The Indiana’s Uplands region being declared an American Viticulture Area Feb. 12 is good news for all Midwestern wineries.
U.S. wine industry is driven by tourism. For those who take wine
seriously and want to learn more about wine, hitting up AVA-designated
areas assures a level of serious winemaking and even quality.
leads the way in the Midwest with four AVAs: Fennville, Leelanau
Peninsula, Lake Michigan Shore, and Old Mission Peninsula. Ohio has four
AVAS: Lake Erie, Isle St. George, Grand River Valley, and Loramie
Creek. Illinois has the Shawnee Hills AVA and shares the Upper
Mississippi AVA with Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The Ohio River
Valley AVA is shared by Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Kentucky has no
other designated grape production area and Indiana did not until the
just kind of affirms what we already know that we have some excellent
grape growing regions and they’re unique here in the Midwest,” said
Bruce Bordelon, Viticulture Specialist at Purdue University. “The
Uplands region is different than southwest Indiana. Posey County and
Gibson County have different climate and soils. There really is a
difference in the (grapes) that we grow and the quality that we get
between regions. It’s those little minor differences that makes vintages
special and make our varietal-labeled wines special.”
Winery, near Bloomington, IN., is one of the Midwest’s largest. With
production in the 400,000-case range business is good. But Oliver
embraced the Uplands news every bit as much as the other eight wineries
in the Uplands.
allows us to qualify as a true viticulture area and raise the level of
awareness that there is something special about this region,” said
Kathleen Oliver, Executive Vice President. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to
capitalize on that by saying there is something really unique about
these wines. We are producing great quality wines; we can do it just
like Napa and Sonoma. We are something special. And it gives us the
opportunity to look for a more premium price.”
established wineries in the Uplands AVA are Best Vineyards Winery,
Elizabeth; Brown County Winery, Nashville; Butler Winery, Bloomington;
Carousel Winery, Bedford; French Lick Winery, West Baden Springs; Huber
Winery, Starlight; Oliver Winery, Bloomington; Turtle Run Winery,
Corydon; and Winzerwald Winery, Bristow.
Butler, Butler Winery also near Bloomington, spent nearly 10 years
working to achieve the AVA designation. He agreed that Indiana has a
niche with white Traminette and red Chambourcin wines that are grown
throughout the Midwest and excel in the Uplands region. But he also sees
other wines doing well and a future for more traditional plantings.
harvest Vignoles and Vidal does wonderfully,” Butler said. “We’ve been
doing Chardonnel. I think we’re going to see some more viniferas (think
traditional wine grapes) planted. “It takes four years to plant a vine
and then get your first crop. It’s going to be a decades-plus process to
zero in on those varieties that are going to give us the product that
The 4800-square-mile Uplands AVA stretches from the
Morgan-Monroe County line near Bloomington south to the Ohio River. The
east-west boundaries run from Jasper in Dubois County to Knobstone Ridge
near Starlight, overlooking the Ohio River Valley.
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