Description 1 of 2

 

The Indiana wine industry began in the 1790s when Jean-Jacques Dufour, winemaker for the Marquis de Lafayette, met Senator Henry Clay in Lexington, Kentucky. Dufour received backing from various statesmen, including Clay, and bought 600 acres on the Ohio River to plant grapes. Some of these territories were located in Indiana, most notably Vevay. While the European grapes didn’t fare well in their new environment, the local Cape (Catawba) variety was hardy and strong. “Vevay Wine” began to perform well in local markets, and other commercial vineyard sites were planted. At one point in the late 19th century, the banks of the Ohio River were known as  the “Rhineland of America.” However, a combination of economic problems, the Civil War, plus vine rot and diseases lay waste to most of the vineyards. The Prohibition sealed their fate. Things turned around in 1971 when the Small Winery Act allowed winemakers to sell directly to the public. In 1989, the Indiana Wine Grape Council at Purdue University was established to develop and promote the local wine industry. Since then the number of wineries has risen from 10 to 30 and counting. 
 
The wineries are mostly located in the southeastern part of the state, where it is the least hot and humid. Although there is still a fair amount of humidity and rainfall. For this reason, viticulturalists’ worst enemies are rot, fungus, and mildew. The most productive grapes are French-American hybrids such as Marechal Foch, Chambourcin, Catawba, Seyval Blanc and Vidal Blanc. Producers also work with European varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Riesling. The Ohio River Valley is the state’s only AVA, which it shares with Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. 
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

America’s first wine industry … the heart of the largest wine region on the continent … NO!..not California, but Indiana - at least before the Civil War, vine diseases and, ultimately, Prohibition proved devastating to the state's vineyards. Many are surprised to find that the Hoosier State had established America’s first successful commercial wine venture as early as 1802. By the mid-1800s, Indiana vineyards along the Ohio River Valley were part of the largest wine industry in North America, a region known as The Rhineland of America. At its height Indiana ranked 10th in total U.S. grape production. But after faltering, it would take most of the 20th century before the industry was revived. Today, government financial support and active research assist the nearly 30 wineries in the state. There are now over 270 acres under vine, producing about 900,000 bottles of wine annually, with strong indications for continued growth. Indiana wineries are spread across the state, from the Lake Michigan shore to the southernmost reaches along the Ohio River, the heartland of the multi-state Ohio River Valley AVA. – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

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