The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Community

March 22, 2014

Howard Hewitt: Get ready to pour at Indiana State Fair

State winemakers anxious to show off their product

Indiana winemakers are anxious to pour their wines at the Indiana State Fair. Hoosier grape growers are ready to stand alongside Indiana’s other agricultural producers

“I think this is a recognition that grapes and wine are an Indiana agricultural product deserving of all the pride and local support that other Indiana ag products have,” said Jim Butler, owner/winemaker of Butler Winery, Bloomington. “It shows that Indiana is keeping up in this rapidly changing world.”

Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the bill into law late Friday, March 14.

“We have been so fortunate that our Governor, Lt. Governor and Indiana State Department of Agriculture understand and appreciate our role amongst other commodities in the state,” said Jeannette Merritt, marketing director for Indiana Wines & Purdue Wine Grape Team. “I am thrilled that we will be represented and able to educate people on the grapes planted and the wines made from those grapes. We will reach a huge audience who can enjoy and learn about our industry.”

Indiana’s wine industry continues to grow, strive for recognition, and build a substantial economic base from border to border. There are now 80 Indiana wineries generating an economic impact of more than $3 billion, according to an analysis by New York-based John Dunham and Associates.

There still seems to be some uncertainty of how the State Fair will implement wine and beer at the annual exposition. It certainly will be a restricted area. State fair officials have said they would expect Indiana winemakers to take an education approach to pouring their wines. That would indicate that “tasting’ would be a more appropriate term than having a glass of wine but no final decisions have been made. A legal ‘taste’ of wine in Indiana would amount to no more than a 1-ounce pour or what visitors get in a tasting room.

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