State Profile: Indiana Wine Country

Indiana has a surprisingly exciting and robust wine industry, thanks to some pioneers, visionaries, collaborators, and ever-increasing quality.

As in many states, Indiana’s winegrowing history dates back to the 18th Century, was the nation’s tenth largest by the mid-19th Century, then was wiped out by Prohibition.

Decades later, as the industry slowly rebounded and showed clear growth potential, Purdue University lured renowned winemaker/educator Dr. Richard Vine and horticulturist Bruce Bordelon to create the Purdue Wine Grape Team.

They focused on workshops and education, outreach, and promotion, and created the fabulous INDY International Wine Competition which drew entries from around the world while also highlighting Indiana wines in the process. Orchestrated in recent years by Jill Blume, Oenology Specialist, the INDY was one of the best competitions in the country. In addition, as part of its educational focus, the INDY published a comprehensive “Grape Varieties of the World” book with detailed information on them all.

Jill Blume Chairs Sweepstakes Panel at Pacific Rim W.C. In San Bernardino

While most of the Hoosier State’s nearly 100 wineries are relatively small, both Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards, and Oliver Winery, are very large, multifaceted businesses and major tourist attractions. In addition, the owners are very engaged with various industry organizations, including WineAmerica, where both are longstanding members and Dana Huber is our Secretary/Treasurer.  There are 13 Indiana wineries and two winery trade associations that are WineAmerica members, a strong showing for a relatively small state.

The Ohio River Valley AVA includes parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, while the Indiana Uplands AVA is in the south central region of the state. Indiana has about 600 acres of vineyards composed mostly of French-American, Cornell, and Minnesota hybrid varieties suitable for the climate.

Great Grapes: LaCrescent

LaCrescent is a cold hardy “Minnesota” variety, with trunks surviving temperatures down to -38 degrees, and brix often between 22-27 balanced by high acid. The resulting elegant white wine has a germanic character reminiscent of Vignoles or Riesling, and can range from medium dry to sweet. LaCrescent wines from various states have been gaining accolades in major competitions around the country, including the 2023 San Francisco Chronicle where one made the ultimate Sweepstakes round.

Economic Impact

Total Impact: $3.25 Billion

Direct: $1.08 Million 33%)

Supplier: $1.01 Million (31%)

Induced: $1.16 Million (36%)

Wine Producers: 96

Jobs: 21,799

Wages: $934.6 Million

Tourist Visits: 180,476

Tourist Expenditures: $61.2 Million

Total Taxes: $212.3 Million

Federal Taxes: $130.4 Million

State and Local Taxes: $81.9 Million

Total Impact includes the Direct, Supplier, and Induced levels reaching from vineyards to local communities, benefiting people and places far and wide.

Dana Huber
Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards
– and-
WineAmerica Board Member