Atop Southern Indiana's rolling hills, you might be surprised to see grapevines. But John Butler of Bloomington's Butler Winery says the 812 area is abundant in wine culture.
Here are eight surprising details that you may not have known about Southern Indiana wine.
1) The first attempt at growing grapes for wine failed because the seeds were taken directly from France, and Indiana couldn't keep them alive.
2) Southern Indiana's drained limestone soil is a great environment for vine health. This is especially true for many hilltops in the area.
3) While grape wines are a staple, Indiana also produces wine from blackberries, cherries, apples and other local fruits.
4) The semi-sweet Traminette wine was recently given the title of Indiana's signature wine; it is made from a Gewurtztraminer hybrid, bred to survive Indiana's climate.
5) Before 1971, an Indiana law prevented wineries from selling directly to the public. Then Professor Bill Oliver, of Oliver Winery in Bloomington, proposed the Indiana Small Winery Act, allowing the production of up to 100,000 gallons of wine each year.
6) Today, the 812 area has over 30 wineries. In total, Indiana has 48.
7) The Uplands Wine Trail highlights nine notable wineries. The trail hosts tours all summer and some during the winter. You may walk around the scenic vineyards and enjoy a glass of wine in each of the wine-tasting rooms.
8) The No. 1 selling Indiana wine is Oliver's Soft Red.