After a great wine-filled breakfast at Easley Winery, it was now time to head off to our next destination on the Wine Tour journey: Wine for Lunch at Olivery Winery!
(If you need to catch up on our journey, read my past two posts – Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour and Indiana Vino Adventure: Breakfast.)
All caught up? OK, back to Oliver Winery! I’ve always heard about it and I already knew that I loved their Oliver Soft Red wine so needless to say I was pretty pumped about the visit!
Once we arrived, we met with Vineyard Manager Bernie Parker who gave us a tour of their show vineyard and shared his WEALTH of knowledge about grape growing and wine making. No seriously, he taught us a lot. I mean, who knew that you could use helicopters to decrease frost damage?!! (More on that fact later.)
Bernie told us about the history of Oliver Winery, how the business has grown over the years, and several interesting facts about grapes and wine.
Here are a few Did You Knows for your reading pleasure:
★ DYK: There are wineries in all 50 states! The hybridization of grapes allow states to grow them that normally wouldn’t be able to.
★ DYK: It takes 3 years to get a crop off of a vine. They are transferred form the nursery to the field and they can be in full production by the 4th year. Talk about needing to have patience!
★DYK: All the grapes at Oliver Winery are currently HAND PICKED! With 54 acres of grapes and different varieties that need to be picked at different times, they sure stay busy!
★ DKY: The commercial lifespan of a vine is 30-40 years! (So think back to that patience I said you needed to have to wait the 3-4 years for your vines to produce grapes…it is well worth the wait!) That’s a pretty good investment if you ask me!
Aren’t those some neat facts?! It was definitely an educational experience with Bernie and the Oliver Winery crew.
Ok, now back to that helicopter thing I mentioned earlier.
Frost is a main concern for grapes because it causes significant damage to crops if the frost is bad enough. They had a few bad frosts in the past so they decided to get a little bit creative with their methods in trying to decrease the severity of the frosts.
One method they use is to have “Frost Fans” sit around the vineyards to pull warmer air down and moves it through the vineyard which raises temperatures by 4-5 degrees throughout the vineyard. Frost causes more damage the longer it sits on the vines so moving the air keeps the frost from being able to settle.
And then the other method, like I mentioned earlier, is to rent helicopters to fly around the vineyard to push the warm air down. They created a path that was less than 5 min. to make a full circle because that’s the time it takes for the temps to cool back down. Neat huh?!
Now, this might seem a little extreme at first but its well worth it in the long run.
“Helicopters are expensive, but if we didn’t have these methods we could have lost 70% of our crop, but with these innovations we only lost 20%. So even with the expense, just a one-time use makes your money back,” Bernie explained.
I agree Bernie, way worth it to save your crops!
After our tour we went inside to have our wine tasting and eat lunch (that’s where the lunch part of the title comes in) in case you’re a little tired today and missed the connection. 🙂
Here were my favorites!
After the tasting we had a nice lunch outside on their patio and re-fueled for the afternoon ahead.
By then it was about time to head to our next destination but we couldn’t leave without getting a few souvenirs to take home! Wine counts as souvenirs right?
We had GREAT time at Oliver Winery and I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Bernie and the rest of the staff for being such great hosts and teaching us about grapes and wine! I will definitely be making a trip back soon.
Is it just me, or does it seem like we’ve already had a whole day’s worth of wining and dining? We were just now at lunch. We still had three more stops ahead of us!
Be sure to check back soon for the third leg of our tour, you won’t want to miss dinner!