State Profiles: Indiana Wine Country

The Hoosier state had grapes and wine in the 18th century, and was the 10th largest producer by the mid 19th century. The Indiana Small Winery Act of 1971 sparked major growth, so now the state has many small wineries and two of the largest in the United States.

The state’s location and corresponding climate allow for production of many different grape varieties along with fruits and honey used for wine. Part of the state is in the Ohio River Valley AVA (also in Ohio and Kentucky), and the Indiana Uplands AVA is totally within the state. The Indiana Winery and Vineyard Association was created in 1975 to lobby for the industry.

Farm Hills Winery & Orchard is located on the Justin Fruit Farm in Bristol Fruit Hills of northern Indiana. The farm has been in David Muir’s family since 1852, and he and his wife Michele opened the winery in 2010. They produce a wide range of cold-hardy Minnesota varietal wines like Brianna, LaCrescent and Marquette, and are especially proud of their Traminette, Indiana’s signature grape and wine.

Huber Orchard and Winery in Starlight, Indiana is a seventh generation, 700-acre farm of rolling hills and lakes that’s more like a conglomerate of fun and taste. In addition to the winery and distillery, there’s a Farm Market, Ice Cream Shop, and Family Farm Park. Ted and Dana Huber are the sixth generation, with their son Blake now the winemaker churning out a large selection of wines from various grapes and fruits. Dana is currently the Vice Chair of WineAmerica’s Board, and the Hubers have been active members for years.

Oliver Winery is among the 30 largest wineries in the U.S., and in Travel + Leisure’s Top 25 Wine Destinations. Established in 1972 by the Oliver family, the winery is now the only one in the country that is 100% employee-owned and follows its core values: Respect people…expect quality…think differently…get stuff done. Their wide selection of wines is categorized under “Wine Styles” and “Wine Collections” (like the Bakery Series with Key Lime, Peach, and Apple Pie options). Another attraction is the hot air balloon rides.

 

Great Grapes: Traminette

One sniff of a Traminette wine clearly reveals its parentage of Gewurztraminer, though the offspring is generally less intense in aroma and taste—in fact, quite elegant. Created at Cornell University, Traminette is the official grape of Indiana, where it grows well and has won many medals in competitions. The wine ages well, often developing honey and apricot flavors after two or three years of bottle age.