INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – It’s hard finding good wines, meats, bread and cheeses in small town middle America. Fortunately, such things aren’t far away. A drive of an hour or less to Indianapolis pays off with lots of good food stuff.

Pioneering Indiana Winery and Pioneer Wine FigureI had such a great day today while really just running errands. It’s worth sharing! I had to be on the city’s west side for what turned out to be a missed appointment. Then realizing I was very close to Chateau Thomas, one of Indiana’s oldest wineries, I headed over.

Dr. Charles Thomas has been making wine for more than 25 years. He takes a different approach though than most Indiana winemakers. Many Indiana wineries by fruit or juice from other states. Dr. Thomas buys all his fruit from California, Washington, and Oregon. It had been approximately 10 years since I had last visited. The tasting room has doubled in size.

I’ll write something more specific on the winery tomorrow or early this week and take a more detailed look at the wines. But I was very pleasantly surprised just how good the Carneros Pinot Noir, Amador County Cab Franc, and the Primitivo proved to be once tasted. The good doctor has quite a wine list. He also has pioneered, with a patent even, Slender wines with no carbs and only the calories generated by the alcohol. And guess what – I tasted one that was pretty good. I was warned it would be sweet, but it was not coylingly sweet at all.

The second part of my day was planned. That was a stop at Mass Ave Wine Shoppe downtown to meet of the most significant pioneers of Indiana wine – Dr. Richard Vine, previously of Purdue University. Dr. Vine is known across the country and has helped many wineries, especially in the Midwest, with site selection, terrior and grape decisions, and certainly winemaking and more.

He was promoting a book of wine stories, which I was happy to buy a copy of for a mere $20. You can read a review of the book here.

Dr. Vine and I had a great chat about Indiana wine and how he has seen it grow from non-existence to many Indiana wineries making serious and viable wines comparble to any in the world.

I’ll certainly have more soon from Dr. Vine!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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