Even before I became the sophisticated 21-year-old that I am today, I always had a fascination with wine, and I made it my personal goal to one day be referred to as a “wine connoisseur” or even better, a “wino.” Now, here I was, a 21.1 year old, and still no closer to my goal. While I can finally correctly pronounce fancy words like pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc, I knew relatively nothing about the wonderous world of wine. Lucky for me, that all started to change the day I visited the picturesque Butler Winery in Bloomington, IN.
Owner Jim Butler opened the first Butler Winery with his wife Susie in 1983, making it the 4th oldest winery in the state. Pretty impressive. The main winery and vineyard are located just 10 minutes from the Northeast side of Bloomington and there are also locations on College Avenue in Bloomington and in Chesterton, IN. Jim and Susie are Indiana Artisans to the core, and their philosophy has always been to use Indiana-grown grapes and put as much of Indiana as they can in to their wines.
Jim originally got his start at Oliver Winery, making wines with several different science degrees under his belt. After 6 years, he decided to start his own winery. Referencing his science background, Jim jokingly says, “In a nutshell, winemaking is aquatic ecology with 10 percent alcohol.” Since Jim is most definitely what I would call a wine connoisseur, I enthusiastically obliged when he made recommendations for my tasting, even sharing his favorite wines with me (which would be the Late Harvest Vignoles and the Chambourcin Rose).
My first taste was a sweet white wine called Vidal Blanc, which their website describes as “fruity, herbal, and distinctively delightful.” A perfect description. Jim’s next recommendation was another white wine called Traminette, which just happens to be made from the Indiana’s official state grape! Who knew there was such a thing?! It even has it’s own marketing campaign, “Try on Traminette.” This wine was equally delicious and unlike anything I had ever tasted before. It was during this second glass of wine when I finally revealed to Jim that I was actually a fraud and had no idea how to properly go about “tasting” wine. I knew there had to be some rules. I remember always watching my grandma swirl and sniff with such gusto before actually taking a sip. Jim assured me there was no rule book, but did give me some tips known as “The Four S’s.”
If you’d like to try your hand at the four S’s, Butler Wineries have FREE wine tastings 7 days a week and you can even take a bottle home with you on Sundays. You can enjoy your tasting indoors at the counter or take it outside on the lovely patio, complete with a full view of the gorgeous vineyard. If you can’t make it out to one of their three locations, their wine is also available in most Kroger and Marsh Supermarkets in central Indiana. Click here for a full list of store locations. Their wines are all relatively priced from $8.95-$19.95 and you can even get a discount if you buy multiple bottles!
Jim Butler and Butler Winery are juried members of Indiana Artisan – the official organization to review, recognize and promote the work of Indiana’s highest-quality art and food artisans. Find out more about Tom by visiting ButlerWinery.com.