A trip through Indiana’s wine country is a precious experience. Not only do you get to taste fantastic Hoosier wine, eat delicious food, and see an area of the world that is famed for its viticulture & beauty, but you get a peek into the inner workings of the daily life of a winery.
No matter which winery you visit (especially here in the Indiana Uplands) you’ll encounter a variety of tasting experiences and wine lovers, just like you!
Name: Kathy Bodle-Perez
IUWT Winery: Oliver Winery
Years at Oliver Winery: 13 Years
Please describe your role at the winery:
I help run the tasting room and try to make sure everything is in place so that customers can have the best experience possible. I also give tours which is a really entertaining part of my job. I get to interact with a group of guests who really want to know all about our winery and the great wines that we make.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Being able to work with awesome, interesting and kind people and being able to help them by doing whatever it takes to make our customers experience the very best it can be.
What are your favorite wines at your winery?
Our sparkling wines made in the champagne method and our dry reds!
How do you taste wine? Please walk us through a wine tasting.
The method we like to use is the five s’s which involve using all of your senses. The first step is seeing the pretty color of the wine and examining the clarity by tilting the glass and looking through the wine towards the light or against the lighter colored tasting list.
How do I smell? Is swirling a glass important?
Swirling is the second step in wine tasting. Swirling releases the volatile esters, the essence that our winemakers protect throughout winemaking so that you can enjoy the really fruit forward quality of our wines. Having swirled the glass you can better enjoy the aromas. (Smelling is the third step.)
The fourth step is everybody’s favorite, sipping the wine! I want to make sure that I have described the wine before the customer sips, giving them an expectation of what they are about to discover.
The last step in wine tasting is savoring the wine and that is giving some thought to what just happened with your senses. Does the taste linger, did the wine excite different parts of your palate, and maybe most important, do you need another sip?
Is there a “right” or “wrong” answer to how it smells or tastes?
No. I feel that if I present the flavors and smells appropriately customers won’t be surprised at what they are smelling and tasting. This leads to their tasting being right for them. I am successful when they learn what they enjoyed and have some new adjectives to describe that. Wrong would be if I couldn’t be bothered to help them understand what to expect. Each individual has their own sense of taste and we are just trying to help them get in touch with that and figure out how to describe what they enjoy.
What is dry?
Lacking sweetness. Sometimes our winemakers balance the acidity and fruitiness of the wines so well that it actually mimics sweetness. Others of our dry wines just are rich and fruity in a way that doesn’t require any sweetness to be delicious.
What should a customer expect to gain from a wine tasting?
A better understanding of what their taste in wine is. If we can help them through learning about how to appreciate wine using all of their senses they almost always walk away with a better ability to make wine choices in the future.
Any tips for a customer before visiting a winery for the first time?
Go to that winery’s website and find out what all they offer and call ahead with any questions you have regarding when to do a tasting and/or tours. Most wineries will offer directions and any scheduled events that you might want to know about before you make your trip.
What do you love most about the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail?
The uniqueness of each winery on the trail. For example, ours is both the oldest and the largest producing. Also, the family story of Oliver Winery is a great one. Come out and do a tour, I don’t want to give it all away!
I have other favorite wineries on the trail and have visited all of the different wineries on the Indiana Uplands trail several times. I think the common thread of our wineries is the growing of grapes and winemakers who have a passion for their craft. We all support each other and have great pride in being part of such a beautiful geography, The Uplands, in such a beautiful part of the state.
Each & every month we debut at least 2 different vintages or blends. For March, there should be considerably more. Look for new releases throughout the month of Max’s Small Batch Red with our 48th version. For those unfamiliar with Max’s Small Batch Red’s, they are our top of the line dry red blends.
And we don’t hold back.
The staff decides what style of Max’s (normally bold as can be) we want, then we start blending from the 50 barrels of wine. We don’t care what the vintage is, nor grape varieties. The desire is to blend a consistently complex dry red with a long, lingering finish.
We just debuted our Dry Traminette 2016, a barrel fermented traminette, sur lie, or on the lees or aged on the yeast. Before fermentation, we soaked the juice on the crushed skins for 4 hours before pressing to release complex phenolics from the skins into the juice soon to be wine. The aromas are of cotton candy and vanilla with lots of complex and boundless fruity flavors.
Expect us to bottle zinfandel, syrah, cabernet franc, some barrel fermented Vignoles and towards the end of the month, our big seller, Blue My Mind, made from the Steuben grape. If you like sweeter wines, come try the entire “My Mind” line up of sweet wines made according to the European laws, in which we arrest or stop fermentation and not back-add sugars or juices to sweeten the wine. Slip My Mind, for instance, is pure Niagara….well, no it’s not. It has a small percentage of Diamond (yet another grape variety) in it. Or perhaps Crossed My Mind, a blended red.
Additionally, it’s quite easy to find us in the vineyard at this time, so stop by and say “Hi” as we prune, prune and prune some more.
Laura and Jim and the Staff at Turtle Run Winery
As you prepare to celebrate with friends or sit down with family this holiday season, it’s good to know what kind of wine to serve on the right occasion with the right meal, right? Us at Indiana Uplands Wine Trail are here to share some of our favorite wines along with food pairing suggestions. Each of our wineries’ selections include a variety of wines that pair well with anything from green bean casserole to mashed potatoes, to a nice cheese plate, and more.
Spiced Apple – Forget the pie. Bring out the pretzels and enjoy a glass of Best Vineyards Spiced Apple wine. It’s apple pie in a bottle; a perfect way to finish off that holiday meal.
Nouveau – Produced in the traditional French Nouveau style but with a unique Hoosier twist. Bright fruity flavors pair with the holiday dinner. Or serve it warmed with mulling spices on a brisk fall walk.
2015 estate-grown Chambourcin Rose for your holiday table. It is a semi-dry rose with a wonderful aroma and flavor of strawberries, kiwi, and cherries. We suggest pairing it with pork or poultry. Retail price is $15.95.
Our suggested white wine to cap your Holiday feast is our 2015 estate-grown Late Harvest Vignoles. Aromas of ripe pears with a sweet tropical finish. Double Gold medal winner.
The bright and fruity characteristics of Autumn White Wine are a wonderful pairing for your Christmas dinner. Add some of your homemade cranberry sauce on the side and it is a treat for the taste buds!
Heaven’s View Vidal – Extended time on the vine in the warm autumn sun of our vineyard lends aromas of pineapple, mango and honey with a crips green apple flavor. Wonderful paired alongside the classic roasted turkey and all the fixings.
Cabernet Franc – Estate bottled dry red wine with berry and toasted oak flavors. Perfect complimenting the beef pot roast sure to grace your family’s table.
Looking for a new treat for your dessert table? Try Laura’s Crema Dolce Pumpkin Bread!
Crema Dolce Pumpkin Bread
Yields: 3 – 8×4 loaves
2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
One 29-ounce can Libby’s pumpkin (not pie filling)
4 large eggs
1 cup walnut oil (can substitute other light oil if there is a nut allergy)
4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Crema Dolce
Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease three 8in x 4in loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, pumpkin, eggs, and nut oil. Beat with a large whisk or an electric mixer until smooth.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt, whisking lightly to remove any lumps. Gently combine the wet and dry mixtures and beat until smooth. Stir in the cream sherry. Vigorously beat until thoroughly blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. The batter will be thick.
Scoop batter into prepared pans, filling each no more than 3/4 full. Bake immediately in the center of the preheated oven 65 to 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into each center comes out clean. The top surfaces will be crusty and have a long center crack. Let stand 5 minutes in the pans before turning the loaves out onto a rack to cool completely.
FOR BEST FLAVOR: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let set at room temperature overnight or up to 4 days before serving.
Traminette – This semi-dry white is full of characteristic honeysuckle notes and a delicate fruitiness that pairs perfectly with your Christmas feast, from green bean casserole to turkey to cranberry sauce.
Barrel Aged Pinot Gris – A limited release wine, this one spends a short time aging in oak, which lends a softness to the usual high acid you get from this grape. The oak smooths out the edges but the wine manages to maintain its crispness, making it an ideal selection for rich foods commonly served during the holidays, or as a pairing with a cheese course.
Creekbend Noir 2015 – A dry red that never undergoes barrel aging, allowing all the abundant fruit character of black cherries, blackberries, and currant notes to shine. With a light body and soft, lingering finish it is the perfect accompaniment to pork roast or vegetable dishes looking for a jammy pairing.
Creekbend Tawny 2013 – 50% Chambourcin and 50% Vidal Blanc grapes. Both varietals are fermented and arrested by neutral grape spirits, blended and then aged to develop the wonderful tawny characteristics of the venerable Portuguese styles. Fig, dates, caramel and butterscotch fill the warm mouth feel and make for the perfect dessert pairing with pumpkin or pecan pie. Or skip the desserts altogether, and wrap up in a blanket and sip next to a roaring fire for the perfect after-dinner nightcap.
Persimmon Heritage is a perfect finish to your holiday meals, enjoy this vanilla and cinnamon infused dessert wine that screams holiday season. The men have options too with our Persimmon Bold, a semi-dry persimmon wine aged in a bourbon barrel for 6 months. space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space space
“With the Christmas Holiday fast approaching, we are asked often, “What wine would you recommend for Christmas turkey?” My response, “Whatever wine you like. If you like a sweeter wine, perhaps go with our estate grown and bottled, “Open My Mind 2016” made from our Diamond grapes. A little drier, perhaps our estate-grown and bottled Vignoles 2016. Both wines are lighter in alcohol so if you ever get that metallic taste in your mouth from drinking wine with food, both the sweetness and the lower alcohol should tamp that down. Or for the more bold folks, perhaps some estate-grown and bottled Chambourcin NV, made from blending 2011 and 2013 barrel aged Chambourcin. But most importantly, whatever wine you enjoy, enjoy it most with the family and friends you share this holiday with this year.”
Winzerwald Gewürztraminer | This Semi-dry Gewürztraminer is a perfect turkey or roasted goose pairing. It’s fruit forward flavors and a touch of residual sugar and more complex floral notes can stand tall among all the competing holiday dinner foods including sweet potatoes & marshmallows, tangy cranberries, herbed gravies and savory dressing; whereas a super dry wine might pale amongst all that fruit, sugar and salt. The acidity will also help cleanse the palate after the onslaught of flavors, too. Dry enough for dry wine drinkers to enjoy, and paired with a meal is also enjoyed by sweet wine lovers, too.
Winzerwald Cranberry | Winzerwald has been producing Cranberry wine since 2004. Cranberry juice was a breakfast favorite of Donna Adams, one of the owners who grew up in Wisconsin where cranberry bogs dot the northern landscape. The Cranberry wine is a perfect sweet match to the sweet and fruity components on the Christmas table, and of course, a perfect companion to the cranberries themselves. Its tartness holds up to the fattier dark meats and savory side dishes, too. Winzerwald’s Cranberry wine has a perfectly sweet and tart balance, that while a sweet wine, the tartness of the Cranberry itself makes the wine loved by dry wine lovers as well. Its beautiful, cranberry color looks stunning in filled glasses around your family’s table, too! Winzerwald’s Cranberry and red & white spiced wines can be purchased in a regular bottle or a tree-shaped holiday bottle.
Nothing makes us happier than having a home full of family and friends, gathered for no good reason other than to be together. With several holidays around the corner, we came up with a colorful, creative way to decorate your favorite wine glasses!
These designs make for an adorable centerpiece whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving, having a Halloween party, entertaining friends, or simply sitting around the table with your family. In other words, they’re good enough for company but not too formal for a casual dinner or get together. Not into centerpieces? Personalize your glasses individually according to your favorite designs or upcoming holidays!
Alright, grab your paintbrushes and lets get colorful!
- 3 – 4 of your favorite IUWT wine glasses
- Enamel paint in your choice of colors
- A set of detail paint brushes
Start by wiping your wine glasses clean to make sure they’re free of dust and debris (this helps the paint stick as well).
Begin by painting the bowl of your wine glasses so you can paint the stem once it’s dry. Allow the first layer to dry 5-8 minutes. Apply base layers until completely covered. This will usually take 3 layers of paint.
Now that your base paint is dry, it’s time for details! The sky is the limit on your seasonal designs, so we provided a few examples to spark your creativity!
Here’s to a great fall & holiday season!
What pairs perfectly with your couch and some heavy knits? A warming cocktail featuring our favorite fall ingredients and select IUWT wines, of course. This weekend, stock the bar cart and treat yourself to one of these cozy drinks.
from Winzerwald Winery
A great transition cocktail from the fruity sangrias of summer to the warm winter Glühwein.
Autumn Sangria mixes the cinnamon and spice of the Glühwein with the delicious apple cider and fresh fruit flavors all served chilled for a special Fall treat.
- 2 bottles Winzerwald Winery Glühwein
- 2 cups sparkling cider (or pure apple cider)
- 1 small pear
- 1 small green apple
- 1 small red apple
- 1 small orange
Pour bottles of Glühwein into a pitcher. Add the cider and stir to mix. Thoroughly rinse and dry all the fruit. Cut thin slices of each fruit and add to the pitcher.
Cover top of pitcher with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. This can be prepared a day or two in advance, which will infuse more fruit flavor into the wine and spice into the fruit. Add a few pieces of the soaked fruit to each serving glass. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
from Butler Winery
- 1 Part Butler Peach Wine
- 1 Part E & J Peach Brandy
- 1 Part White Crème de Cacao
- 1 Part Heavy Cream
- Dash of Nutmeg
Serve shaken in martini glass. Garnish with nutmeg.
from Oliver Winery
Vibrant colors and fall flavors spice up this refreshing and zesty cocktail
- 5 oz Oliver Maximum Port
- 3.5 oz Orangina
- 5 oz lemon juice
- 5 oz club soda
- Pinch of zest
- 2 tsp mulling spice
Stir and pour over ice. Garnish with an orange slice.
from Oliver Winery
Fruity and fun for the perfect tailgate delight
Pour over ice, stir, and garnish with fresh or frozen blackberries.
from Owen Valley Winery
- 3 oz Valley Blush
- 2 oz Blueberry
- 1 oz Pink Lemonade
- 1/2 oz Brown Sugar Syrup (2 cups Brown Sugar 1.5 Water & bring to boil)
Garnish with 5-6 Blueberries. Ice Hand Cracked to Fill Glass
Another Uncork the Uplands is in the books & we’re still reminiscing over the afternoon spent celebrating the amazing and innovative wineries of the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail! With over 400 attendees, our nine wineries had their work cut out for them pouring over 60 different wines for the exhilarating 3-hour event!
This year we landed in the beautiful town of French Lick; home to French Lick Winery, Spirits of French Lick Distillery, and host to our event: French Lick Springs Hotel. All 60 rooms saved at French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs Hotel were booked solid, giving event-goers a safe option to settle in after an afternoon of sipping on wine! And of course, easy access to the ballroom where all the fun occurred!
Entering the Windsor Ballroom, you were immediately immersed into the world of the IUWT. With live music playing in the background, attendees were able to visit each of the nine wineries along the trail, all in one place! At each stop there was tasting, pairing with delicious foods and conversation about the amazing viticulture and wine-making found along the Uplands. The winery tables were placed throughout the room according to where they could be located on the north and south portions of the trail. Wooden directional signs could be found in the center of the room, pointing to their corresponding winery.
The number featured on each arrow indicated how far away each winery was to the location of the event! (See image: Owen Valley = 65 miles away from French Lick Resort.)
Axis Apparel Co. collected a steady crowd of on-lookers while live-printing specially designed t-shirts for the event! With their specialty water-based ink, the two designs of t-shirts flew off the screen-printer and into event-goers hands! Over 200 t-shirts were sold throughout the day!
Located in the north side of the room, artist Jessica Newlin could be found creating an over-sized illustration of the wine trail map! Each winery was carefully plotted, and even given their own icon to represent the essence of their culture.
Now that Uncork is behind us, we would like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate IUWT! As we reflect on this year’s 6th annual running, we can’t help but feel immense gratitude to all of our incredible winemakers, guest artisans, and passionate guests who made the day possible! Cheers to another year of wine innovation!
Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more upcoming events,
winery specials, and an inside look into the world of IUWT!
The results are in from the Indy International Wine Competitions, one of the largest and most respected contests in the United States, in which 20 countries were represented this year with 2100 wines entered in 74 different wine classes. For instance, Zinfandel would be a class, as would many other grape varieties, including Chardonel and Chambourcin. In addition, there are blended wine categories too.
The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail wineries won 10 of the 74 classes! And we didn’t even have wines represented in every class.
But first, the big kudos go out to Huber’s Orchard and Winery. Congratulations Ted Huber for winning the Indiana Winemaker of the Year, and for Huber’s Orchard and Winery for winning the Governor’s Cup!
Also, a super great job goes out to French Lick Winery for winning the Traminette of the Year with their 2014 vintage. Traminette is the Indiana state grape, so this is a big award!
Winning a class means a winery had the very best entry in that classification. Those aren’t easy to win, especially considering our wines are judged against the best the world is entering.
So here is a list of the Best in Class!
Berry Wines – Best Vineyards
Carbonated – Huber Winery
Catawba – Huber Winery
Chambourcin – French Lick Winery
Chardonel – Butler Winery
Niagara – Turtle Run Winery
Other White Hybrids – Huber Winery
Pinot Gris / Grigio – Oliver Winery
Red American Blend – Turtle Run Winery
Sauvignon Blanc – Oliver Winery
When visiting the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail wineries, exceptional wine exists everywhere. Each winery contributed to the following medal count.
Double Gold – All judges who tried these wines deemed them gold medal deserving. Not an easy feat. Only 6.6 % of all wines meet this mark. Indiana Upland Wineries – 10 double gold medals
Gold Medals – The standard bearer of excellence. Only 12% of all wines achieve this mark. Indiana Upland Wineries – 18 gold medals.
Silver Medals – Exceptional quality wines. Indiana Upland Wineries: 59 silver medals.
Bronze Medals – Good, solid, high quality wines. Indiana Upland Wineries: 23 bronze medals.
Indiana Uplands Wine Trail Wineries – Experience Wines on par with the best the world has to offer.