Welcome to episode 28, where we focus on Indiana! Our featured wine for this episode is the Creekbend III, from the Creekbend label of Oliver Winery, located near Bloomington, Indiana. This wine is a blend of barrel-fermented Vignoles and Chardonel, along with some stainless-steel fermented Vidal Blanc. Oliver Winery, as it turns out, is one of the oldest post-prohibition wineries in the state of Indiana, opening its doors in 1972. Oliver winery was founded by Professor William Oliver, who was instrumental in passing the Indiana Small Winery Act in 1971, kickstarting the Indiana wine industry. Today, Oliver Winery is entirely employee-owned, which is pretty impressive considering that it is among the largest wineries east of the Mississippi River in terms of production.
Prior to Prohibition, the wine industry in Indiana was surprisingly fruitful, being the 10th largest state in the country in terms of wine production. In many cases, the wines being produced were hybrid varietals, with Catawba (a grape we have not met yet) being a popular option. It took the Indiana Small Winery Act of 1971 to change the winery landscape, and now the state is a success story; as of 2015 there were 76 wineries in the Hoosier state. Today, Indiana produces about 1.4 million gallons of wine a year and grows approximately 650 acres of grapes, from a variety of French-American Hybrids (such as the three varietals used in vinifying the Creekbend III) to vinifera varietals such as Cabernet Franc and Gewürztraminer. There are also two AVAs in Indiana: the Ohio River Valley AVA (which actually happens to be the second largest wine appellation of origin in the United States, covering 16,640,000 acres of portions of the states of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, along with Indiana), and the Indiana Uplands AVA, which has 17 wineries totaling around 200 acres under vine. (Oliver Winery is located within this AVA)
In this episode, I am again joined by Megan and James, and we talk a bit about the two major varietals in this wine (Vignoles and Chardonnel), as well as some techniques for white wine vinification: Malolactic fermentation, barrel-fermentation, and sur lees aging. My occasionally crippling dyslexia also shows up as well, as does James’ penchant for bad jokes. Enjoy! (And thank you, Oliver Winery, for including the tech sheets! You have no idea how much that is appreciated!)
This bottle was acquired by yours truly, online through the Oliver Vineyards website.