Indianapolis is renowned for several things, especially its sporting heritage, from the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall Of Fame Museum where you can tour the famous race track through to the Pacers basketball team and the Colts Football team. Until recently, however, it has not been widely recognized for its many wineries. The opening of the Gaia Wines Contemporary Winery in 1996 has sought to change this state of affairs, bringing the art of the winemaker squarely to the Indiana area.
As Indiana’s 19th winery, Gaia has needed to fit in to its surroundings, whilst creating its own niche in the marketplace. Nestled centrally in the up market historic gallery and theater district on Massachusetts Avenue, just 2 minutes walk from the exclusive luxury Conrad Hotel, the company has needed to quickly gain a high class reputation in order to suitably fit into the area. In the short time since it set up, Indiana’s newest winery has succeeded spectacularly by managing to create 14 new award winning wines, introducing tours, wine tasting, as well as providing meeting rooms and hosting private functions.
Gaia Wines is owned and run by Angee Walberry and Margaret Broderick, making it the only solely woman-owned winery in the United States, and upholds an ideal to provide an enjoyable and educational winery experience within a contemporary, urban environment.
Margaret Broderick believes, “If we, as a winery, are going to succeed it is vital that we educate and make more Americans aware of the benefits and pleasures of wine.”
With gifts and accessories, wine appreciation classes, and additional entertainment such as Sunday Jazz and comedy shows, as well as monthly specials, this small winery fits nicely into the growing wine tasting scene which has begun to emerge over the past few years.
Other highly recommended wineries worth visiting in Indiana include the Chateau Thomas Winery and the Easley Winery, with both offering free tasting sessions and regular guided tours, as well as meeting rooms, events and activities.
Although often not widely recognised outside the state, the Indiana soil and climate provide great growing wine conditions, especially for the ever popular and dependable Cabernet Sauvignon grape varietal. The strength of these wines has however now gradually started to be noted by the wider vintner community, with the Easley Winery recently receiving a well deserved Gold Medal for their lively Cabernet “packed with fruity overtones and black currant aromas”, although some of their sweet blush wines are also definitely worth a taste to see what the region can truly provide in the way of rich vibrant tastes.
Though it may not currently be as widely regarded as California’s Napa Valley for the consistent quantity, quality and depth of the wines produced, Indiana is certainly an up and coming region with some forward looking producers, who are managing to create some interesting wines which deserve to be taken seriously, and are well worth visiting if you get the chance.