Carnevale Wine Bar opens at Newport on the Levee

NEWPORT, Ky. – A couple who own a vinery near Georgetown, Ohio, have been eager to share the fruits of their labor, so they're opened a wine bar at Newport on the Levee.

"It's very exciting," said Armanda Brunicardi-Hively, who owns La Vigna Estate Vinery with her husband, Brad Hively.

"We have a tasting room at the vineyard, but it's only open in the summer, and we wanted a place where we could showcase our wines year round," she said.

"We hope that more people can enjoy all the great wines from our area that we're so passionate about."

The Hivelys opened Carnevale Wine Bar across from the AMC Theatres ticket booth on the Riverwalk level.

Carnevale features eight La Vigna wines at the start and eventually add a dozen or more wines from other Tri-State wineries, she said.

The Hivelys started their winery, about 45 miles east of Cincinnati, in 2004, Brunicardi-Hively said.

Both trained in the medical profession – he's a pharmacist and she's a dietician.

Winemaking was in her blood, but it was his idea, she said.

"One day he just said, 'I've got a crazy idea. I want to make my own wines.' He had a passion for wines," Brunicardi-Hively said.

The couple took guidance from her father, Antonio Brunicardi, who had vineyards in Tuscany before coming to America.

They adopted two of the names of her father's vineyards, La Vigna and Carnevale, for their own.

While her husband grows and makes the wine and also works as a pharmacist, Brunicardi-Hively keeps a dietician's job and runs the tasting room.

"I like to say I help with quality control. I'm the chief taster," she said.

She's also a full-time mom with a 2-year-old.

"We're juggling a lot," she laughed. "We've hired people to help, but it's really crazy right now."

Carnevale Wine Bar serves wines by the glass or the bottle. Bottles can also be purchased to go.

The wine bar offers winery profiles, tasting notes and food pairing suggestions.

Live classical and jazz music will be added soon.

Hours are 5-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2-10 p.m. Saturday.

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