[custom_frame_left shadow=”on”][/custom_frame_left]The more that I learn about wine, the more I discover great wineries in Indiana. It doesn't seem like Indiana would be a big state for wine, but in actuality we have been growing grapes and making wine since the early 1800s. In fact, Indiana was at one point the tenth largest grape producing state in the country. Fast forward to today and Indiana is home to over 60 wineries, ranging greatly in size and production.
The Vintage Indiana Wine and Food Fest featured about 30 of those wineries. I had never been before but had seen it pop up on Facebook a few times. Along with my best friend and our significant others, we sought out for a day of just about every wine related with absolutely not preconceived notions about what we would find.
It was a little bit of a rainy day in Military Park, but that didn't stop the crowds. The event started at 11am and we arrived around noon. It was definitely less crowded the first hour we were there than the rest of the day. People came armed with everything from umbrellas to lawn chairs to pop-up tents. I guess we should have read the part of the website that said “Bring your own lawnchairs and blankets” but luckily they did have a few tables scattered around.
We received a tasting glass on our way into the park along with a map showing all of the winery tents along with food booths, craft booths, and a stage for live entertainment. Our goal was to hit half of the wineries before lunch and half after. Lofty goal!
Sampling the Wines
We started out a little too fast with multiple tastings from each winery. Between the 4 of us we like everything from dry reds to sweet white wines. So we got a sampling of pretty much everything the wineries had to offer in all but only 3 or 4 tastes per person per booth. They did not limit us, but thankfully we limited ourselves!
[custom_frame_right shadow=”on”][/custom_frame_right]We were amazed at how many great wines we were finding from across the whole state. Pretty much every winery had at least one wine that we wanted to buy. They had a neat setup where you could buy at the tent and then you would be given a claim ticket to pick up all of your wine in one place at the end of the day. This ensured that you could buy as much as you wanted without having to carry it around.
Our favorite winery of all that we tried was Whyte Horse Winery from Monticello, Indiana. The woman who did our tasting was full of personality and navigated us through their whole wine selection by explaining how each wine pairs with different foods. We actually ended up going back there later and buying multiple bottles from them (and I am drinking the Cherr-ity dessert wine as we speak). If we lived closer to them, I would definitely join their wine club.
Time for Some Food
After a couple of hours and a noticing that we were feeling the effects of the wine, we decided to stop for lunch. We grabbed a table and hit the food trucks. They were incredibly busy so instead of looking for which food we most wanted, we just looked for the ones with the shortest lines. Everything was tasty, however, so our gamble paid off. Amy had a huge turkey leg and the guys had ribeye steak sandwiches. I had a turkey tender sandwich and sweet potato fries–perfect for soaking up the wine!
Sadly, after sitting with our food for a little bit, we realized that there was no way in the world we were going to be able to make it through the remaining wine tents. Looking at the map, we chose just a few that we wanted to hit and sampled 1 or 2 from each. Next time we know to be more selective when starting our tasting day so that we can make it the whole way down the stretch. I also think planning to stay 5 or 6 hours is more realistic than thinking you can do it all in 3 or 4.
Wine Food and Wine Crafts
[custom_frame_left shadow=”on”][/custom_frame_left]I always see all kinds of wine foods and crafts on Pinterest but most of the time I don't see them for REAL. One booth had wine cupcakes similar to ones that I have made in the past, except they made them with Indiana wines. Another booth had chocolate wine truffles all made with different Indiana wines from various vineyards. Of course I picked up a sample box of those so that I could taste each different one! My favorite of the craft booths was full of wine bottles all painted with different scenes and colors and themes. I kept thinking about all of the bottles that I throw away and how I could be doing that!
All in all, it was a fantastic event. If you are not lucky enough to live in a state with so many wineries, you can check our Ship to State directory to see which of the wine clubs we have reviewed will ship to your state. There are fewer wine clubs that ship to Indiana but still some very good ones. No matter where you live, you can get unique, quality wine!