After eight years growing grapes on her farm in Marion County, Alex Ackermann decided to expand her business and open the first winery in the county.
Ackermann entered the wine business later in life. “My kids were growing up and I was looking for something to do,” she said. “My husband and I were looking at this property and my friend said, ‘ That sure would be a great place to grow grapes.’” Intrigued, Alex began researching viticulture and was quickly hooked.
Ackermann manages the farm herself, tending to the grapes, treating them for pests and selling them to wine makers. Over time, she found herself ready to take on a new challenge. “Opening a winery is a natural next step and brings a value added product to my farm.”
In February 2011 Ackermann was referred to Patricia Krausman with the University of Kentucky SBDC in Elizabethtown.
Patricia helped me put together the comprehensive business plan necessary to obtain funding and run my business. She also went with me to the different banks when I was looking for financing. Opening a winery in Marion County is uncharted territory for this area so banks were hesitant to loan. Having Patricia’s assistance gave me additional credibility.
- Alex Ackermann
BlueMoon Winery became a reality in July 2011 when Ackermann received a loan to purchase land for the winery, necessary equipment and working capital to hire her first employee – a professional wine maker.
That fall, Ackermann had her first grape crushing and bottled 2,000 cases of wine made from 100% Kentucky-grown grapes. Ackermann explained that it is important to her that BlueMoon Winery uses Ken- tucky grapes to further support Kentucky’s growing wine industry.
Ackermann continues to consult with KSBDC as her business grows. BlueMoon Winery will hold its grand opening celebration in July 2012.