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Ted Huber pours wine for the both of us to taste in the Huber tasting room.

A day in Southern Indiana to attend the Uplands Wine Trail “Uncork the Uplands” event was educational, informative, and productive.

I’m working on a story about Indiana wine for Palate Press – the National Online Wine Magazine. So I had daytime appointments with Ted Huber at Huber Orchard and Winery along with Jim Pfeiffer of Turtle Run.

I’m obviously sitting on most of that material for Palate Press. But the overwhelming feeling of the day was Indiana’s improving wine business. NHuber and Turtle Run are certainly two of the very best in Indiana so it’s not like I was hitting up a few Southern Indiana wineries I have panned in the past.

Check out photos from my day at Huber’s and Turtle Run.

Huber’s, which I’ve probably written as much about as any Indiana winery, really is a good benchmark for quality. Ted Huber is quick to point out the family considers themselves farmers first. The property, dating back well into the 1800s, has 600 acres of most every fruit and vegetable imaginable. Just 80 acres of the massive operation is in vineyard. That allows Ted and his winemaking team to produce about 50,000 cases of wine annually.

I’ve talked with Huber on several occasions but our 30-minute appointment Saturday quickly turned in to two hours. Huber talked about reducing the sweetness in Indiana wine and guiding the sweet wine consumers to a better quality product. We talked about the industry in general, the weather’s impact on his vineyards, and more. And plan plenty of extra time if you want to ask about Ted’s brandy operation. It has become his passion. And though I admit to not being a big spirits fan, the 10-year aged Applejack Brandy was absolutely amazing!

Pfeiffer in his vineyard near Lanesville, IN.

Jim Pfeiffer is one of my favorite wine people in the state. His unbridled enthusiasm and willingness to break molds – well heck, Jim doesn’t break them he never used popular molds any way. But the man knows his chemistry and winemaking.

The thing that struck me was the similarity in thoughts and efforts between Pfeiffer and Huber. Both are moving their wines away from higher residual sugar while maintaining pleasant fruit Hoosier like and higher quality juice. The wines are far more approachable than the uber-sweet Concord, Niagra and similar wines which have been Indiana’s calling card.

I’ll have much more on these two in coming weeks.

Uncork the Uplands is just in its second year but already a great wine event, marketing idea, and should be a can’t miss for Indiana wine fans. The word Saturday is next year’s Uncork will be in Bloomington, In. That is a bit easier for Central Indiana folks certainly than the long drive down to Starlight atop the hills overlooking the Ohio River.

The Uplands wineries all pour a selection of their wines while Hoosier food product companies show off their edibles. The $75 admission is well worth the price when you consider a portion of the proceeds help several charities.

I didn’t make it to every winery’s table nor every food booth. But I did taste lots of interesting goodies that made the trip just that much more fun. I thought I’d share business names and links here for people always looking for good Hoosier food products. These were some of my favorites;

Peacetree Mountain Truffles – Dark chocolate and Chambourcin do mix! The truffles were to die for! Certainly many wine fans know the almost magical powers of a good red wine and dark chocolate. If you’re one of those fanactics check out the website.

Yours Truly wine cake

Yours Truly Foods – This company is making cake mixes which will be sold at wholesale to wineries. The samples were a hot commodity Saturday. I loved the rich dark chocolate. The owners Diiana Chamness and Betty Davis came up with the mixes and make a recommendation on types of wines to add to the mix. Unfortunately their website is very incomplete. But you can look for the product coming soon to an Indiana winery near you.

Steckler Grassfed Cheese, poultry, beef & lamb – This new business emphasizes pasture-raised products. I had the aged raw-milk cheddar and found it to be a great pairing with red or white wine. Not a fan of the pepperjack, but hey – I don’t/can’t like everything! Ha

Grateful Greens – While Greg Graft’s business is largely a wholesale operation based in Clarksville, Indiana, the basil pesto he served up with fresh mozzarella on a cracker was world class. It was one of the best things I had at Uncorked.

Fermenti Artisan – is an Indianaplis company that “puts the culture in your diet.” They specialize in artisan cultured vegetables, nutrition education, and urban farmers. Fermenti provided the Kraut on a marvelous small bite of Rene Bakery sour dough, along with Smoking Goose black truffle bologna! (Fermenti doesn’t appear to have a traditional website, but the link will take you to their Facebook page.)

de Tours Indiana Wines – Kyle Marcum introduced himself while I was scurrying about Saturday night. Marcus has started an Indiana wine country tour business. He offers a luxury limosine experience that would be great for groups not wanting to drive and taste. Packages vary in price but start at a reasonable $315 for up to 8 people.

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