Naturally, the chefs at Cooper’s Hawk have a sharp eye when it comes to wine pairings. Each of the restaurant’s contemporary dishes is crafted with a particular wine in mind, which makes plenty of sense given the fact that there’s a winery located just next door. Surrounded by oaken barrels and racks lined with glistening bottles, diners may be forgiven for thinking that they made a wrong turn and ended up in the winery itself. After your meal, see the real thing in the Napa–style tasting room, where you can sample up to eight different wines. The selection includes something for everyone, including graceful blush wines and cabernets whose flavors unfold like a novel scribbled on the wings of an origami crane.
Buck Creek Winery is truly the result of a joint effort between family and friends, and it began its first year with 1,500 vines. That was 1991. Back then, it was called Durm Vineyards, after its founders. With the help of the community, friends, and travelers from both near and far, harvests passed, and the founders sold their grapes to other wineries.
Rechristened Buck Creek Winery in the spring of 2006, the vineyard quickly became home to a host of award-winning wines, including Alley Cat, a slightly spicy red with notes of cranberry, strawberry, and territorialism.
Situated amidst 80 acres of rolling countryside, Chateau de Pique Winery hosts wine tastings inside a fully restored, 19th-century horse barn. Glasses swirl handcrafted wines such as bold, dry reds, Late Harvest Riesling, buttery Chardonel, and juicy Peach Bum. In warmer months, a 6,500-square-foot tent accommodates up to 350 guests during special events, and two satellite tasting rooms provide sips in Indianapolis and Clarksville year-round.
When Harmony Winery co-owner Kevin Croak was a teenager growing up on Long Island, he experimented with making wines from sugar and the juice of wild berries. "I used to hide them in the cemetery behind my house, hoping my dad wouldn't find them," Croak told the Indianapolis Star. "But I didn't understand about fermentation, and the bottles blew up." Luckily for visitors to the cozy tasting room and winemaking studio, Harmony Winery has mastered all aspects of the vino-crafting process. Now, they invite their guests to do the same through fun, informative classes and you-make-it bottling sessions.
Clients stop in to sample some of Harmony's 35 different vintages amid luxurious leather sofas, a warm fireplace, and friendly company, pairing their wines with fine chocolates and seasonal dinner selections. Guests can cozy up to a tasting bar or commune in an event space outfitted with a big-screen TV and surround sound. Aspiring vintners hone their crafts with the winery's extensive selection of supplies, which includes custom labels for weddings or holidays, bohemian-crystal decanters for letting wine breathe, and vacuum pumps for trapping wine-spoiling poltergeists. Harmony Winery also demonstrates how cost-effective and healthy homemade wine can be, and how self-crafted vino can have lower levels of tannin and sulfites.
Nestled along the historic Old National Road, J&J Winery immerses visitors in the charming ambiance of a bucolic countryside estate, plying them with feasts of tasty Italian fare and mouth-watering homemade wines. Inside or on the deck, guests sample the winery's own crisp chardonnays or fruity cabernets over cheese plates, pulled-pork sandwiches, and portobello-and-gouda pizzas plucked from under the nose of a fire-breathing brick oven. Big Dawg Brew Haus, located on J&J's property, joins the winery in sharing the fruits of its labor, which include such brews as Saxy Blonde pale ale and Grandma's imperial oatmeal stout. In addition to regaling guests with tasty pours of beer and vino and delectable Italian feasts, J&J Winery hosts weddings and serenades crowds with live blues, folk, jazz, and whale sounds.
Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.