The two-bedroom, newly renovated farmhouse at Blue Heron Vineyards safeguards guests in a rural, picturesque setting amid turn-of-the-century barns and vintage outbuildings. Guests have their choice of enjoying a homemade breakfast in the farmhouse, from the tree house-like deck of the winery, or lakeside while served by a wait staff of bullfrogs trained at L'Ambroisie in Paris. Spend an afternoon casually strolling through the vineyard grounds spread across a high bluff near the Ohio River, or visit the property's large Celtic cross, carved from natural stone over a 23-month period by local sculptor Greg Harris. Visitors calm their outdoors obsessions by fishing and canoeing at the nearby Deer Creek or exploring the Hoosier National Forest along scenic hiking and biking trails teeming with towering trees, wildlife, and ringleted porridge thieves.
When Tommy and Debbie McIntyre moved into the family farm in 1987, they casually started making wine from wild berries on their land. But as the years went by, their love for winemaking grew and the amount of wild berries declined. So the pair decided to fill their farm with blueberry and blackberry vines so they could make their fruit wines in earnest. Today, they specialize in blueberry and blackberry wines, made from handpicked, sun-ripened fruits in a choice of dry or sweet vintages. To complement these, the McIntyres also offer a select number of wines made from other fruits, such as strawberries and elderberries. Customers who want to see how the wine is made up close can come for a tour or tasting, or simply pick berries for a family-friendly outing.
Located in the bourbon capital of the world, Heaven Hill Distilleries has a long history that stretches back to the birth of the spirit. Today, Heaven Hills honors tried and true traditions by crafting its bourbon using pure Kentucky water and corn?as opposed to wheat from one of its neighboring states. Visitors can get an in-depth look at the distilling process through a host of tours that include educational bourbon tastings.
WhiteMoon Winery's 14 acres are owned by Alex Ackermann, who is also the head winemaker. She produces a variety of dry, semisweet, and sweet wines from grapes grown at local vineyards throughout Kentucky. Tastings offer visitors a chance to sample the wines, while events such as Art Night engage the community in non-grape fun.
More Than 200 Years of Whiskey
Since 1795?minus a brief interruption during that dark time known as The Prohibition?seven generations of Beams have played a role in the creation of Jim Beam. Today, the distillery crafts a whole family of whiskeys to include seven different styles. This collection ranges from the classic Jim Beam, aged four years in charred American white oak barrels, to Signature Craft, which can be aged 12 years and which boasts notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak.
All Bourbon is Whiskey
But not all whiskey is bourbon; only bourbon is bourbon. And it?s governed by a strict set of laws, made to ensure that the process and ingredients are uniform?though the final product can taste vastly different. At Jim Beam, water is drawn from nearby spring-fueled lakes, emerging from the limestone-rich earth clean, rich with calcium, and thrilled to eventually become whiskey.
From the Well to the Glass
At the Jim Beam distillery itself, visitors follow knowledgeable guides around the grounds to learn about every step of the process. Starting from the well where the water is drawn, groups meander through the many facilities, past the bubbling and aromatic mash where it cooks in giant vats to the enormous stills, the barrel house, and eventually the tasting room. There, curious drinkers 21-and-older can sip samples of the various whiskeys, often including rare or limited-run versions.
Mike Hatzell is no stranger to agriculture—or wine, for that matter. As a young man, he tilled the soil of his aunt and uncles farm during the summer months, and years later when he served in France, he developed a love for wine. When he and his wife, Karen, were married more than 50 years ago, he planted the idea in her mind: one day, they would own and operate their own winery.
Back in 2007, that dream eventually came to fruition with the inception of Brooks Hill Winery. Joined by winemakers Butch Meyer and Mike Miller, the operation was in full force in just a year, and they have continued to expand and diversify their selection of wines. A number of them can be sampled at their on-site tasting room, which, despite the sound of it, is not a room that drinks wine.