Christian W. Klay Winery
The Christian W. Klay Winery had long attracted both day trippers and corporate clients for everything from dinner theater to business meetings. Owner Sharon M. Klay thought she could do even more for the Fayette County economy with a better outdoor facility, and an indoor space for winter gatherings. She worried, though, about financing. “The economic climate did not make it a good time to be expanding,” she says.
Sharon contacted The Progress Fund, which supports rural tourism and local agriculture. The Progress Fund loaned $182,380, and arranged financing from the state Department of Community and Economic Development of $127,475, and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture of $60,845. That allowed Sharon to build a new pavilion, move processing equipment to free up space for winter events, plant a half-acre lavender garden, and make improvements to the winery property.
The pavilion allows Christian W. Klay Winery to host events from Bluegrass BBQs to a Highlands Harvest Festival. When the lavender garden is mature, visitors will pick their own and create potpourri, lavender wands, infused oils and cookies. The indoor space will provide a year-round conclave for businesses like those in the region’s growing natural gas industry. Wine, explains Sharon, is an economic stimulant. “It’s conducive to conversation, relaxation and networking.”View Story as PDF »