By: Rachael Krause, WAVE 3 News Reporter
“This part of the world makes beautiful wines and very popular wines,” Ted Huber, winemaker and distiller at Huber’s Orchard and Winery in Starlight, Indiana, said.
The winery has been in the region for 175 years. Demand for locally grown wines and products at stores and at vineyards come as no surprise to the folks there.
Huber’s produces 130,000 gallons of wine a year. They’re constantly expanding production and growing more fruit to meet demand from locals and visitors.
“Expanding vineyards all the time, expanding our production facilities, bottling lines, everything as more and more people are drinking wines from the local area. Tourism, our tourism keeps going up every year, more and more people are out driving through the country to visit local wineries,” Huber said. “There’s no end in sight, as wine becomes more and more popular in this part of the United States, people are drinking more wine and we keep expanding production.”
A recent study found Indiana went from 31 wineries in 2001 up to 116 by 2016, bringing in more than $600 million to the state’s economy and driving tourism.
Jim Pfeiffer, owner of Turtle Run Winery in Corydon, Indiana, said demand for their wines is overflowing, as customers pour into grocery and liquor stores to choose local. New wineries opening nearby aren’t competition, he said. Instead they drive tourism to other regional wineries and bring in business.
One big reason for that movement is the rise in the farm to table movement. More than ever, people want to know what they’re seeing in the fields brings that same local flavor you get out of the bottle.
“And I think that movement is just starting,” Huber said. “So we see this going on for a long time as people really want to know where their food and beverages is being made and who is making them.”
That connection from farm to bottle is sure to ripen in years to come and help make Hoosier-grown wines an agriculture industry to be rivaled.