The History Behind Poca Terra Winery
The story of Poca Terra (Italian for “small land”) begins around 1910 when John’s maternal great-grandfather, an Italian immigrant named Giovanni Bianchi, settled in Chicago. One of his first purchases was a wooden wine press, along with a manual grape crusher and wooden barrel. His much-used equipment was eventually passed down to his son, Luigi. John remembers his grandfather purchasing California grapes from the farmers’ markets, filling every available space of his car with crates, and using that same press to make homemade wine in the basement of his Chicago home. John holds fond memories of his grandfather’s wine being served at holiday feasts and other gatherings of his large, extended family.
Four generations later, Giovanni’s wine press found its home at John and Karen’s farm in Marshall County, Kentucky. For many years those old tools served merely as conversation pieces, but in the back of John’s mind grew a desire to continue the family tradition. After much research on grape varietals that grow well in the climate and soil of western Kentucky, Chambourcin vines received the nod of approval. Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid whose dark purple grapes produce superb dry and semi-sweet wines which pair well with a wide variety of foods. Soon, a small vineyard of Chambourcin vines was planted which has thrived in our soil and added pleasure to our glasses. Every step in making our award-winning, estate-bottled, small-batch Poca Terra wines is done by hand, with attention to detail at every stage to ensure the highest quality wines.
Our goal is to offer a variety of wines that will suit every palate. In addition to our estate-bottled Chambourcin red and rosé wines, we now source fruits from other growers to produce additional dry, semi-sweet, sweet fruit, and port-style dessert wines. Each is special and delicious in its own way.
We are proud to serve Poca Terra wines that are truly a taste of Kentucky!
Meet the Winemakers
John and Karen Hlinka are the husband-and-wife team behind Poca Terra wines. As both owners and winemakers, this duo blends passion, creativity, and science to create a unique style of estate-bottled wines. John, a retired civil/structural engineer, and Karen, a retired biologist/college professor, started growing grapes and making wine as a hobby. As the harvests improved and the awards started accumulating, that hobby soon grew into a commercial small-farm winery, the first in Marshall County.
John’s background serves the business well, not only as winemaker, but as production manager, problem-solver, maintenance mechanic, and builder. He grows a beautiful vineyard and is the creative mind behind Poca Terra’s unique line of wines. Karen’s academic background brings a scientific approach to their winemaking with a focus on chemistry and quality control. As a former “Teacher of the Year,” she shines during their private tasting/story-telling experiences. In this family-run business, daughter Karoline is the talented artist who creates Poca Terra’s stunning wine labels, website, and additional design works that unifies the Poca Terra brand.
For many years, Poca Terra has served as our refuge from the stresses of busy careers. We now enjoy sharing the calming ambiance of our home and farm, along with our very special wines, with old friends and new friends alike. Our vision is to convert our 1890-era stock barn into a tasting-room and event center. In the meantime, we are taking advantage of our beautiful rural setting to host private tasting experiences and special events.
Wine Tasting Experience
$10 per person
Poca Terra Winery is delighted to offer our guests a uniquely personal wine tasting experience with the Winemakers. Plan to stay for about an hour to hear the history of the winery, learn about winemaking, and gain an appreciation into wine tasting as we guide you through a sampling of six of our fine wines.
Fridays and Saturdays, 12 noon to 7pm. Reservations are appreciated.
Our Wine Selection
Poca Terra Winery is OPEN for wine sales by the bottle or the case on Monday- Saturday. Sales transactions can be completed online, over the phone, or in person here at the winery. UPS shipping or convenient “curb-side” pickup available. We’re flexible on pick-up times, just call or text to make arrangements.
Award Winning Wines
Poca Terra Winery has won numerous national and international awards. While it is nice to know the experts think highly of our wines, our focus at Poca Terra Winery is not on making wines that win awards. Our focus is on making wines that we enjoy drinking. Wine tasting is highly subjective and personal:
A good wine is a wine you like.
Each year we limit our wine competition entries to two of our favorites. Every wine
entered has been awarded at least one medal.
Our wines have taken part and won awards in the following competitions:
San Francisco International Wine Competition
Indianapolis International Wine Competition
American Wine Society International Wine Competition
Wine Maker Magazine Competition
Kentucky Commonwealth Commercial Winemaker Competition
Heritage Regional Wine Competition
Poca Terra Winery was honored to be named
2022 Agribusiness of the Year
Marshall County, Kentucky.