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Agriculture and “American Spirits” at the Indiana State Museum

Agriculture is a component of so many aspects of our lives, even if we don’t realize it. Food is the obvious one, but everything from our clothing, paper and plastic products, makeup, crayons, diapers, medicines, and even those adult beverages we sometimes enjoy are thanks in part to ingredients from agriculture.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of previewing the newest exhibit at the Indiana State Museum, “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” This era has always been fascinating to me, and I really enjoyed learning more about our country’s history and how the “spirits” of America came to be.

And as promised, I also took the opportunity to focus on how agriculture was involved in the various aspects of the exhibit, the Prohibition era, and the beverage industry in general. I’m excited to share all of the neat facts I learned!

TOURING AMERICAN SPIRITS

The day we visited was the grand opening for the exhibit so they had a little celebration in addition to giving tours through the gallery.  We were told we could bring a couple family members and, if we were feeling really adventurous, we could even dress up in time-period clothing!

I brought along my cousin, Jennifer, and her daughter, Sofia. Since it was during the day and we planned to go somewhere afterward, I didn’t want to wear the full flapper get-up, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wear some fun 20s-inspired accessories!

American Spirits - All Dolled Up

All dolled up with my pearls and pin-curls!

American Spirits - BW photo with suffrage woman

Here my little cousin, Sofia, and I are posed with one of the suffrage women who were a part of the exhibit. I even gave Sofia a fun feathered headband and pearls to wear too. She received so many compliments on her feather!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With our outfits on and camera’s on, we were ready to check everything out! One of the museum’s curators, Katherine Gould took us on a tour for the exhibit and was very knowledgeable about the time period.

American Spirits - Katherine Gould                                                                American Spirits - 1830 Bottles Consumed

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibit starts off by setting the scene to why Prohibition was established. One of the main reasons was because Americans drank VERY large amounts of alcohol during the early 1800s. In 1830, America hit rock bottom. During that time, the average American consumed 90 bottles of 80 proof liquor! That is about three times greater than the current levels of today.

One of the first parts of the exhibit showcased examples of the favorite drinks of the pre-prohibition time period and the current drinking habits. In the rural areas, whisky and cider were the drinks of choice. This was because farmers used the grain they grew to make rye or corn whiskey, as well as apples from the area to make hard cider.

AmericanSpiritsFarmHouseCollage

Hard cider was much stronger than beer. As a way to keep the cider from spoiling, distilled liquor was frequently added to the cider; giving it an alcohol content of at least 10 percent. It was very common in rural areas because potable water was difficult to come by, while apples were plentiful. Farmers could easily and cheaply turn their excess crop into a never-ending supply of cider for themselves and their families.

In more of the urban areas, saloons were very popular. Saloons of that time served whiskey, which was usually made from rye, but could be made by other grains as well. It came in barrels, and brandnames were pretty much unknown. But all this changed in the 1840s and 1850s when Germans and Irish immigrated to America, turning it into a nation of beer drinkers.

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As more companies started brewing beer, brand names also started to become established. Decorations and furniture in saloons would actually be supplies by breweries in exchange for them selling their beer.

From here, we learned about the Temperance Movement and the Anti-Saloon League, which started the fight for alcohol reform and brought the issue into politics, eventually leading to the passing of the 18th Amendment, Prohibition.

American Spirits - Chelsea and Sofia - Womens Suffrage
There was so much interesting information, and we were only to the beginning of learning about Prohibition! If you’d like to learn the whole back story, this website featuring a PBS special on the rise of Prohibition has a lot of great facts.

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Wayne Wheeler, founder of the Anti-Saloon League, was considered to be the most powerful man in America at one point. The exhibit features his “Amazing Amendment Machine” which highlights the process by which he and other fighters for reform, worked to get the 18th Amendment passed.

PROHIBITION

On Jan. 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment put into place a nationwide ban prohibiting Americans from manufacturing, selling or transporting alcohol. This time period is commonly known as Prohibition.

For the next 13 years until 1933, the “Drys” worked to enforce the amendment, while the “wets” basically disregarded it; leading to the birth of the Roaring ’20s, bootlegging and speakeasies.

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People decided to start making their own alcohol, which resulted in an increase in moonshine and bathtub gin. In order to transport their alcohol without getting caught, they modified their cars to hide the bottles. One example was the “Whiskey 6” car which had multiple places to store liquor and was adapted to reach higher speeds in order to escape the law in a chase. An interesting fact – the Nascar culture emerged from this vehicle and its ability to go faster than factory vehicles.

This part of the exhibit was very neat in my opinion! There were several interactive areas where you could test your knowledge about the era, learn if you were a “wet” or a “dry”, learn the 20s and 30s lingo, and even visit a re-created speakeasy!

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Speakeasies were the time you had men and women drinking together. It was during this time that “Powder Rooms” were born, giving women a place to use the restroom and freshen up.

My favorite part of the exhibit was the re-created speakeasy bar! One other thing that was created during the Prohibition era was mixed drinks. Because liquor was typically crudely made, they had to start mixing it with things to mask the strong tastes. The bar featured some of the mixed drinks that were born during this time and created a fun environment to act like you were a bar patron from the time.

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The bar in the speakeasy.

American Spirits - Chelsea and Sofia at Bar

Sofia pretending to serve me a drink…since she was along it was just juice of course. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organized crime was also born during this time period due to people trying to get around the ban on alcohol. The exhibit took you through the rise in organized crime, and even featured an “I’m Got Booked” photo area where you could stand in a line-up with Meyer Lensky, Al Capone, and Lucky Lugiano, and then email it directly to yourself as a keepsake!

Do I fit into this lineup?

I tried to blend in with my best “mobster” pose, but I don’t think I’d be that hard to pick out of this line-up.

Prohibition, failing fully to enforce sobriety and costing billions, rapidly lost popular support in the early 1930s. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and ratified, ending national Prohibition. Many Americans were on board with this reversal, farmers included.

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AGRICULTURE AND AMERICAN SPIRITS

After the exhibit, I was able to meet with our tour guide, Katherine Gould, where she shared with me even more facts about agriculture as it relates to ‘American Spirits’. I have shared her interview below:

Pre-prohibition beer making was quite regional. It goes back to the early 1800s from transportation limitations – they could only get ingredients and beer so far. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, beer making was regional and they also used regional ingredients from area farmers. Breweries would actually buy from local farmers.

When prohibition was passed, the farmers lost those markets. What’s interesting is, most people focused on the farming disaster that occurred during the depression, but agriculture was going through various droughts throughout the 1920s as well. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, agriculture was bit both by droughts, the depression, and food prices going up and down, as well as lost a huge business for a lot of their grains.

So when the idea of repealing the 18th amendment started picking up steam, agriculture got on board. This was interesting because your rural communities tended to be the driest communities. And that’s why they were able to carry a lot of legislatures. But they were also the farmers who needed the market. So a lot of farming groups got behind repeal because they found a new way to market their grains. So it impacted them a lot. When Prohibition went into effect, it put a lot of people out of business. Not only the breweries, but also bar and saloon owners, trucking companies, ice companies, bottle companies, (there a lot of different bottle companies here in the state) lost jobs.

Whisky and hard cider were the most popular drinks until about WWI, mid-century with the immigration of German and Irish who brought with them beer, and they made it very well. So that started to become very popular.

Indiana actually had a pretty robust distilling industry in Indiana, down by Terre Haute and around the Ohio River, with the access to water, which was very important for that. Indiana actually had the first successful commercial winery in the early 1820s down in Vevay, Indiana. They were able to grow grapes successfully there and did advertising in Switzerland to bring people to come work at their winery.

How fascinating! Katherine also told us during the tour that while the “noble experiment” (as Prohibition was eventually known) failed, there were several things that came from it that are still in place today. With the commercial production of alcohol banned, several products were created in its place. Some well-known examples are: Welches grape juice, Vino grape brick, Coca Cola, Root beer, and Koolaid, among many others.

In addition to being a prominent part of the “American Spirits” of the Prohibition era, agricultural products are how we are able to make many more of the alcoholic beverages that are enjoyed today.

14 plants used to make alcohol

Did you know all of these things are made into alcohol? An incredible diversity of grains, herbs and fruits goes into the world’s alcoholic drinks, which means that for the botanically minded, a trip to the liquor store is a little different than it is for the rest of us. Amy Stewart explains what it’s like in her new book, The Drunken Botanist

This book looks so interesting! I think I may have to make it my next reading project – right as soon as I finish the book I started reading on our honeymoon…almost five months ago. (That’s pathetic, I know.) But seriously though, this does look like an interesting and fascinating read!

Overall, the American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibit at the Indiana State Museum was a great time! It was very interesting, very interactive, and fun to spend a day back in the Roaring 20s! Jennifer, Sofia and I all really enjoyed the whole day. We also enjoyed learning about how agriculture ties into this interesting era! So next time you pop the top on an adult beverage, don’t forget to thank a farmer!

Visit For Yourself!
The exhibit is open until February 15th, 2015 which gives you PLENTY of time to check it out for yourself! But I encourage you to stop by while it’s still at least a teensie-bit warm outside, because if you’ve never been to the Indiana State Museum before, it’s right by the canal downtown which would be a nice place for an afternoon fall walk after the exhibit.

If you’d like to purchase tickets to experience the “American Spirits” exhibit, they are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $8.50 for children ages 12 and under. Member admission is included in membership. For more information about the exhibit, special events, online ticket sales and more, visit indianamuseum.org.

Ooh, and I almost forgot! If you’re of age, they’re having this really cool event on October 23 in honor of the history and rise of craft beer in Indiana that sounds really fun! Here’s the 411 on that:

Join Rita Kohn, author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beers in Indiana; Doug Wissing, author of One Pint at a Time: A Traveler’s Guide to Indiana Breweries; Anita Johnson, owner of Great Fermentations; and Bob Ostrander and Derrick Morris authors of Hoosier Beer: Tapping into Indiana Brewing History to discuss Indiana brewing history and the rise of home brewing and craft beers in Indiana. This events is 21 & over. Reservations strongly recommended. Call 317.232.1637 for reservations. 

 Tickets: $35 per non-member / $25 per member. Price includes admission to the talk, a snack and an admission voucher for the American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibit. This event will take place at Tow Yard Brewing Co. 

While you’re there, don’t forget to post pictures and use the hashtag #ISMSpirits – I’d love to see if you all dolled up in your best 20’s fashion and accessories!

Museum Social Media Information:
Website: www.indianamuseum.org
FB: www.facebook.com/indiana.state.museum
Twitter: @IndianaMuseum
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/indianamuseum
Websta: websta.me/n/indianamuseum​
​Trip Advisor: www.tripadvisor.com
Instagram: instagram.com/indianamuseum
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/IndianaStateMuseum
​Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/indiana-state-museum-indianapolis​ 

Hashtag for the exhibit:   #ISMSpirits

-Chelsea

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Preview: American Spirits at the Indiana State Museum

On Jan. 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment put into place a nationwide ban prohibiting Americans from manufacturing, selling or transporting alcohol which remained in place from 1920 to 1933. This time period is commonly known as Prohibition.

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It’s something we all learned about in history class, but most likely, rarely think about today. As a fan of history, I sat down to write this blog thinking that I had a pretty good knowledge of Prohibition and the time period of the1920s and 30s. But I soon realized that there is so much more that I have to learn!

That is why I am excited to be touring the new exhibit in the Indiana State Museum, “American Spirits, The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” this Saturday!

American Spirits High-Res Feature Image

Not only do I get to learn more about our country’s history, I also am looking forward to learning more about the “spirits” we all enjoy from time to time. If you’ve come across any of my Indiana Vino Adventure blogs, you may have learned that I really enjoy a good glass of wine. (In fact, I mayyyy or may not be having a glass as I write this) 🙂

As I was researching Prohibition, I quickly found out that some wine was actually still allowed for religious reasons. Whew – I would have survived! 🙂

Inside the Exhibit
The “American Spirits” exhibit, on view at the Indiana State Museum Sept. 20, 2014 through Feb. 15, 2015 was created by the National Constitution Center.  It spans the dawn of the temperance movement in the early 1800s, through the Roaring ’20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a constitutional amendment during the Great Depression. It includes stories of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists and real-life legends like Al Capone and Carrie Nation.

The 5,000-square-foot exhibition, curated by Daniel Okrent, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, features more than 100 rare artifacts; recreated environments (from a church where visitors can hear [and deliver] temperance speeches to a speakeasy where they can learn the Charleston and the slang of the time to a law-enforcement office where visitors can explore efforts to stop bootlegging) and several multimedia experiences.

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In addition, the exhibition includes interactives such as Wayne Wheeler’s Amazing Amendment Machine, (pictured left) which is a carnival-inspired installation that traces the complex political and legal maneuvering behind the passage of the 18th Amendment.

So cool, right?

Not only does the exhibit share nationwide facts, It also features our very own state, Indiana! Indiana’s stories of the temperance movement, Prohibition and the cultural ferment of the 1920s, are just as colorful helping to shape the national attitude toward Prohibition. Stories like Billy Sunday’s, who moved his family to Indiana in 1911, evolving from a popular professional baseball player to an evangelical Christian. (His strong support of Prohibition played a significant role in the adoption of the 18th Amendment.) Other Hoosier stories include legends May Wright Sewall, a leader in Indiana’s woman suffrage movement, who dedicated her life to peace and Grace Julian Clarke, an influential writer for the Indianapolis Star, to name a few.

Check out a sneak peek of the exhibit below:

Details and Admissions
The exhibit opens to Members on Friday Sept 19th and to the general public on Sept. 20th. Tickets are now on sale for Indiana State Museum members and general admission guests. Tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, $8.50 for children ages 12 and under. Member admission is included in membership. For more information about the exhibit, special events, online ticket sales and more, visit indianamuseum.org.

I’d love for you to join me!

Agriculture and American Spirits
As a member of the agriculture industry, I also thought this would be a neat opportunity to share some ag facts about “American Spirits”! You may be asking yourself, what role does agriculture play in all this? You probably don’t think about it, but farmers are the biggest source of ingredients for alcoholic drinks! You may have known about corn from Luke Bryan’s song, “Rain is a Good Thing” where he references, “Rain makes corncorn makes whisky” but…

DID YOU KNOW that crops such as barley, sorghum, rice, hops, apples, wheat, grapes, sugarcane, and even potatoes are also used to make different kinds of alcohol?

This means that when Prohibition was put into place, the demand for crops declined, putting even more economic pressures on farmers.

As I tour the “American Spirits” exhibit this weekend, I am also going to focus on highlighting how agriculture is involved in the various aspects of the exhibit as well as the beverage industry in general. I’ll be live tweeting from the event too so if you’d like to get a sneak peek of what’s inside, be sure to follow me at @Chelsea_PA on Twitter!

And to share all of the fun things I learned while at the exhibit, I’ll post a recap blog as well as provide more insight into all things “Agriculture and American Spirits” – so be sure to check back next week!

~Chelsea

 

 

Museum Social Media Information:
Website: www.indianamuseum.org
FB: www.facebook.com/indiana.state.museum
Twitter: @IndianaMuseum
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/indianamuseum
Websta: websta.me/n/indianamuseum​
​Trip Advisor: www.tripadvisor.com
Instagram: instagram.com/indianamuseum
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/IndianaStateMuseum
​Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/indiana-state-museum-indianapolis​ 

Hashtag for the exhibit:   #ISMSpirits

Credits: Indiana State Museum Press Release. American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition(italicize) was created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Local Sponsors – Supported by: 21st Amendment; Contributors: Barnes and Thornburg LLP, Republic National Distributing Company and American Harvest Vodka.

Mystique Winery & Vineyard – Southern Indiana’s Newest Stop on the Hoosier Wine Trail

As I sit here with all of this warm weather, (SERIOUSLY? 70 degrees in DECEMBER?) I have decided that it would be a perfect evening to enjoy a glass of wine outside and embrace the few hours of daylight we have left. And to add to that, my wine of choice for the night would be the new Hoosier Red I got at the Mystique Winery and Vineyard grand opening event last month!

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Never heard of them? WELL…. Let me telllllll you, they are awesome!

Mystique Winery is a new vineyard, winery, and tasting room that recently opened in my small hometown of Lynnville, IN. Never heard of it?  (Trust me, it exists.)

Lynnville, IN

How cool right?! I was extremely excited to learn that we now had a winery in my hometown!

Mystique Winery is a family venture that started as a dream back in 2008 by the Clutter family with the first planting of vines in 2009 consisting of Niagra, Steuben, Vignoles, and Chambourcin grapes.

(DidYouKnow: It takes 3 years to get a crop off of a vine. Talk about needing to have patience!)

It has been a long journey for the Clutters, but through hard work and dedication, Mystique Winery & Vineyard has finally become a reality.

Patti and Steve's children, Seth (L) and Zeb (R) and their wives Heather and Jennifer are all involved with the winery and were busy bees the day of their grand opening.

Patti and Steve’s children, Seth (L) and Zeb (R) and their wives Heather and Jennifer are all involved with the winery and were busy bees the day of their grand opening.

A couple facts about Mystique Winery:

  • It is Warrick County’s first winery nestled on the knobs of Lynnville, Indiana.
  • They’re also a part of the Hoosier Wine Trail.
  • They have a Mardi Gras themed tasting room that is perfect for visiting with friends and enjoying Mystique’s southern Indiana hospitality. (To learn more about why they chose a Mardi Gras theme, check out the article on them from the Evansville Courier and Press.)
  • They have outdoor seating and a fire pit – this would be perfect for my evening scenario I mentioned at the beginning! (If only I was in southern Indiana right now…)
  • Fact: They have great wine!

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Their Grand Opening was on November 17, 2012 and it was a HUGE success! Owner Patti Clutter said, It was an awesome day and we were so in awe of the support from Warrick County, family and friends. We had over 25 worker bees that worked their tails off all day and the parking attendants said we had over 1200 people and possibly a lot more!”

They had activities all day starting at 11a.m. and were busy even past dark! It was a great time and I definitely want to back! Due to other obligations that day, I didn’t make it until around 4p.m. but it was still a blast! I did miss the Honey Vines who they had perform, but I heard they were AWESOME! I ended up purchasing their Christmas CD so I still got a little taste of their music.

I tried several of their wines and they even had wine slushies! (To. Die. For!) Here were a few of my favorite wines:

If you like dry wine, the Bacchus was good but my favorite of the day was the Hoosier Red! it is a signature wine of the Hoosier Wine Trail and will be good with just about anything.

If you like dry wine, the Bacchus was good but my favorite of the day was the Hoosier Red! It is a signature wine of the Hoosier Wine Trail and will be good with just about anything.

By the end of the evening, my family stopped by too so it ended up being a fun family outing!

I want to encourage EVERYONE to stop by if you are in southern Indiana and pay them a visit! Also, make sure to check them out on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Congrats and hope you enjoyed this cake during your celebration!

Congrats and hope you enjoyed this cake during your celebration!

I want to send out a personal congratulation to Mystique Winery and Vineyards and the whole Clutter family for a GREAT JOB WELL DONE on opening their Winery!

Next time, I definitely have to get one of their T-shirts!

“Peace. Love. Wine. Exit 39”*Exit 39 is the Lynnville exit for all you out-of-towners ;)

“Peace. Love. Wine. Exit 39”
*Exit 39 is the Lynnville exit for all you out-of-towners 😉

Mystique Winery Opening In Lynnville, IN – Don’t Miss It!

My little hometown of Lynnville, IN is a thriving metropolis one stoplight town, like many small towns in America, that I love dearly. It has the basics – gas station, grocery store, bank, hair salons, high school, a couple restaurants and now… a winery. WAIT, what? A WINERY? IN LYNNVILLE?

(If you were from that area, you would understand my surprise.) But regardless, how awesome!

The Clutter family from Lynnville started the journey of building their vineyard and winery in 2008 with nine rows of grapevines. And now, with a lot of hard work and determination behind them, they are proud to present the grand opening of Mystique Winery and Vineyard!

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This Saturday – TOMORROW – they are having their Grand Opening Event and everyone should definitely stop by!

Here’s the 411:

Mystique Winery and Vineyard Grand Opening Event

Saturday Nov. 17, 2012

13000 Gore Rd. Lynnville, IN 47619

11am – 6pm

(Or as Patti says, until the last person leaves) – gotta love that small town hospitality 🙂

There will be wine tasting, (wait, duh Chels, of course there will be wine tasting, I mean, it is a winery), tours, and a whole lot more! The Honey Vines (Andrea Wirth & Melanie Bosza) will also be playing from 12-4p.m. and from what I’ve heard, they’re pretty awesome.

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I’ll have a full blog about Mystique Winery coming soon, but make sure to stop by their grand opening event tomorrow! You won’t be disappointed!

Hope to see you there!

Indiana Vino Adventure: Dinner

Here it is, finally!! The 3rd and final leg of our Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour!

I am extremely sorry for the delay on this, but with the last minute Indians Ticket Give-a-way, filming a TV commercial at work, 2 friend’s weddings and planning for my class reunion coming up in 2 weeks, I’ve been a little swamped to say the least!

But I didn’t want to leave you hanging, so here is the final part of our journey: Dinner! Better late than never right? (Please say yes so I don’t feel as bad for being so late on this).

Since it’s been a little while since Part 1:Breakfast and Part 2:Lunch, you might want to go back read them for a little refresher if needed.

After we left lunch at Oliver Winery, we headed to our last three wineries and then dinner! We traveled to Brown County Winery, Butler Winery and Mallow Run Winery to round out our vino-filled day.

Stop #3 – Brown County Winery!

Brown County Winery was such a cool place. I have been to their shop in downtown Nashville (IN) for a tasting before and I loved their Blackberry Wine and their Vista Red Wine! But unfortunately during this visit, I got a little car sick on the ride down there (don’t worry I didn’t physically get sick) so I didn’t feel like tasting the wine – but I did still get my souvenir! I got a Wine Cork Cage that was shaped like a wine glass!

I am very excited to add this to my decorations in my apartment!

After everyone finished tasting, we headed to Butler Winery for our next stop! I had never been to Butler Winery before but it was a pretty cool little place!

Did You Know? – You can’t call a Port Wine “Port” unless it’s made in Portugal, just like you can’t call sparkling wine “Champagne” unless it’s made in France!

Neat, huh? I never knew that before! If only I would have been able to take the Wine Appreciation Class at Purdue, I might have been better prepared for all of this wine trivia! Haha

Have any of you ever taken the Wine Appreciation Class at Purdue? I’m not joking, it’s a real class. 🙂

Thankfully, I felt better at Butler Winery and did try some of their wines.

My favorite was their Indiana Red! Just like its description, it’s a “fruity red wine perfect for picnics. If you are serving a meal & aren’t sure if you have dry wine drinkers or sweet wine drinkers, but you want to have a red, pick this one.”

Plus, the best part, its only $11.95! Great deal if you ask me!

By this point I couldn’t believe that our day was going by so quickly! I wish we could have stayed a little longer at each place, but we had to stay on schedule. But the little tease of a visit just gives me more incentive to go back later!

So after Butler Winery, we were on the road to our final destination – Mallow Run in Bargersville, IN.

This was one of my favorite stops of the day. It’s just such a neat place! Their tasting room is a remodeled barn that is beautiful inside and out, and they have a great patio outside with tables and chairs which allow you to enjoy the weather as you enjoy your wine.

They also have music and pizza for people who want to stay for nightly entertainment! I definitely want to go back again and stay for their events.

As far as their wine, all of it was awesome. Hands down. But if I had to pick a favorite, I LOVED their Picnic White! I ended up choosing that one as my “economic impact” and purchased a bottle as my souvenir.

The group at Mallow Run Winery! Having fun, obviously! 🙂

WHEW! Are you guys as worn out as I am after all of this fun? After a long but fun-filled day, our wine tour had finally come to an end. We had such a great time! I loved getting to tour several Indiana wineries, trying new wine, and building friendships and memories with my fellow Farm Bureau members.

I can’t wait to go back to some of these wineries and take my friends and family there.

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED MAKE THIS DAY POSSIBLE!

If you have any questions about wine, our trip, or if you would like to learn more about becoming Marion County Farm Bureau member (which you totally should because you get to do cool things like this!)  I would be happy to share any information I have!

Indiana Vino Adventure: Lunch

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!

I LOVE this shot. I caught this just right as the sun came in the skylight.

(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.

What a good lookin’ group! Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour 2012

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!

Indiana Vino Adventure: Breakfast

Now, some of you might be slightly confused by this title, especially if you didn’t read my post from yesterday. But I have to admit, I did drink wine for breakfast on Saturday (don’t worry this isn’t a regular occurrence) at our first stop of the Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour.

I mean technically it was only a few sips during the tasting, and it was more like brunch because it was at 10a.m. but I’d say it still counts – wine for breakfast.

We kicked off our wine tour at Easley Winery in Indianapolis, IN, where we were able to taste several great wines from their collection.

I had never heard about Easley Winery before this trip, being a southern Indiana girl and all, but it was a great little place!

A little history about their winery:

“Jack & Joan Easley purchased the former Fertig Ice Cream factory in downtown Indianapolis and had their first grape crush in the fall of 1974. This facility is still in its original location and is located in downtown Indy’s Cole Noble Commercial Arts District. Today, second generation owners Mark & Meredith Easley continue the family tradition of creating and selling award-winning wines and champagnes made right in the heart of Indiana. Easley Winery offers 20 or more wine and champagne offerings depending on the year and season. Great wines are meant to be shared, and at Easley Winery, we’ve been creating memories since 1974.”

During our tasting, we were taken to their Barrel Aging Room and got to select 7 wines to taste.

Here were my favorites!

I am more of a ‘sweet wine’ person so naturally my favorites were the sweet wines. My #1 fave was the Reggae Red, which makes sense as it is their #1 bestseller! (So naturally, I had to help increase my economic impact by purchasing a bottle.) ♥

They also gave us several good tips on what to pair the wines with. One cool thing that I thought was unique was they gave us recipes to take home for making fun summer cocktails with their wines!

I can’t wait to try these!

Have any of you tried Easley’s Reggae Red or any of their Reggae wines? Let me know what you think if you do!

We had a great time during our first stop and I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to the staff at Easley Winery for your hospitality and great tips!

But I repeat, this was only our first stop. We still had a long day ahead of us, so we headed back to the bus to travel to our next stop on the tour – Oliver Winery!

Be sure to check back soon for Part 2 of the Wine Tour “Indiana Vino Adventure: Lunch” at Oliver Winery! I have a lot of cool things to include in this blog so you won’t want to miss it!

Happy Tuesday!

Oh, and P.S. – did you know that Easley Winery has a Pinterest account? Check it out for some fun recipes, facts, and wine inspired décor!

Indy Adventure – Farm Bureau Wine Tour!

Wow what a great weekend!

My parents were in town, I managed to squeeze in some pool time, and had an AMAZING time at the Marion County Farm Bureau wine tour!

In Farm Bureau, we try to plan activities throughout the year which allow us to tour local agri-tourism sites, learn about different agricultural practices in Indiana and have fun at the same time.  All of the activities pretty much guarantee a good time, but I was especially excited for this one, we planned a wine tour!

Some of you might not have thought that the wine industry was a part of agriculture but it is actually a very big industry and has a lot of similarities to crop farming.

So, I like to consider myself a wine fanatic (and apparently Klout does too?) but I still learned a lot during our vino-filled day!

Did You Know: There are over 6,700 family wineries in the U.S.?

As for the wine industry as a whole, wineries in all 50 states attract 27 million tourists annually, create 1.1 million jobs in America and have a $162 billion economic impact on the American economy. – Wine Institute

If you ask me, I’d say that’s pretty impressive!

During our wine tour we visited five central Indiana Wineries where we tried several different wines, toured their facilities, and made an economic impact on the industry (AKA…buy wine to take home) ♥

Over the course of the day we visited:

  1. Easley Winery – Indianapolis, IN

  2. Oliver Winery – Bloomington, IN

  3. Butler Winery – Bloomington, IN

  4. Brown County Winery – Nashville, IN

  5. Mallow Run Winery – Bargersville, IN

Have any of you visited these wineries?

We had such a great time! I have a lot of neat information to share with all of you but if I tried to squeeze all of our fun into one blog, you would need a nap just from reading it. So in an effort to help you refrain from tuckering out, I am going to re-cap our “Indiana Vino Adventure” over the course of three posts: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. (Who can guess why this relates?)

Be sure to check back for an inside look at these awesome wineries that are right here in our own backyards! And better yet – if you subscribe to my blog by email, my posts will be delivered right to you inbox so you won’t miss a thing!

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