Indiana’s top wine event is unquestionably Vintage Indiana held in Indianapolis in early June each year.
Vintage Indiana brings 30-plus Hoosier wineries to Military Park in Indianapolis and gives thousands an opportunity to sample hundreds of Indiana wines. Unfortunately, the event was nearly drowned out this year with a day of heavy downpours. (Pun intended).
Indiana’s second-best wine celebration might be Uncork the Uplands, Saturday, July 30, French Lick, IN. Uncork celebrates the nine wineries of the Indiana Uplands Agricultural Viticulture Area or AVA.
The AVA thing is significant. The Uplands is the only AVA in Indiana. If you’re a wine drinker and like Pinot think of the Willamette Valley’s Dundee Hills, or Howell Mountain in Napa. An AVA is a federally-recognized agricultural area which produces quality grapes for quality wines.
The 6th annual event runs 4-7 p.m. at the wonderful French Lick Springs Hotel. Last-minute tickets are $60. Wine fans can find a lot more information on the official website uncorktheuplands.com Unfortunately, getting a hotel room in French Lick on this summer weekend might be tough. The two resorts are sold out. But there are other small chain hotels nearby.
The event features wines from all nine wineries. Visitors have the chance to talk to winemakers and winery owners. Past Uncork events featured plenty of small bites of food and even entertainment. The 2016 early evening wine tasting is the first not to be held at Oliver or Huber wineries.
French Lick is a great location, though a bit of an effort to get there in the Hoosier heartland. French Lick Winery will become something of an official/unofficial host. The Doty family has a long history with Indiana wine and the Uplands event. The French Lick Winery is using the Saturday event to introduce its new distillery. The VIP event is sold out but signals another Indiana winery entering the competitive distillery business. Ted Huber has been the real pioneer among Indiana winemakers to jump into the distilled spirits business. French Lick seems like a natural with the two fabulous, Indiana landmark hotels and a bustling casino.
There is another event coming up that seems to get less attention. Indiana wineries pour their wines throughout the Indiana State Fair, 1-9 p.m., each day of the fair, Aug. 5-21.
State Fair attendees, who are also wine fans, should definitely stop by the Grand Hall across from the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The event showcases wine and Indiana beer. Attendees must be 21 to enter.