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.