Pastoral Getaway

The Little Kentucky River Winery kicks off its summer music season

Robby Cox is among those who perform at the winery

BEDFORD, Ky. (June 2019) – Robby Cox wrote his first two songs, “Perfect Lover” and “Soul Candy,” just after high school. These songs have been part of his repertoire and are still requested at his concerts. But mostly, the popular artist performed cover songs, such as Johnny Cash favorites over the last 15-plus years. Seven years ago, he met Natalie Lavonne Jeffries, his true love. They will kick off their summer with a June 1 wedding in Bradenton, Fla.
On June 22, Cox returns to The Little Kentucky River Winery, located a 3289 Hwy. 421 S. in Bedford, Ky.  “Robby has been a favorite for the last five years,” according to Teresa Schnell Weyler, co-owner of the winery with her husband, Dave. As a result, Cox is scheduled to perform monthly through September. The free Saturday night concert series runs 7-10 p.m. from June through the end of September, with a lineup of many popular musicians.

Photo provided

Robby Cox is a crowd favorite at The Little Kentucky River Winery, located just south of Bedford, Ky., on Hwy. 421.

“Robby is a very, very talented musician,” Weyler continued. “He plays the harmonica in addition to the acoustic guitar. He does a really good Johnny Cash. He also does some duos with Natalie. He is very passionate about what he does. The patrons really enjoy him.” 
Cox, now 36, is a self-taught musician who plays by ear. “I had a few lessons, but I didn’t practice much. My teacher quit.”
Cox then taught himself to play the guitar by watching videos of other performers and studying books on his own. Cox said he also enjoyed harmonica music. His first harmonica was just a toy, but he was hooked on the sound. Again, he honed his skills by watching other performers. He enjoyed watching Tom Petty, Junior Wells and T-Bone Walker play the harmonica.  
Inspired by his relationship with Jeffries, Cox started writing his own music for the first time since high school. Those original songs which were written in 2016-17, spawned his first album self-titled “Robby Cox.” The album, produced and recorded by Marcus Brothwell in Frankfort, Ky., was released in August 2017.
When Cox performs at The Little Kentucky River Winery, the stage is a spot in front of the fireplace in the pretty outdoor pavilion that was designed and built by Dave Weyler. The wood was cut and milled from the property, and the stones came from the creeks.
When Teresa says “stones,” they are not only the typical creek stones. These stones are massive slabs of rock leading up to the pavilion. There, the usual creek stones are laid like bricks to form the walls and fireplace.
Wood timbers form the gables and roof structure. The copper-colored roof panels gleam in the sun. It is a unique, rustic venue that is more than the farmhouse and pavilion. Behind the pavilion, is a pergola with a table for a relaxing picnic, either during the day or while enjoying a Saturday night concert. There is also a swath of flower beds, 300 feet long and 10 feet wide, planted by Teresa 10 years ago.
The property has been developed from the ground up by the Weylers. The idea was to find something they both loved while they started planning for retirement. They both enjoyed wine, so a winery on their property in Bedford seemed to be a good place to start. While Dave completed the heavy construction, Teresa learned to make wine. She is a hands-on learner, so she spent two and one-half years working with a wine maker in Indiana.
“He taught me his techniques, and I still use those today,” she said. “We are a boutique winery, not a large operation. We make our own wine. For example, dry reds are aged for one year.” They also do their own bottling, with the help of family and friends. It is a small, intimate winery. 
Guests can ramble up the hill on a path that leads from the pavilion to the tree-covered hillside. Teresa named it “The Enchanted Forest” because she found the beauty and stillness of the forest was truly enchanting when she worked up there.
The casual hike leads to a large swing constructed of on-site wood, two large chairs and footstools constructed in the same fashion, a pergola constructed of natural branches and saplings, and of course, more metal sculptures. Guests are encouraged to pack a picnic basket for a leisurely lunch anywhere on the property.
Through the years of building the pavilion, remodeling the farmhouse and learning to make wine, both Teresa and Dave continued to work full time. Last year, she renovated a house in La Grange to create Trackside Winery and Tasting Room. This year, she plans to add lunch items to Trackside and open an Airbnb at the farmhouse. 
All of these projects have been accomplished while she was working full time as an IT Systems Programmer. She retired in February 2019 at age 55 to work full time on the two properties.
“I used to work full-time and part-time as a programmer and wine maker. Now I work full-time on the two properties. It’s like ping-pong, back and forth between Bedford and La Grange. Dave helps me a lot.”
Dave continues to work full time in metal fabrication as well as building and maintenance projects at the winery. He also helps with the wine making.
In those early years, they did almost everything themselves because they could not afford help. “Now I have been able to hire wonderful individuals to help at the winery and at Trackside. It is a different environment. They do it because they like it. The best part is meeting wonderful people from all over. It is very rewarding.”
The winery is open Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m., with free live acoustic music from 7-10 p.m. every Saturday evening through September (except holidays). Special food options that require reservations will be listed on their Facebook page. On Sundays, the winery is open from 1-5 p.m. from June through October. The venue is available for event rental year-round. The B&B is also available year-round.

The Trackside Tasting Room is located at 205 Main St. in La Grange. For more information visit their Facebook page or email Weyler at: tweyler@gmail.com.

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