged with Falls City beer, also a local staple, and will be brewing beer next year.
As an urban winery, they poke fun at the posh attitude of the wine world with names like Bore Dough, Bach's Wine, White Noise and Reese Ling. Their best-seller is the Bourbon Barrel Red, a semi-dry red that's aged in used bourbon barrels (which are aplenty in Kentucky — there are actually more bourbon barrels than people in the commonwealth).
I caught up with Old 502 Winery's president and winemaker Logan Leet to find out more about the wine and the fine line between arrogant and sassy.
Sara Havens: You guys take an unconventional approach to wine and marketing — can you tell me a little bit about that?
Logan Leet: We are Kentucky’s only urban winery, located in downtown Louisville with no vineyard, so our approach is to make a little fun of ourselves and accentuate the fact that we’re different than what most people envision as an idyllic winery with pastoral vineyards outside the door. Because we are not married to our vineyards, it allows us to source from many different growers. We even use the facilities of other wineries at times when we are short on tank space.
SH: Are your grapes local?
LL: We would prefer to use 100 percent local fruit, but, alas, it is not possible quite yet. We do source local grapes when possible and work with over a dozen growers in Kentucky and Indiana. The remainder of our grapes is sourced from outside the state at the present until we can find enough local fruit to fill our particular needs.
SH: The Bourbon Barrel Red sounds ridiculously delicious. How'd you come up with that?
LL: The B*%#@!n Barrel Red (we’re not allowed to use the word “bourbon” on a wine label) is aged for a short time in used bourbon barrels. The wine is a blend of three red varietals and has a very slight hint of bourbon aroma on the nose and very light taste in the finish. I believe most folks who love both bourbon and red wine, like me, probably prefer their bourbons and wines to be in separate glasses; therefore, we make the application very subtle. This wine won the Kentucky Commissioner’s Cup this year for the Best Dry Red Wine made from over 75 percent Kentucky grapes.
SH: What's your favorite?
LL: I personally prefer drier wines, so my personal favorite is our Bore Dough. For a white: White Noise, which is made from all local fruit.
Old 502 Winery is located at 120 S. 10th St. in Louisville, Ky. They are licensed to sell in stores and restaurants in Kentucky and Indiana (Ohio is next), and can ship from the tasting room to states allowed by law. For more information, call 502-540-5650 or visit old502.com