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WEST LAFAYETTE - Indiana's wine industry, increasingly honored and steadily expanding, has grown again this summer with the opening of seven wineries, including two in Perry County.
Southern Indiana has welcomed Blue Heron Winery in Cannelton, River City Winery in New Albany, Scout Mountain Winery in Corydon and Wine Shak Vineyard in Tell City.
In northern Indiana, D'Avella Family Winery in Granger has opened its doors.
Madison County Winery in Markleville and J&J Winery in Richmond have opened in the central part of the state.
"Seeing all of these wineries open during a relatively short period of time is very exciting for Indiana wine lovers," said Jeanette Merritt, marketing director of the Indiana Wine Grape Council.
"It's always exciting to see people pursue their passion for making wine, and, further, to see them take that gigantic step of opening the doors of a new commercial operation. Obviously, it's fantastic news for Hoosier wine aficionados, as well."
Hours vary at each winery and guests are encouraged to call before visiting. Many of the wineries offer free wine tastings, both indoor and outdoor seating, winery tours, gift shops, periodic food and wine pairing events, and assistance in planning special occasions for their customers.
Amenities vary with each winery.
With the addition of these new operations, the Indiana wine industry now has 43 commercial wineries and more than 400 acres of grapes. And the industry isn't finished growing yet, either. Seven more Indiana wineries are scheduled to open over the next year, bringing the total number of wineries located within the state to an even 50.
In addition to expanding in numbers, Hoosier wineries also are reaping the rewards of a job well done.
In the Indy International Wine Competition, held June 16-18 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, wines made by local vineyards captured top honors in several categories.
The prestigious competition attracted over 3000 wines from 10 countries around the globe.
Seventy-two judges from the U.S. and Canada evaluated entries based on appearance, aroma, taste and aftertaste.
Among Indiana winners were:
• Butler Winery, Bloomington, Rose Wine of the Year (for their 2008 Chambourcin Rose).
• Ertel Cellars, Batesville, Fruit Wine of the Year (for their Strawberry).
• Oliver Winery, Bloomington, Honey Wine Blend of the Year.
• Huber Orchard & Winery, Starlight, Winemaker of the Year (honoring the winery winning the most gold medals by brand).
In all, Indiana wineries took home a total of 10 double gold, 36 gold, 108 silver and 120 bronze medals.
"Our Indiana wineries went head-to-head with wines from throughout the world and brought home 274 medals," Merritt said. "This shows that Indiana wines are high quality and can be judged well against any wine, from anywhere."
For additional information about the Indiana Wine Grape Council, the Indy International Wine Competition and wineries throughout the state, visit www.indianawines.org.