Indiana Wine Industry Poised for Growth

Fresh off the state’s first “Wine of the Year” medal at the annual Indy International Wine Competition, the Indiana Wine Grape Council says the industry is growing.

Jeanette Merritt, marketing director of the group, explained a number of Hoosier vineyards are planting more grapes and some new wineries could be on the horizon. She said seven wines from the state were in consideration for top honors at the Indy International, which shows the state continues to gain credibility throughout the world.

Last week marks the first time an Indiana winery took top honors at the competion.

River City Winery of New Albany was awarded Wine of Year for its 2011 Vignoles. The entry was among nearly 2,400 wines from 41 states and 14 countries competing in the annual event. The competition is run by the Indiana Wine Grape Council.

“For an Indiana winery to win Wine of the Year is very exciting for the Indiana wine industry,” said Jeanette Merritt, the council’s marketing director. “Indiana wines are outstanding, and River City not only showed that, but all of our wineries proved that in the amount of medals they won this year.”

Fifty international judges selected the winning entries based on appearance, aroma, taste and aftertaste, said Christian Butzke, Purdue professor of enology and the competition’s chief judge. Entries came from as far away as France, Australia, Chile and Germany.

“The nearly 2,400 wines entered in the 2012 Indy provided a fascinating perspective of things to come for American wine consumers,” Butzke said.

Other wine entry awards included:

  • White Wine of the Year – 2011 Gewürztraminer, Tabor Hill Winery, Buchanan, Mich.
  • Red Wine of the Year – 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, Wash.
  • Rosé Wine of the Year – 2011 Ellatawba Rosé, 21 Brix Winery, Portland, N.Y.
  • Sparkling Wine of the Year – Carneros Cuvee, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Sonoma, Calif.
  • Dessert Wine of the Year – 2011 Signature Ice Wine, Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Fruit Wine of the Year – Cracklin Apple, Galena Cellars, Galena, Ill.
  • Honey Wine of the Year – White Winter Winery, Iron River, Wis.
  • Honey Wine Blend of the Year – Wyldewood Cellars, Mulvane, Kan.
  • E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto, Calif., was awarded the Winery of the Year Trophy, sponsored by the Leisure Family. The trophy honors the competition’s best international brand.
  • Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery won the Winemaker of the Year Trophy, honoring the winery that wins the most gold medals by brand at the competition.

Indiana was well represented in the competition. Hoosier wineries won 363 medals, including 22 double gold, 26 gold, 110 silver and 76 bronze.

Oliver Winery of Bloomington won the Indiana Winery of the Year, the Governor’s Cup, recognizing the top-winning Indiana winery. Wildcat Creek Winery of Lafayette was awarded Indiana Wine of the Year for its Chambourcin.

Source: Purdue University

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