Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana
[custom_frame_left shadow=”on”][/custom_frame_left]The first winery that I ever visited was Oliver Winery back when I was in law school at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I thought that it was beautiful and fun and such a wonderful experience. Fast forward to my recent visit (over 15 years later!) and I am still feeling the exact same way, although both the winery and I have changed a lot since then.
Oliver Winery is known for its history in Indiana but even more important than its history are all of the exciting changes that have been made particularly in last 10-15 years with regard to how much of the process is now done right here in Indiana. From growing the grapes to making and bottling the wine to marketing it, Oliver now has wines that are 100% Indiana.
My Wine Tasting
We drove down on a Saturday and it took less than an hour from Indianapolis. We jumped right in with the wine tasting because we knew we didn't have time for a tour. Although the wine tasting has gone from free to $5, it is definitely worth it. Just the wide variety of wines now in itself justifies the small fee. The list was huge and broken down into Dry White Wines, Dry Red Wines, Semi-Dry Wines, Beanblossom Hard Cider, Honey Wines, Semi-Sweet Wines, Sparkling Wines, and Dessert Wines. All in all there were about 40 to choose from.
One of my favorite things about the tasting menu and the “newer” Oliver Winery in general is the addition of the Creekbend Vineyard wines. Creekbend Vineyard is Oliver's initiative to bring the entire wine process to Indiana, including the grape growing. When I first started visiting Oliver, the wine was made in Indiana but the grapes were not grown here. The Creekbend wines are now actually made from grapes grown in Indiana. As you drive in and out of the winery you can see some of them but you can get the full experience on tours that are given periodically.
Two other interesting parts of the tasting menu were the the Beanblossom Hard Ciders and the Honey Wines. The hard ciders are made from apples and are packaged in aluminum bottles. The Honey Wine collection is an extension of the oldie but goodie Camelot Mead and features flavors like Peach, Strawberry, and Mango. The honey wines were a little bit sweet for me by themselves but ended up making a terrific spritzer with some Sprite (which I drank for football Sunday yesterday!).
More About Oliver Winery
[custom_frame_right shadow=”on”][/custom_frame_right]There is so much that could be said about Oliver that I could probably do an entire blog series. In addition to the wine that we bought (including Creekbend Catawba, Creekbend Chambourcin, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, and Creekbend Vignoles), we also picked up the makings for a perfect picnic in their beautiful picnic area. Their selection of bread, crackers, salamis, and cheeses is enough to make any foodie drool.
While there we saw a bridal shower, couples, families, people touring, people tasting, and even “Summer Music Saturdays.” Their public events range from music on the terrace to balloon festivals to their Oliver University wine education courses.
They do have a wine club that includes 6 bottles shipped twice a year at a 20% discount. Finding wine clubs that ship to Indiana is always a challenge due to our laws. You will need to visit the winery in person and fill out a Customer Verification Form to have it shipped to an Indiana address.
As a side note, just posting on Facebook that I was visiting Oliver Winery garnered so many comments from my friends who either live in Indiana or have lived in Indiana. Pretty much everyone said how lucky we were and how they wanted to visit Oliver again or for the first time. It has a terrific reputation and that reputation is well deserved.
If you have the opportunity to spend a couple of hours checking out Oliver, you should take it. Take a tour, listen to some music, and take home some of the best wine that Indiana has to offer.