Summer is in full swing in Southern Indiana! The days are long and the weather is warm. If you are like us and you have an itch to hit the road, why not Travel the Trail and head to Indiana’s Wine Country!
We have partnered with Bandwango for a whole new wine passport experience that we think you will love. The fun of a wine passport right on your phone and the best part is it’s free! More details about this new passport can be found by clicking here.
If our nine winery tasting rooms alone aren’t enough to ease your wanderlust, here are some of our other favorite things to do while out and about in southern Indiana.
New Releases- After a long winter in the wine cellar, Summer is typically a great time for our winemakers to bring out their new releases. Vintages harvested in 2020 are starting to hit the shelves now. Make sure when you visit an IUWT tasting room to ask about these wines and you might even get lucky enough to taste them or snag a bottle to take home.
Local Restaurants- While many of our wineries have food available on site, why not check out a new spot, or a classic Indiana establishment when you are in the area. Who knew Southern Indiana had so many incredible offerings. Here are a few must not misses on our list. This has been a tough year for restaurants, they would appreciate you showing them some love to. Most have carryout or outside dining available.
Schnitzelbank Restaurant, Jasper, IN- a bit of Germany in the Hoosier state
Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant , Borden, IN -right across the street from Huber Winery, the fried chicken and biscuits and apple butter are out of this world!
FARM Bloomington, Bloomington, IN- here you’ll find Hoosier farm favorites with a modern upscale twist by Chef Daniel Orr
Hard Truth Hills, Nashville, IN- It’s a brewery, a distillery and a darn good restaurant tucked into the hills of Brown County
Pack a picnic and head to a state park- southern Indiana is home to quite a few parks which are sure to be in bloom. Grab a blanket or hit the trails, pack some goodies and spend the afternoon soaking in the sun. Many of these state parks also feature geological features only found in and around our AVA. Looking to stay the night, these parks are all home to historic lodges as well.
Spring Mill State Park
Small Town Charm- Southern IN is home to some real gems. Whether you’ve been 100 times or it’s your first visit, you are sure to see something new every time.
Bloomington (of course)- while it’s certainly not quaint, it sure is charming. Whether you are an IU alum or just love a college town, there is alway so much to do and see and eat and drink!
Nashville (another no brainer)- a classic Indiana destination with something for everyone from strolling the tree lined streets, hiking in the hills or popping in the shops.
French Lick- with so much history and incredible beauty at the heart of it, this town is seeing quite the renaissance. A trip to West Baden Springs is always memorable, or try your luck in the French Lick Casino.
Corydon- The original state capitol of Indiana and home to charming shops, restaurants and a thriving downtown or if you are feeling adventurous, Corydon is also Southern Indiana’s home for natural excursions.
One thing is for sure, there isn’t much we love more than wine and chocolate. Especially really good wine and really good chocolate! We might be partial, but we think our nine Indiana Uplands Wine Trail wineries have the good wine covered. While you are out and about enjoying Chocolate Lover’s Weekend, we wanted to highlight some of the local chocolate makers our wineries will be featuring this year.
Bloomington Chocolate Company- Founded in 2010 by home chef enthusiast, Linda Armes, Bloomington Chocolate Company, located in the Olive Leaf, has been crafting up unique handmade truffles, delectable chocolate bars, Caramel Cups, and Blooming-O’s—their famous chocolate dipped sandwich cookies! Bloomington Chocolate Company creations often tie back to their Bloomington roots sourcing local ingredients or using playful names as a nod to the town’s history.
Featured at French Lick Winery and Oliver Winery
Schimpff's Confectionery- Is one of the oldest, continuously operated, family-owned candy businesses in the United States. It was opened in its present location in Jeffersonville, IN in 1891 by Gustav Schimpff Sr. and has been passed down through the generations to this very day. Schimpff's is famous for its cinnamon Red Hots and hard candy, they also make incredible chocolate creations and are a local institution.
Featured at Huber Winery and Turtle Run Winery
Nate’s Candy Jar- Born out of the simple act of sharing love, friendship and recipes, Nate’s Candy Jar offers such a wide and delicious range of treats! Best known for their Fudge in a Cup, they also offer caramels and handmade chocolates.
Featured at Owen Valley Winery
Diamond K Sweets- In 2013, mother/daughter duo, Kristi and Kelsie Risk, launched Diamond K Sweets with one goal in mind: Make our customer's experience a "sweet" memory. Now best known for their innovative Fudge O Bits, the two take great care when thinking through the introduction of flavors, using only the finest, supremely-delicious, 100% blend of Belgian chocolates for coating (no hydrogenated palm kernel oil), real fruit/fruit juices, natural extracts for flavors as much as possible, and a whole lot of love
Featured at Owen Valley Winery
Newfangled Confections- Indianapolis based confection creator, Carrie Abbott, is best known for her delicious and addictive creation, Frittle. Founded in 2012, Newfangled Confections is a candy company that is a contemporary return to blast-from-the-past candies with a dash of love and nostalgia. Carrie recently purchased Best Chocolates in Town and plans to extend her offerings in the very near future to include chocolate pies, truffles, caramels, handmade bars and other chocolate delights.
Featured at Winzerwald Winery
Festive wines to celebrate the Holiday season with the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail
Butler Winery 2019 Sparkling Vidal Blanc- This sparkler is bottle-fermented, finished in a dry, brut style with no sugar added back at disgorging. It is fruit forward with wonderful balance.
Santa Label French Lick Red- Top-selling sweet red wine is bursting with distinct, grapey Concord flavors and aromas. This sweet table wine is made with 100% Concord grapes and produces rich, juicy and sweet flavor that is velvety, and full-flavored on the palate.
Winzerwald Winery Christmas Tree Bottle Pumpkin Spice- Made with a sweet white wine and fresh whole pumpkin with pie spices added. Serve warm or chilled.
Brown County Winery Spiced Red Wine- This classic blend of concord wine and fall spices is a hug in a mug. Heat in a crock pot, on the stove, or over an open fire for any fall or winter gathering. Garnish with apple slices or cinnamon sticks.
French Lick Winery Cheers- This seasonal sparkling wine has a distinct cranberry flavor with a pleasing spritz of bubbly effervescence.
Holiday Food and Wine Pairings
Nothing says Holidays quite like big meals filled with your favorite foods paired with fantastic local wine! Here are some of our favorite food and wine pairings featuring wines from the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail.
Owen Valley Estate Bottled Traminette paired with Bagna Calda
Owen Valley Estate Bottled Traminette paired with Bagna Calda (bon-yah-cold-uh), an Italian dip that stems from the Piedmont region of Italy. This salty and savory dip is best paired with dry crisp white wines with a bright profile helps cut through the richness of the dip.
Winzerwald Winery Cranberry paired with a traditional Holiday Feast
Winzerwald Winery Cranberry wine paired with a traditional holiday feast! Instead of cranberry relish or sauce this year,try a bottle of Cranberry wine. It goes well with every dish on the table!
With all the cranberry flavors you love in a fun wine form!
Oliver Winery Gewürztraminer and Turkey
Oliver Winery Gewürztraminer and Turkey! A match made in heaven. It just wouldn’t be the holidays without this pairing. The crisp acidity and aromatic spicy notes in the wine are a great match for turkey with or without the gravy!
Best Vineyards & Winery Chambourcin and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Best Vineyards & Winery Chambourcin and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy.The light body and earthy, peppery flavors of the Chambourcin bring out the roasted and herby flavors in mashed potatoes and a nice bold gravy.
French Lick Winery Eleganza Sparkling Wine and Baked Brie Cheese
French Lick Winery Eleganza Sparkling Wine and Baked Brie Cheese. Because nothing says holidays quite like hot melty cheese! Pop a cork on this semi sweet sparkler with notes of apple and citrus. Perfect paired with the creamy richness of Brie. Cheers to that!
Butler Winery Chambourcin Rosé and Baked Ham
Butler Winery Chambourcin Rosé and Baked Ham.The salty richness of the ham is a wonderful pairing with the bright cherry notes and slight sweetness and hint of acidity in the wine.
Brown County Winery Old Barrel Port and Pecan Pie
Brown County Winery Old Barrel Port and Pecan Pie. The ultimate decadent dessert pairing. Both are smooth,nutty,carmely and sinfully sweet. Curl up next to a fireplace and dig in!
Huber Winery Chardonel and Sage Stuffing
Huber Winery Chardonel and Sage Stuffing. This dry crisp white has just enough body to stand up to most dishes on your table without overwhelming any of them. The barrel fermented Chardonel gives the wine a nice richness without losing fruit flavors. With creamy, nutty oak notes this wine is wonderful with an earthy savory stuffing.
Turtle Run Winery Max’s Small Batch Red and Roasted Red Meats
Turtle Run Winery Max’s Small Batch Red and Roasted Red Meats. This big bold dry red is a hearty blend that lends itself nicely to the richness of roasted red meats like roast beef, steak or even prime rib. Talk about a special occasion!
What is an AVA and why is the Indiana Uplands AVA so special?
As Harvest season comes to a close in the vineyards, our winemakers have already begun the winemaking process that will turn Indiana grown grapes into Indiana grown wines. We took a moment to reflect how special the Indiana Uplands is, and look at the governmental designation that sets our grape growing region apart from all others.
What is an AVA?
So we should probably start with the most obvious question, what the heck is an AVA?
AVA stands for American Viticultural Area, or a region or location where grapes are grown that has a unique blend of geography, soil and climate that makes these grapes different from grapes grown anywhere else. This gives the wine and grapes a unique and defining character. The Indiana Uplands is distinctly different from its surrounding areas when it comes to growing grapes.
Indiana Uplands AVA
The “Indiana Uplands" geographic name was first commonly used for this region beginning in the 1920's, but our AVA is fairly new on the scene, having just been officially designated in 2013. Thanks to years of hardwork and dedication of a small team led by Jim Butler of Butler Winery, an official petition was submitted to the state government and the Indiana Uplands was officially declared an AVA on February 12, 2013. These designations are limited, and makes the area one of only 251 recognized AVAs in 33 states, and the only one entirely within the state of Indiana. While there are others that encompass multiple states, only one is 100% Hoosier grown. Making the Indiana Uplands truly “Indiana’s Wine Country”.
The Indiana Uplands AVA is massive at 4,800 square miles in comparison to other AVAs in states like California and Washington, some of which are no bigger than a square mile. Our AVA is located in south central Indiana, fully within the state boundaries. It begins at county lines between Morgan and Monroe Counties and spans 110 miles south to the Ohio River and the boundary of Kentucky. Nineteen Indiana counties are entirely or partially included in the AVA, and there are currently nine member wineries on our trail.
A long growing season, dry well-drained soils, and protection from seasonal challenges are all very important for ripening great fruit and luckily for us, Southern Indiana has all of these features. While glaciers flattened out much of the northern half of Indiana, the southern half remained hilly with sloping lands creating high ridges and deep valleys with varied topography. This is great for growing grapes and planting vineyards! The most successful vineyards tend to be on a slight incline with greater access to circulating air patterns that help serve as a protective barrier from hard frosts come Midwestern winters. In regards to the makeup of the earth itself, grape growers find alternating layers of limestone, shale and sandstone, all of which are fantastic for soil drainage and growing grapes.
Grapes grown HERE
While many people think the best grapes have to be grown in Western states or Europe, we beg to differ. Throughout the Midwest, at last count, there were approximately 32 specific grape growing regions. The character of the Indiana Uplands AVA allows for a wide variety of grapes - classic vinifera like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Riesling do well alongside more modern varietals such as Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Vignoles, Chambourcin, and Cayuga. Native North American grapes common in the Great Lakes area such as Concord and Catawba also grow really well here, developing intense flavor as they ripen in our long, Southern Indiana summers and Hoosier soils.
Next time you are out traveling the trail, take a moment to taste the grapes that our nine-member wineries grow and reflect upon how truly special it is to be drinking a grape grown at that winery, right here in Indiana!
Check out more about each of our member wineries, including how you can ship wine right to your door by checking out their websites below.
Treat yourself to a taste of Indiana’s Wine Country!
The information for this blog post was found at the following sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_Viticultural_Areas, http://www.indianauplands.com/indiana-uplands-ava/, https://www.butlerwinery.com/indiana-uplands-ava/