Indiana Wine Region
The Heart of the Largest Wine Region
You might be wondering why I gave this title for describing Indiana’s viticulture when California is already the largest wine region of the United States.
Yes, you are right! At present, the state of California is the largest contributor of wines in the whole North American Continent.
But, this was not the case before Prohibition. It was Indiana which had the first winery of the American Continent and was known to be the heart of the largest wine region of the country.
This situated remained at least before the Civil Wars. The Prohibition in the country devastated the vineyards of the state.
So, what’s the status of viticulture and viniculture in Indiana today? Let’s see it in detail here…
Roadmap of Indianas Wine Industry
As I mentioned earlier, Indiana was known to have some of the largest vineyards of the country during the nineteenth century.
By the mid-1800s, the state’s vineyards were part of the country’s largest wine industry called as The Rhineland of America.
During those times, these vineyards were largely planted with hybrid grape varieties. Thereafter, the vineyards of the state were greatly destroyed by prohibition, vine diseases, and civil wars.
It was only during the 1970s that the significant recovery of Indiana’s wine industry happened with the American Wine Renaissance. Today, there are thirty wineries in the state which are being assisted by the financial support from the government and the active research activities.
The total vineyard surface area of the state is found to be more than 500 acres and from these are produced almost 900,000 bottles of wine every year. We can see the vineyards having spread all across the state from the Lake Michigan to the Ohio River.
American Viticultural Areas in Indiana
At present, the state has two American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), which are as follows:
Ohio River Valley AVA
This is a colossal AVA of Indiana, which it is sharing with the following neighbouring states:
- West Virginia
This AVA was granted in the year 1987 and is found to be the second largest AVA in the country. The total surface area of this AVA is almost 15.5 million acres and is covering a huge tranche of land area in south Indiana region.
This regions wine industry started with the planting of Catawba grape variety along the banks of the river. After the prohibition, the local wine industry is now slowly recovering its former structure and is found to be planted with a variety of vinifera, as well as hybrid grape varieties.
The major grape varieties of this region are:
- Seyval Blanc
- Marechal Foch
Indiana Uplands AVA
This is a smaller AVA, which is lying entirely within the state. This AVA was granted in the year 2013 and is found to be covering a surface area of 4800 square miles.
This is lying in the south-central part of Indiana between the Bloomington City and the Ohio River. The majority of the vineyards of this AVA are located on the hills and ridges.
Some of these vineyards are located at the heights of 1000 feet above the sea level. The history of vine cultivation in this part of the state can be dated back to the 1840s.
The less fertile soils of this AVA are found to be the backbone of viticulture here as they lessen the vigor. Thus, the region is producing high-quality grape varieties.
Now, the region is home to 20 wineries, which are mainly producing Franco-American hybrid varieties like:
Apart from the aforementioned grape varieties, some other varietals are also cultivated within the state of Indiana. They are:
- Vidal Blanc
- Baco Noir
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- De Chaunac
- Leon Millot
- Muscat Canelli
- Pinot Gris
- St. Vincent
- Villard Blanc
I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..