HAZARD — Bart Massey of Hazard is a 2016 Bronze Medal winning winemaker, not merely in the commonwealth of Kentucky or the United States of America, but rather, Massey holds this prestigious honor for the entire world, and he did it twice; one Bronze Medal in the Blush/Rose` category and another Bronze Medal in the Red Vinifera Bordeaux Style category. This means that for everywhere from France and Italy to Napa Valley and all places in between, Bart Massey’s wine ranks in the top three among amateur winemakers.
The WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition is the largest of its kind in the world. The 2016 edition featured 2,981 entries with 645 total wine flights. Contestants represented 13 different countries, including 6 Canadian provinces and all 50 of the United States. Determining finalists in each category required 894 total hours from the judges.
“I just entered for the fun of it,” Massey said, “It’s one of those things. I didn’t think I stood a shot of winning anything. Then, when the winners were announced, I saw that both the wines I entered won bronze medals. If I had known they were going to place, I would have entered all of my wines.”
For Bart Massey, it all began with craft beer. He bottled his own blend and began sharing the brew with friends. Eventually, he expanded his enterprise into the field of wine making, and right away, he developed immense passion for the art. He places extensive training and practice into perfecting his craft. Massey has traveled internationally to study caveats of the trade. The basement of his downtown Hazard home is now a winery.
According to Massey, even the tiniest elements of a wine’s development can influence its quality. The amount of rain the grapes receive and even the type of soil covering the vineyard play vital roles in establishing taste. Massey highlights one factor in particular for giving his wine a winning edge.
“The grapes I used are from Appalachia,” Massey said.
Massey hopes that his work might help demonstrate the opportunities wine making can open for the economy of our region. Wine is big business and Massey says there are plenty of places locally with the proper conditions for successful vineyards to grow. In fact, Massey has proven that Appalachian grapes are capable of producing award winning wine. Quality vineyards can lead to wineries and wine tasting events. The dollar making possibilities are limitless, and the passing centuries have proven that wine is one thing, which never goes out of style.
Along with his wine making and his work for Hazard Community and Technical College, Bart Massey is also a skilled photographer. Massey’s work can be seen at bartmassey.com and thewineadviser.com. All of the winners in this year’s amateur wine making competition are listed on winemakermag.com.
Judges of the largest wine making contest in the world, as well as friends of Bart Massey, and any lucky newspaper reporter, who is fortunate enough to sample Massey’s wine, all agree that Massey’s awards were well deserved and Hazard has plenty of reasons to be proud.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.