Nov 20, 2010

Our Visit to Huber's Orchard, Winery and Vineyard

Every year for our anniversary in late October, Jim and I like to visit one of Indiana's many local wineries. We usually go where we can do a tasting, buy a few bottles, and enjoy a glass or two while we're there. In fact, more and more of our local wineries even have a designated area on the property where you can picnic, listen to music, or just chill out and enjoy the view.  This year we happened to be at Deam Lake in Borden, IN, on our last camping jaunt of the season. It just so happens that only a few miles away, there was not only a winery, but one with a family owned orchard, farm, AND vineyard. (score!) We had heard about Huber Winery from friends as well as the locals and so we decided to go check it out.

First off, this place is HUGE and AMAZING. I totally regret not having my good camera, I only had my iphone at the time, so I didn't take very many pics. So much to do and see.....there is a farm market, winery, distillery, cheese shop, bakery, restaurant, orchard, AND a vineyard. The original farm was started by German immigrants in 1932. They began as dairy farmers, then in 1940 switched to farming fruits and vegetables. Successful as an orchard and vegetable farm, it wasn't until the late 70's that began producing strawberry wine from the crops and opened the winery. They went on to plant their own vineyard and converted the old 1938 dairy barn into the beautiful winery, the loft of the barn serving as the tasting bar.

Adjacent to the barn is the wine cellar where the wine, brandy and grappa are produced, stored to age in barrels or stainless steel tanks, and bottled. Tours are free and if you hit one on the weekend it is followed by a complimentary tasting in the loft. Of course with Jim producing his own wine at home (as well as brewing beer), he had a vested interest in seeing the secret underground world of the wine making process. We didn't have to wait too long before it was time for the next tour.

German Still
One of the things that makes Huber winery unique is that it is also a working distillery (the first distillery in Indiana). The pic on the left is the German still which produces brandy. During the tour, as luck would have it, one of the distillers was hard at work. With his "thief", he drew some apple brandy directly from a barrel and brought it over for us to taste. "It starts out in the still at about 180 proof, but this is only about 120 proof", he informed us. (gasp) The group watched in fear as I was the first to brave a sip. Oooooh yeah, not only is that strong enough to make you wanna "smack your mamma", but your grandma, aunt, uncle, cousins and anyone else at the family reunion!

cork bark
As the tour continued, we learned of course how wine was made from start to finish. From de-stemming the grapes (or other fruit), pressing, filtering, storing, bottling and corking. One of the other interesting things we learned was that Huber is one of the few that actually use real cork bark to seal their bottles (except for champagne of course)....not pressed, not plastic, not screw on tops...but real cork. The very best part? No trees are harmed throughout the process. Large pieces of bark are stripped from the living tree, which is then able to grow back the bark and "heal" itself. (This should make my tree hugging daughter proud that we are drinking eco friendly wine. LOL)

wine filtering

Pop's Reserve
Earlier in the  day while Jim and I did a little tasting in the loft, we had learned about their wine club. Members get wine selections shipped to their door about every 4 months, discounts on all Huber products, invitations to private parties/tastings, complimentary tastings with visits, among other neat little perks.  Of course with them being 2 hours away, we decided to go ahead and join. While on the wine tour, we discovered that members of the wine club (now Jim and I, yay) would be private tasting the popular seasonal "Pop's Reserve", directly out of these barrels (18 in total), and voting on their favs. Once the votes are tallied, the best of the best are bottle up and shipped out exclusively for the wine club members (us!...YAY!)  We had reservations for the tasting/voting the next day, unfortunately, we didn't make it back to the winery. But I'm soooo doing this next year, what a cool experience huh?

Huber Wine Club Shipment
After being home for a few weeks we received our first shipment from Huber. Club select Pop's Reserve, just in time for the holidays! Oh yeah, these bad boys will be making an appearance on the Thanksgiving table. Of course, I'll have to do some tasting ahead of time, just to be sure it is guest worthy. Sigh. It's a sacrifice one must make for the fam ;) ;)


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to taste it Momma!

Patti T. said...

What a coincidence, my SIL, BIL and I went to a winery today and did a tasting. I love that in PA almost all wine tastings are free, there were two bottles that you had to pay to taste and then they would discount that amount off of the bottle if you bought one. I came away with 4 great bottles of wine. It was a beautiful day for a drive. It is great to see you blogging again!

Danielle said...

Sounds like you had a great time! A tour and everything. Enjoy your Thanksgiving wine!!