Primate Rescue Center, Cave Hill Winery, and Musical Prodigy Kory Caudill!

By Joyce West | 4/25/17 9:20 AM

Cave Hill Vineyard and Winery is part of the Kentucky Wine Trail in Pulaski County. Explore the Primate Rescue Center in Jessamine County. Musician Kory Caudill is a piano prodigy.

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Cave Hill Winery & Vineyard
Bill and Debbie Patterson grow and press their own grapes and make their own wines in Eubank. The Pulaski County winery is part of the Kentucky Wine Trail.

“When we bought this place it was a cow pasture,” Bill Patterson says. “So we decided, we’ll put a few grapevines in. And I had never made any wine.”

The first vines were planted in 2005 and the majority of the vines were planted the next year, for a total of 1,400 vines on 2 and a half acres.

It was a learning experience. “I actually had little to no agricultural background,” Patterson explained. “I’m an IT guy. I’ve been in IT for over 25 years. I still am. This place is my semi-retirement.”

The Pattersons went to Patsy Wilson for help. She’s a viticulturist with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Wilson works directly with grape growers in the state, from planting the vineyard to selling the end product.

Kentucky has a long history of winemaking, and was the home of the first vineyard in the United States, in Jessamine County, Patterson said. “Thomas Jefferson first came to Kentucky and said the hills looked like the hills of France,” he added.

Before Prohibition, Kentucky was first in the nation in wine production. “Then California stole it away from us. Who knows if they’ll keep it or not?” he said.

Wilson said Kentucky has a continental climate. “We’re not surrounded by a large body of water, so we can have massive fluctuation in temperatures, which we do see in the winter and in the spring. But something unique to our area also is that we have really long growing seasons, so we can ripen almost any kind of grape, which in some other areas might be difficult to do.”

Patterson and his wife chose their grapes based on how they would hold up in harsh winters and the type of wine the grapes will make. “We will also take some of those different varieties and blend them,” he said.
Cave Hill won awards in the Kentucky Commonwealth Commercial Wine Competition in 2016: a gold medal for Chambourcin Reserve and bronze medals for Norton Reserve and Traminette.

Wilson said Kentucky has 65 wineries and 200 grape producers. “Really, we don’t have enough grapes growing in the state for the wineries,” she said. “And so that’s where agritourism plays a really big role in the success of our wineries here in the state.”

Patterson said Cave Hill has hosted weddings, family reunions, birthday parties, and other events.
He said he will be overjoyed when people across the country realize how much quality wine is being produced in Kentucky. “Sooner or later they will, because the wine that’s going to be out there on the market is going to blow some of the others away,” he said.

Primate Rescue Center
For 30 years, the Primate Rescue Center in Jessamine County has been a sanctuary for monkeys and apes in need of homes. More than 50 monkeys and apes now live here.

Eileen Dunningham, assistant executive director, said the center has chimpanzees and a variety of monkeys, mostly macaques. “All of them are rescued from the pet trade or biomedical research,” she explained.

People get monkeys as pets, but they are not prepared for life with an adult monkey. “There’s no doubt that baby monkeys are adorable,” Dunningham said. “And wouldn’t we all want to snuggle with one? But in order to be a pet monkey, they have to be stolen from their mothers. Usually after that baby monkey is purchased, a few years later when they grow up, they get more curious, more aggressive, or even just more destructive. That’s when we usually get the call.”

The primate center can be a loud place. Most monkeys are territorial, and they express that through different means. “Our gibbon has a very loud vocalization when she wants to mark her territory. The chimps do more displaying behaviors, they’ll bang and they’ll jump and they’ll kind of call out like that,” according to Dunningham.

She answered several frequently asked questions:

  • People often ask why the rescued animals are living in a special center instead of being released back into the wild. “We are unable to introduce captive-born primates back into the wild, for a variety of reasons,” Dunningham said. “The wild is dwindling itself, so the space to do that is very limited. And also, they’ve been exposed to human diseases. So they could actually bring harmful diseases to wild populations and decimate wild populations. And the other reason is that they don’t have the skills to survive on their own.”
  • Do the tropical animals get cold? All the indoor areas are heated, and in the summer they bring out fans to cool them off.
  • Do all of the animals eat different food? “They do. We are very focused on nutrition here. One of the main problems in captivity is diabetes. A lot of our store-bought fruits and vegetables have a much higher sugar content than wild fruits and vegetables that they would come in contact with. So even feeding a fruit and vegetable diet can lead to diabetes if you’re not paying attention to the amount.”

The center focuses on providing appropriate companions to its primates, and sometimes animals not of the same species are paired up. “They’re very social. They want to be around other primates. They want to groom, they want to nap in the sun together. Some of them even embrace each other they’re so in love. And so we find it’s really important for them to be together,” says Dunningham.

There’s no procreation going on, however. All the males have had vasectomies. “In the sanctuary setting, there are plenty more primates out there to be rescued that we don’t need to add to those numbers.”

The primates stay active and have freedom of movement within their enclosures. The nine chimpanzees have an outdoor and indoor enclosure. “They get to choose where they want to be throughout the day,” she said.
“Many people are surprised by how big the chimps are,” Dunningham said. “In entertainment, they’re babies. … [Adults] can reach up to 150 pounds. Our alpha male is 150 pounds. That’s pure muscle.”

The Primate Rescue Center is not open to the public, in order to protect the animals. “It’s important for them to no longer be subjected to the stresses that they were before arriving here,” she said.

However, the Primate Rescue Center posts pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and maintains a website,, where videos and pictures are posted.

Kory Caudill
Three-time Grammy nominee Kory Caudill, a Prestonsburg native, is one of the most popular piano and keyboard musicians in the country. His style has roots in gospel, country, and bluegrass, with classical and jazz influence.

Caudill said he has a hard time defining himself under a certain category. “I would like to consider myself a pianist who is a recording artist,” he said.

Caudill credits his upbringing in Floyd County with fostering his musical interests and talents. “There’s no doubt in my mind that I would be a completely different musician, or not a musician at all, if I hadn’t grown up in Eastern Kentucky.”

Craig Campbell, his manager, said the area has always been a hotbed of musical talent. Caudill’s father, who plays by ear, worked with the Kentucky Opry at the Mountain Arts Center. Caudill’s mother was a music teacher.
A formative moment came when Kory was 4 years old. The family was watching a Superman movie on TV and when Kory heard the theme song, he went to the piano and put his fingers on the keys. His parents saw a teaching opportunity, and showed him what to do. “His eyes just lit up, and he would just keep doing that,” his mother, Kathi Caudill recalled.

Caudill remembers that moment. “I always remember having a thought, well shoot, that’s what this thing is for,” Korey recalled, gesturing to a piano beside him. “And I’ve been drawn to the piano ever since.” His mother said he played the Superman theme song in public when he was 4 years old.

His classical music training started at Belmont University in Nashville. “I remember when I moved to Nashville, I was terrified of what I would run into. Because the musicians that I grew up around were so good, and I remember thinking, gosh, if they’re that good, there’s no way I’m going to be able to hang when I get to Nashville. And I got to Nashville and I realized how fortunate I was because the area is so culturally and musically rich.”

Campbell said Caudill is one of the most creative people he’s met. “He can go from playing something completely original bluegrass and then one of the most beautiful classical pieces of music you’ve ever heard.”

Caudill said he approaches music by drawing from his favorite parts of the music of his favorite artists.
“I’m fortunate because I can’t really think of a lot of folks who consider themselves concert piano players who draw from bluegrass and country music roots,” he said. “My college roommate, who was a piano major with me, joked that I could make a Beethoven piece sound twangy.”

His 2015 debut album, “Tree of Life,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Engineered Album and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. His “Waltz of Life” from the album was nominated for Best Instrumental Composition.

Caudill wants to connect with people from the stage. “So most of what I do in the recording side of things is about how do I make something that is worthy of taking in front of people live,” he said. Caudill said no one ever tried to discourage him from pursuing music as a career. “As a musician I feel like I’m owed nothing from listeners or from audiences. I feel like we are in a service industry,” he said.