Category Archives: Events

A Perfect Valentine's Weekend, Crafted in Indiana: Wine & Chocolate

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The worlds of Indiana Wine and Indiana Chocolate are coming together this February along the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail! Wine enthusiasts traveling the trail and visiting the nine IUWT wineries will find their inner Chocolate Lovers as they enjoy complimentary chocolate pairings along with their wine tastings. The best part is, Chocolate Lover's Weekend this year has expanded to two delicious weekends! February 9-10 and February 16-17 will make up the 2019 Chocolate Lover's Weekends. Each winery will highlight a local chocolatier and treat guests to Indiana's finest wines and chocolates. All you have to do is travel the trail to enjoy! Bring your Valentine!

Here's just a taste of what you can enjoy along the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail over Chocolate Lover's Weekends:

Spirit-infused Truffles from Chocolate for the Spirit. This Shelbyville chocolatier, Julie Bolejack, truly found her passion in creating unique, award-winning chocolates. Since 2009, this determined chocolatier has been sourcing top-notch ingredients and challenging what you thought you knew about chocolate. Shop their wide selection online and check out the "Forever Bar," made from the World's Rarest Chocolate. Visit French Lick Winery during Chocolate Lover's Weekends to taste one-of-a-kind truffles, infused with spirits from Spirits of French Lick!

Custom Chocolate Turtles from Schimpff's Confectionery. One of the oldest family-owned candy businesses in the United States is in Jeffersonville, Indiana. A family who has been making candy since the 1850's sure knows their way around chocolates! The Schimpff family opened their current downtown Jeffersonville shop in 1891 which is home to sweets and something for everyone. The store highlights the family's long history and makes everyone a kid again. For Chocolate Lover's Weekends, Schimpff's will be preparing turtle-shaped chocolate turtles in three flavors: white, dark, and milk chocolate. You can taste these turtles alongside your hand-crafted wines at Turtle Run Winery! While you're visiting the southern part of the trail, you can taste more Schimpff's goodies in the tasting loft at Huber's Winery. Ask the staff at Huber's for some suggestions for maximizing your wine & chocolate pairing experience.

Wine, truffle, wine truffle from Bloomington Chocolate Company. Bloomington, Indiana chocolatier and chef Linda Armes has been "truffling" since 2011, exploring how to bring new flavor to the classic treat. She has succeeded in making balsamic truffles, coffee truffles, and even an Indiana Upland AVA Wine Truffle Collection! Formerly known as "Peacetree Wine Truffles," this Southern Indiana staple is bringing their gorgeous, gourmet chocolates to both Oliver Winery and Brown County Winery to share with Chocolate Lovers!

A perfect way to spend Valentine's Weekend with your sweetie. Indulge in the wines of the Indiana Uplands along with a special treat: complimentary chocolate pairings along the way! Chocolate Lover's Weekends are February 9-10 AND 16-17 along the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail. All nine of the IUWT wineries will have chocolate pairings during Chocolate Lover's Weekends.

Bring along your IUWT passport! 2018 15th Anniversary Passports can be completed and redeemed through Chocolate Lover's Weekends only. You can also pick up a new 2019 passport while you travel and find out more about our exciting year of events. We can't wait to see you!

To see a full list of artisan chocolatiers, please visit our website here.

To follow along with our events on Facebook, click here!

Indiana's First Wine Trail Celebrates 15 Years

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What began 15 years ago was a culmination of decades-long grape growing, winemaking, and welcoming wine lovers. In 2003 we created the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail- the first wine trail in Indiana and the only trail of it's kind. The trail became a way for people to taste and explore the great wine being produced in our Indiana Uplands region. Over the last 15 years, we've discovered even more. With nine award-winning wineries, hundreds of locally-produced wines, and thousands of visitors each year, the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail is proud of its first 15 years and looks forward to the next 15.


Our story

Our roots as a trail were established long ago, when the Huber family began planting grapes in Starlight, Indiana around 1840. This farming family came to Indiana from Germany with a wealth of experience in growing fruit and other crops. Fortunately, Simon Huber also had winemaking knowledge and interest, and knew his new land would be ideal for producing wine. Of course, our region has evolved quite a bit since the 1840's. After prohibition, there was a long period of inactivity until Indiana's winemaking began to flourish once again in the 1960's with Professor William Oliver's vineyard just northwest of Bloomington.  Since then, many grape-growers and winemakers have developed, and the Indiana Uplands has been recognized as a unique wine region (keep reading for more on that). Harvest is now plentiful each year for dozens of vineyards across the state. Over the years, Indiana winemakers have shared knowledge and learned from one another, forming a community around the art and science of winemaking. 

In 2003, a community of leading winemakers in the Indiana Uplands decided to establish the Indiana Uplands Grape Growers Cooperative and the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail. A wine trail is connected not by a direct route or path, but by a common goal and a shared experience to offer visitors. The trail was established as a way to highlight the fruit and wine being produced by the rich agriculture of the Grape Growers Cooperative, and to encourage visiting wine lovers to enjoy an experience at multiple Indiana wineries. Each winery has unique qualities and experiences to provide, and can produce a shared value in promoting one another. The trail's founding winemakers agreed to provide top-notch wine and visitor experiences and to guide visitors along the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail to discover everything this region has to offer. 


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Indiana's Wine Country

The Indiana Uplands is a geographical region that spreads across 19 counties and makes up 4,800 square miles in south-central Indiana. In 2013, The Indiana Uplands was federally recognized as a unique region for growing grapes. The Indiana Uplands American Viticultural Area (AVA) is the first and only AVA entirely within the state of Indiana. This official recognition as an AVA proved true what our winemakers had known all along: the rolling hills, clay soil, limestone bedrock, and cool growing season cultivate and ripen grapes in a way that is unique to any other region. We are proud that the wineries who made up the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail were responsible for putting together the petition for this official AVA recognition. After years of gathering information and support, Jim Butler of Butler Winery submitted the petition in 2006, which finally received approval in 2013. The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail is entirely contained within the Indiana Uplands AVA. We represent Indiana's Wine Country and welcome you to come explore!

How to #travelthetrail

If you have a weekend to spare or enjoy taking day trips to explore, consider traveling the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail. You can visit all nine wineries in one weekend or visit a few here and there, completing the entire trail at your leisure. We think it's most fun to plan your trail travels all within one year, so you can compare and contrast the wines, the vines, and the experiences at all the wineries while still in recent memory. Maybe you discover a new favorite grape, like Catawba, and make a point to taste each Catawba wine you come across along the trail- while they are made from the same grape varietal they will all have unique tastes! Wherever you decide to begin, pick up a trail passport (new VIP passports being released this year!) and get it stamped at each winery. Once you've visited all nine, you can turn in your completed passport for a souvenir gift from us. If you complete a VIP Passport in 2018, you will receive our 15th Anniversary gift: an Indiana Uplands stainless steel wine tumbler!

We also host trail-wide events and themed weekends (such as Chocolate Lover's Weekend and our upcoming 15th Anniversary Weekend) to bring the winery experiences together for special occasions. Our largest event, Uncork the Uplands, brings wine and people from all nine wineries together to the same place for one day- the 2018 event will be the 8th annual!

Traveling the trail has never been more exciting than it is now! From large wineries with over 100 employees to small wineries where you are greeted by the winemakers themselves, we pride ourselves on the adventure you can find as you travel the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail. Travel the trail with people you love and prepare to visit again and again! Download a trail map here.

Celebrating 15 years

2018 marks 15 years as a wine trail and grape grower's cooperative- we think that's worth celebrating! We're throwing ourselves a little celebration to honor our anniversary and we hope you'll visit to help us commemorate this milestone. On April 21 & 22, each winery will have a sweet treat to offer along with your wine tasting to "cheers" to 15 years. See our 15th Anniversary Facebook event for more information. We will also be releasing our new VIP Passport during the anniversary weekend- be one of the first to travel the trail as a VIP! See you there!

A look at the next 15 years

We can only imagine what's to come in the next 15 years. It has been a pleasure sharing our wines with you and we can't wait to welcome you back to the Indiana Uplands soon. Here's to another wonderful 15 years!

How To: Pair Wine & Chocolate & Why They Make Such A Great Couple

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Chocolate and wine are a classic coupling- one you can always depend on and look forward to enjoying. Both complex and exceptional on their own, wine and chocolate are entirely lovely together. Thank goodness someone had the idea to make this match! Have you ever wondered, though, what makes them such a great couple? Here are some tips for pairing wine and chocolate and a few reasons why they work so well together:

    1. Look for common ground. Whether that’s in texture, flavor, or ingredients, it’s a good place to start. Rich, creamy chocolates will pair nicely with deep, luxurious wines. The smooth, full-bodied texture of French Lick Winery’s Chambourcin would be divine alongside a velvety, dark chocolate truffle. A raspberry dark chocolate ganache is delightful with Best Winery & Vineyards’ Red Raspberry wine.
    1. Sip, bite, sip. For the best experience, we recommend this method. Take a sip of your wine and enjoy it. Then, take a bite of the chocolate and before it’s all gone, take another sip of your wine. Notice how the lingering flavors of the chocolate change the taste of the wine! Try it. You can thank us later.
    1. Opposites attract. It’s true! While finding similarities in your wine and chocolate are a good place to begin (see tip #1), don’t be afraid to take risks. Sometimes the nutty, salty, chocolate turtle just needs a sip of a smoky, buttery Chardonnay. Or, if you’re more of a sweet wine fan, you might love the fruity, refreshing nature of Vignoles alongside your chocolate turtle. You can test out both of these ideas at Turtle Run Winery, of course!
    1. Think inside the glass! Wine and chocolate pairing can go much further than just having a piece of chocolate with your wine. Have you ever heard a wine described as “chocolatey?” Sometimes, wines are actually infused with chocolate. More frequently, however, a winemaker has found the perfect blend of grapes, oak, and time to create a sophisticated wine which might be so rich and bold that it reminds you of chocolate. Take Huber Winery’s Ruby Port, for example- while this would be an exceptional wine to pair with a refined chocolate, it makes a sweet-tooth satisfying dessert all on its own.
    1. Quality matters. While it’s perfectly fine to snack on your favorite old-school candy bar while you drink your favorite wine and watch The Voice, that’s not what we’re talking about here. If you’re looking for a wine and chocolate pairing to “wow” your taste buds and your friends, seek out high-quality products from sources you know and trust. Surely, your town has local chocolatiers or bakeries making fresh treats daily! Take Schimff’s Confectionery in Jeffersonville, IN, for example: this family-owned candy business has been making delicious goodies since 1891! You can find Schimpff’s items at both Huber’s and Turtle Run winery during Chocolate Lover’s Weekend this year.
  1. If you like it, it’s a good pairing. This is the last tip and likely the most important of all. We are sharing some good ideas and knowledge behind pairing wine and chocolate, but the truth is: there are no rules. If you taste a wine and chocolate pairing that you adore, it’s a good pairing! Trust your preferences and treat yourself to something you love.

Join us for the wine and chocolate pairing event of the year- Chocolate Lover’s Weekend! Visit all nine wineries along the Indiana Uplands Wine trail for complimentary chocolates with each wine tasting. Explore Indiana’s Wine Country with your Valentine, February 9-10 and 16-17, 2019. More information on our website or follow along on Facebook for details! See you there!

Uncork Recap: An Afternoon of Bliss


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!




Indy International Wine Competition results!


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.