JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) – Kentucky is known for its bourbon, but according to Thomas Beall, owner of First Vineyard in Nicholasville, before bourbon, Kentucky established the first commercial vineyard in America when First Vineyard was established in 1799.

Now, the historical property called is on sale for $2,000,000.

Beall took over the vineyard with his partner Bobbye Carpenter in 1994, and for almost 20 years, Beall has been digging through history and discovered remarkable historical facts about First Vineyard.

“It’s one of the first corporations in Kentucky,” Beall said. “(John James) Dufour plants the vineyard in 1799, and in 1802 they have the first wine from the United States that people are going to drink.”

Swiss Immigrant John James Dufour founded the vineyard in 1799, and from then on, Beall said many founding fathers became part of the winery and vineyard’s history.

“Henry Clay was the attorney and stockholder for this,” Beall said. “Daniel Boone surveyed it here in 1785.”

Roger Fields, Jessamine County resident and buying agent for the vineyard adds, “Wine went to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, I mean the history is amazing. During the revolutionary war, the French soldiers came over here and they were put out that America didn’t have wine, I just think it’s kind of funny.”

Fields went to the Jessamine County Courthouse Tuesday to look up records on the vineyard, and was blown away that Beall had uncovered all of the vineyard’s historical value.

“He bought it, he’s the one who started doing the digging and established, unearthed the records, and established one of the most historical sties in Kentucky,” Fields said.

One other interesting note about this vineyard’s value is its natural setting. Beall said Dufour chose the location in Jessamine County because the vineyard sat on a downward slope facing the sun, with the wind blowing in from the rolling hills, and the vineyard’s irrigation flowing down into the Kentucky river.

The vineyard and its prime location have been on the market for almost two weeks.

Amanda Richardson, Cornerstone Realty Inc.’s listing agent, said when it came to setting the price to $2,00,000 there were no other properties to compare it to.

“This property is so unique, that I had nothing I could compare it to. There’s literally nobody else in the US that can claim they’re the first commercial winery and vineyard.

Richardson said with more marketing, the property will be great for tourism, “It’s 29.6 acres, and comes with a bed & breakfast, a pavillion great for hosting events, and can be completely open overlooking the vineyard, and the views are absolutly breathtaking. It’s a beautiful property and history that I hope somebody wants to keep alive.”

Now, First Vineyard is just waiting for the right buyer.

Beall said he and Bobbye are giving it up for health reasons, but to the future owner, they share their hopes below:

“I hate to lose it, but my prayer is that whoever has it will continue it and continue the history and let people know that it wasn’t California, it wasn’t Virginia, it was Kentucky that started the wine industry.”

Thomas Beall

For potential buyers, reach Amanda Richardson at 859-948-4207.

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