Kentuckian Wins Winemaker of the Year at Prestigious Wine Competition
From Kentucky Department of Agriculture – Frankfort
Allen Dossey, owner of Purple Toad Winery near Paducah, was named Winemaker of the Year at the recent Indy International Wine Competition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
“Congratulations to Allen Dossey on this prestigious honor, which brings international attention to Kentucky’s growing and improving wine industry,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “This may be the first time a Kentucky winemaker or winery has won this award.”
Dossey compared winning Winemaker of the Year to an actor winning an Academy Award – the top achievement in a craft.
“We were just thrilled,” said Dossey, who didn’t learn that he had won the award until it was announced during a reception following the wine competition. “I had no idea. They surprised me. My face turned red.”
Another Kentucky entry – Joann and Michael Nall of Louisville – won Amateur Winemaker of the Year.
Purple Toad brought home 16 medals, the most of any winery at the competition, which attracted more than 2,000 entries from 11 countries and 40 states. Purple Toad received four double gold medals, meaning a panel of four judges all awarded those wines a gold.
“It’s the best we’ve ever done,” said Dossey, whose Kentucky Proud wines also won six gold medals, three silvers, and three bronzes.
Purple Toad is owned by Dossey and his wife, June. Allen is training his son, Steven, who just graduated from Western Kentucky University, to be the winemaker of the future in the family business.
Purple Toad, which specializes in sweet wines, currently sells its 33 varieties in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. The winery, which will turn 8 years old on July 1, Dossey’s birthday, uses grapes from its 19-year-old vineyard.
Construction will begin soon on a 20,000-square-foot processing room, replacing its cramped 2,500-square-foot space.
“We’ll be able to double production,” Allen said, adding that he also plans to build a restaurant at the winery in a few years.