When drinking a glass of wine, with every sip I take I ponder about how long it took the grapes to ripen for this particular wine; how long the fermentation process took before the yeast began to digest the sugars in the grape juice; what type of barrels were used when aging the wine; and how long the wine was aged prior to drinking it? Ok, you caught me – these questions are the LAST thing on my mind when I’m kicking back and enjoying my glass of White Zinfandel. However, after receiving a personal tour of Oliver Winery, my appreciation of wine has escalated after witnessing the effort it takes to make exceptional wine.
Located in Bloomington, IN right off of IN-37, Oliver Winery escapes the traffic and bustle of the highway and is situated in a quaint patch of land where Hoosier country comes alive – true winery ambiance at its finest. I received a tour from Bill Oliver himself, the owner of Oliver Winery since 1983. The winery was originally established in the 1960s by William Oliver, Bill’s father, and the industry has been a family affair ever since. Growth within the company has certainly taken off since the opening and has positioned Oliver Winery as one of the largest wineries in the eastern United States.
Throughout the tour, I could tell that Bill was very passionate about what he did for a living and making sure that consumers receive exactly the qualities they long for in their wine – richness, freshness and most importantly flavorful wine. One of Oliver Winery’s main goals is to make “approachable and satisfying wines that capture the flavor of high quality fruit,” and to achieve that is to make wine in the gentlest way possible with a simple and natural process. They have invested millions of dollars in equipment to ensure quality wine and capturing the natural flavor out of their harvested fruit – the most modernly equipped winery in the eastern United States, might I add.
Not only did I get to witness the art of winemaking in action from beginning to end with the aforementioned top-notch equipment, but was able to quench my thirst along the way by tasting some of Oliver Winery’s most famous creations (Bill even let us sample some barreled wine that not even he had tried yet). With Bill’s upbeat, welcoming personality and love for wine, he could make even the topic of fermentation exciting and intriguing. Beyond the tour, a couple of coworkers and I enjoyed a wonderful gourmet lunch on an outdoor patio overlooking the Bloomington countryside and forestry, available to visitors during tour hours. The entire experience gave me a taste of Italy in my own Hoosier backyard.
Tasting room hours are Monday-Saturday 10am – 6pm and Sunday 12pm – 6pm. Weekend tours of the winery are Friday-Saturday 12pm – 4:30pm and Sunday 1pm – 4:30 pm every half hour, free of charge. Creekbend Vineyard tours are now available by appointment only and on a limited basis.