Midwest Living Review
Indiana's wine industry is growing, and so is the interest of vino fans and casual travelers looking for a nearby getaway. No one in France or California is losing any sleep yet, but the current Hoosier crop of 48 wineries could jump by another five this year. The most recent numbers, from 2008, have Indiana vintners bottling nearly a million gallons of wine. In 1989, it was a mere 38,000 gallons.Two new wineries adding to the flood of varietals are J&J Winery, along historic National Road (US-40) just east of Richmond, and Blue Heron Winery, located in a beautiful location near Cannelton along the Ohio River, where they also offer visitors an old farm, bed-and-breakfast accommodations and a huge Celtic cross carved from native limestone. At J&J Winery, weddings are becoming a specialty. Every Saturday during the summer, another bride descends the wooden staircase from the second floor of the winery's 19th-century farmhouse. Vows are exchanged in a gazebo overlooking a pond, and the wedding guests are free to enjoy the walking trails and the house wines, all named for Greek gods. (Locals congregate on the outdoor decks during warm-weather months.) Many of the wines run toward sweeter varieties; a glass of the liqueur-like chocolate raspberry can easily pass for dessert. J&J has a cafe, a tasting room and a gift shop, and if you betray the slightest interest, co-owner and winemaker Jim Ramey will stop cooking pizzas in the authentic Italian wood-fired outdoor oven to give you a personal tour. J&J Winery has also added a new microbrewing operation to its facility under the name Big Dawg Brew Haus. The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail starts at Oliver Winery north of Bloomington and circles down through the south-central region. The Indiana Wine Trail focuses on just a few wineries in the southeast part of the state. The Indy Wine Trail features several wineries and one wine-garden facility all located in or near Indianapolis. Fans equipped with an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad can use the new wine application, The Indiana Winery Guide, to access information about all the state's wineries. The download is free by way of the iTunes app store.