I haven’t attended this one for a couple years so I have nothing to compare it to, but the crowd had to be a record one. There was a concert-sized crowd listening to the free music. Oenophiles were lined up 50 deep at the main food stand. And the more than 20 wineries pouring frequently had people waiting 10-15-20 deep for a taste of their wines.
What a great event in a wonderful setting, even if it is a bit of a drive and hard to get to!
My only complaint was the crowd was so big, it required a lot of patience to taste the wines. This is a great event and if you missed it, you’ll get another chance in downtown Indianapolis in mid-June at the annual Vintage Indiana event.
About the product. Indiana continues to grow its wine business. There were several new wineries at the Wine Fair. Here’s my complaint, though – there is a certain sameness!
A vast majority of the wineries who grow some of their own grapes, and/or buy some grapes from traditional wine areas have wines that all taste a lot alike. Indiana wine has come a long way and many of these wineries are going to have to find a niche to survive!
I tasted a lot of Traminette, which I like. Most of it was very, very sweet. Huber’s was a bit drier than the others I tasted, but four wineries had Traminette sweeter than I could handle.
Winzerwald Winery takes Traminette a step further. They buy Gewurztraminer from Washington’s Yakima Valley region to make a true Gewurzt, which is usually a bit more dry. I’d recommend you taste it at Vintage Indiana.
Winzerwald also buys Pinot Noir grapes from the same area. I tried their Pinot, the only one I saw of the 7-8 winery tables I visited. It was okay. My taste buds are probably skewed from the recent trip to Oregon, but I was surprised that it was really pretty drinkable.
One of the biggest surprises of the day for me came from Monticello, Indiana’s Whyte Horse Winery. They have a Sangiovese that was absolutely accurate and tasty. They buy the grapes from the Lodi region of California, an attendant told me. It was nice take on the Italian grape.
If you get a chance to attend one of these two major Indiana wine events, go because they are fun. I hope Indiana wineries continue to grow and thrive. But I think they’re going to have to show some differences to compete and survive in the future. Too much of the Indiana product is similar.
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