Uncorked: Wine Tasting in Indianapolis

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Think you need to jet off to California or Italy for an amazing wine-tasting experience? Think again! You can enjoy wine tasting in Indianapolis because there is a thriving wine scene that is just waiting to be explored. From cozy, family-run estates to innovative wineries shaking up the wine game, Indy has it all. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting some great wineries in and around our city, and I can tell you, that each one brings its own unique flair to the table.

Wine tasting here is more than just sipping and swirling; it’s about embracing the local culture, connecting with passionate vintners, and discovering new favorites. So, why not grab a glass as we dive into the diverse wine landscape of Indianapolis?

Why Explore Indianapolis Wineries?

Why venture out to Indianapolis wineries? For starters, it’s the personal touch. Many of these spots are family-owned and steeped in a warm, welcoming vibe that bigger vineyards can’t always replicate. You get to meet the people behind the bottle, hear their stories, and see firsthand the love and labor that goes into every drop. It’s not just about tasting wine; it’s about connecting with the community and experiencing the local flavor.

Plus, let’s talk about variety. Indianapolis wineries have been experimenting and expanding their wine selections, which means you can try everything from classic Sauvignon Blanc or Cabarnet’s to innovative blends that you might not find elsewhere. Whether you’re a seasoned wine aficionado or just looking to try something new, there’s something here that will surprise and delight your palate. So, grab a glass, and let’s dive into what Indy has to offer!

Outside of Easley Winery in Indianapolis Indiana

Top Wineries in Indianapolis

There are only a few wineries actually in the city although there are plenty of options for wine tasting in Indianapolis both at these wineries and at local wine events.

1. Easley Winery

Easley Winery in Indianapolis is one of our favorite spots to hit for a special day out, especially when the weather plays nice and we can relax in the cozy wine garden. I’ve been there many times, and it never gets old. This place knows how to make an occasion feel extra special. Take Mother’s Day this year for example—they had a fabulous “pink” wine-tasting flight that was not only delicious but also perfectly themed.

Sitting out on the patio with a glass in hand, you really get to soak in the atmosphere. It’s laid-back, friendly, and just what you need for a leisurely afternoon. And let’s not forget the added bonus—you can turn this wine tasting into a mini-hop because Sun King Brewery is right next door. Nothing like following up your wine tasting with some of the city’s finest craft beers.

Easley Winery holds a special place in the heart of Indianapolis, rooted in a history that stretches back to 1974. It was among the first to kickstart the winemaking tradition in Indiana, brought to life by the vision and passion of Jack and Joan Easley. They began with a simple mission: to bring quality, locally-produced wine to the heart of the Midwest. Today, their Reggae Red is one of their best-known wines (and makes a delicious base for Sangria!).

Over the years, Easley Winery has grown significantly but has always maintained its commitment to creating exceptional wines that celebrate the rich agricultural heritage of Indiana. Their journey from a modest start to becoming a beloved city landmark mirrors the vibrant growth of Indianapolis itself.

Easley Winery, 205 N. College Ave. Indianapolis, IN

Flight of wines from Peace Water Winery

2. Peace Water Winery

Peace Water Winery offers a unique charm that sets it apart from your typical vineyard experience. Located on the bustling Mass Ave in Indianapolis, one of the city’s designated cultural arts districts, this spot perfectly blends the art of winemaking with urban chic. It’s fun to stop in for a glass of wine before or after dinner or on your way to a show.

Each of Peace Water’s three locations has its own vibe, but the consistency in quality and atmosphere is unmistakable. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting all three, and whether you’re at the downtown Carmel or Fishers District spot or right here in Indy, the experience is always top-notch. The friendly staff, the carefully curated wine selections, and the lively yet relaxed environment make each visit memorable.

What really makes Peace Water Winery a standout is not just its excellent California wines but also its commitment to giving back. A significant portion of their profits goes to various charities around the globe, which means every glass you enjoy contributes to a good cause. It’s always a great time at Peace Water, where you can enjoy fantastic wines, soak up some local art, and feel good knowing you’re helping make a difference with every sip.

Peace Water Winery, 747 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN

Buck Creek Winery sign

3. Buck Creek Winery

Buck Creek Winery is a must-visit spot on the outskirts of Indianapolis, especially if you find yourself on a day trip to Shelby County. This winery offers a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that makes it easy to unwind and enjoy the simple pleasures of good wine.

During our visit, we were particularly taken with their wine slushies. These refreshing treats are a fun twist on traditional wine tasting and are perfect for cooling off on a warm day. Each slushy is bursting with flavor, making it a hit for those looking to try something a little different.

Another highlight of Buck Creek Winery is the comfortable patio out back. It’s the ideal place to sip your wine and take in the serene views. The patio’s laid-back vibe is perfect for long conversations or getting lost in a good book while enjoying a glass or two. It’s this kind of simple, straightforward charm that makes a visit to Buck Creek Winery a delightful addition to any southern day trip from the Indy area.

Buck Creek Winery, 11747 Indian Creek Road, Indianapolis, IN

4. Brandywine Creek Vineyard & Winery

Brandywine Creek Vineyard is an easy getaway, located just 15 minutes from downtown Indianapolis. This proximity makes it a great option if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without committing to a long drive. It’s ideal for a quick afternoon retreat or a spontaneous wine-tasting adventure.

When you visit Brandywine Creek Vineyard, you’ll immediately appreciate its unpretentious and welcoming atmosphere. The vineyard offers a range of wines that cater to both dry and sweet wine drinkers, ensuring that every visitor finds something to their taste. The staff are friendly and ready to share their love for winemaking, providing insights into each wine without overwhelming you with jargon.

The setting of Brandywine Creek Vineyard enhances the experience. Its grounds are well-maintained, offering a calm backdrop for tasting sessions. Whether you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion or simply enjoy a quiet day out, the vineyard provides the perfect setting. Its closeness to Indianapolis also means you can enjoy a taste of the countryside without spending too much time on the road, making it an ideal choice for a quick afternoon tasting.

Brandywine Creek Winery, 12524 Southeaster Ave #1152, Indianapolis, IN

Fermentation barrels at Easley Winery

Best Wineries Near Indianapolis

Although there are over 75 wineries across Indiana (that’s a LOT, right?), there are a few standouts near Indianapolis that make for a fun little afternoon outing from the city.

5. Oliver Winery

Oliver Winery in Bloomington holds a special place in our hearts and our travel itinerary, especially when we’re visiting our daughter at IU. It’s not just the convenience that makes it a favorite stop; Oliver Winery has a charm and a history that draw us back time and again. Established in the 1970s by Indiana University law professor William Oliver, the winery had a mission to foster a love for winemaking in the region. His dedication led to the growth of one of the largest wineries in the eastern United States – you can find Oliver Wines all over the state!

Each year, Oliver Winery keeps things exciting with a roster of fun, seasonal summer wines that showcase their creativity and passion for winemaking. Whether it’s a spring release of their Cherry Cobbler wine, a delightful watermelon rosé or lemon Moscato in the summer, there’s always something new to try that keeps the experience fresh and enjoyable.

Not only is the wine tasting at Oliver fun, but the atmosphere is beautiful with lush gardens that invite you to relax and savor the moment. And at just an hour south of Indy it makes for a lovely Saturday afternoon drive!

Oliver Winery, 200 E. Winery Rd. Bloomington, IN

Building at Cedar Creek Winery in Martinsville, IN

6. Cedar Creek Winery

Cedar Creek Winery in Morgan County (less than an hour south of Indianapolis) is a gem of a destination that offers much more than just wine. Situated amidst rolling hills and lush landscapes, this place is a one-stop-shop for all things delightful, featuring not only a winery but also a brewery, a distillery, and a recently opened restaurant. It’s the perfect spot to experience the full spectrum of craft beverages.

One of the highlights of visiting Cedar Creek during the summer months is their exciting concert series. These events bring together music, wine, and community, offering a festive atmosphere that’s hard to beat. Whether you’re a fan of jazz, blues, or rock, there’s likely an event that aligns with your musical tastes, making it a fabulous way to spend a summer afternoon or evening.

We had a fantastic afternoon at Cedar Creek during a day trip to Martinsville. We started with a tasting, sampling a variety of their spirits and wines, which was both educational and enjoyable. The staff was knowledgeable and friendly, walking us through the unique characteristics of each selection. After our tasting, we explored the grounds, made friends with the Cedar Creek cat, and wrapped up our visit with a refreshing craft beer from the brewery.

Cedar Creek, 3820 Leonard Rd. Martinsville, IN

7. Mallow Run Winery

Mallow Run Winery, just a short drive from Indianapolis, is the perfect escape if you are looking to enjoy a slice of tranquility without straying too far from the city. This family-owned winery combines the rustic charm of its scenic farm surroundings with the sophistication of its award-winning wines.

What makes Mallow Run truly special is its commitment to crafting a variety of wines that appeal to both novice tasters and connoisseurs alike. Each visit is an opportunity to explore new flavors, as they are always coming up with innovative blends and seasonal offerings that highlight the best of local viticulture. You can enjoy a tasting in the restored barn that has been converted to a tasting room or grab a glass to enjoy outside on the deck or a picnic on the lawn.

Beyond wine, Mallow Run is known for its summer events calendar, especially during the warmer months. Its proximity to Indianapolis makes it an ideal destination for a quick afternoon getaway or make it part of a leisurely weekend outing (maybe even a little wine tour weekend with Mallow Run, Cedar Creek, and Oliver Winery!). Whether you’re looking for a place to relax, enjoy good music, or simply taste some great wine, Mallow Run offers a delightful experience close to the city yet far removed from the everyday hustle.

Mallow Run Winery, 6964 W. Whiteland Rd. Bargersville, IN

Wine tasting at Coopers Hawk in Indianapolis, Indiana

Other Options for Wine Tasting in Indianapolis

In addition to the wineries I’ve shared (and enjoy visiting myself!), there are a few other options for wine tasting in Indianapolis that are worth mentioning.

8. Cooper’s Hawk Winery

Although a national chain, Cooper’s Hawk Winery is still a valid choice if you are looking for wine tasting in Indianapolis. Not only is the food excellent but the wine is top-notch. I’ve always had a wonderful experience when we’ve visited either for the food or just the wine.

One of my favorite summer afternoon weekday outings is to head over to Cooper’s Hawk for an al fresco lunch on the patio with the chopped wedge salad and a crisp glass of white wine. If I have the time, I’ll indulge in a tasting at the wine bar afterward! I’m a fan of some of their dry whites and I LOVE the sparkling Blanc de Blanc. Yum!

Cooper’s Hawk Winery, 3815 E. 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN

9. Tastings

Another fun option for wine tasting in Indy is at Tastings. It’s located in downtown Indianapolis at the Conrad building so you know the atmosphere is top-notch. We’ve met friends there and it’s a lot of fun and a terrific way to try a bunch of different wines.

Tastings has self-serve wine machines where you insert a card they give you and pour yourself a sample of the wine. So you can try as many or as few as you like and you pay for each tasting at the end of the night. If you want to enjoy food, they do have a variety of small plates and flatbreads on the menu as well as a full bar if you have someone with you who doesn’t want to try wines (crazy I know!).

Tastings, 50 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN

Map of Wineries

Wine tasting at Easley Winery

What to Expect When Wine Tasting in Indianapolis

Wine tasting is my favorite way to try a variety of wines and discover new favorites. When you set out to explore the wineries around Indianapolis, here’s what you can expect from your adventure.

First off, understanding the basics of wine tasting will enhance your experience. You’ll typically start by observing the color and clarity of the wine, swirling it gently in the glass to release its aromas. Next, take a moment to inhale deeply—each wine has its unique bouquet of scents. Finally, when you taste, let the wine linger on your palate to detect the subtleties of flavor and texture.

Dress comfortably yet appropriately for the occasion. Wineries are generally casual places, but I like to wear something that feels a bit special, especially if I’m visiting a more upscale vineyard. And of course, bring a lightweight sweater or jacket as cellar temperatures can be cool, or you might find yourself staying into the evening – much later than you expected.

Winery staff are usually passionate about their craft and eager to share their knowledge – and taking the time to ask them questions and even their opinions (we almost always ask them which wine is their favorite) will make your visit much more fun. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the wine-making process, the history of the vineyard, or recommendations for food pairings. Most importantly, keep an open mind and palate—be ready to try wines that you might not usually pick off a store shelf.

Remember, wine tasting is not just about drinking; it’s about savoring, learning, and enjoying the company you’re with in a beautiful setting. So, take your time, enjoy the scenery, and relish each sip.

Tenderloin and glass of wine

Pairing Wine with Local Cuisine

Pairing local wines with local cuisines is an exquisite way to enhance both the culinary and the tasting experience. Indianapolis and its surrounding areas offer plenty of flavors that can be beautifully complemented by the right wine choices.

Start with the classics: Indiana is renowned for its tender and flavorful pork tenderloin sandwich, which pairs wonderfully with the medium-bodied reds produced in the region – or if you drink white wine like me, a crisp dry Reisling is a nice compliment.

For seafood enthusiasts, the nearby lakes offer fresh catches that are a staple in Midwestern restaurants. A crisp, chilled Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc from a nearby winery complements the delicate flavors of fish like perch or bass. These wines, with their light body and refreshing acidity, bring out the sweetness of the fish while balancing its richness.

Don’t overlook vegetarian options, which are plentiful and varied – especially in the warm summer months. Dishes featuring sweet corn and tomatoes are served everywhere from June to September. A local Chardonnay, with its subtle oak and buttery finish, pairs beautifully with roasted or grilled vegetables.

Lastly, for a truly local dessert pairing, try a sweet wine like a Moscato or a dessert Riesling with a slice of sugar cream pie, Indiana’s state pie. The creamy, custardy filling with its hint of vanilla is a perfect match for the lush sweetness of these wines.

Seasonal and Special Events

Indiana’s wineries come alive with an array of seasonal and special events throughout the year, offering unique opportunities and terrific reasons for repeat visits!

Spring in Indiana brings with it the celebration of new releases. Many wineries host spring festivals where they introduce their latest vintages. These events often include wine-tasting tours, live music, and local food trucks, providing a festive atmosphere to enjoy the budding landscapes and new flavors – Oliver Winery is especially well known for this as they come up with a new fun fruit-flavored wine each year.

Summer is perhaps the most lively season at Indiana’s wineries, with events that take full advantage of the warm weather and scenic vineyard views. Many wineries offer outdoor concerts on the weekends. Imagine sipping a chilled glass of local wine while listening to jazz or watching a classic film under the stars—it’s the perfect summer outing.

Fall brings the excitement of harvest time, and with it, harvest festivals. These events are crucial to the winemaking process and are celebrated with chances to try grape stomping (which is a lot of fun!), harvest-themed dinners, and tours that allow guests to participate in or observe the harvest and production processes. The changing foliage also provides a beautiful backdrop for these festivities, making it a photographer’s and wine lover’s paradise.

Winter might seem quieter, but it holds its own charm with holiday markets and mulled wine tastings. Wineries often decorate lavishly for the holidays, creating a cozy, festive environment. Events like “Wine and Wreath” workshops, where you can enjoy tastings while crafting a holiday wreath, combine creative activities with the joy of wine tasting.

And, on top of what the individual wineries offer, Indianapolis has several wine festivals throughout the year with the most well-known one being the Vintage Indiana Wine & Food Festival held each year in Military Park. This used to be our annual kick-off to summer where we’d visit, try all the wines, and stock up for the coming months! Although it ceased operations in 2022, there is a new festival taking its place called Uncork Me – although I missed last year, I know I’ll be checking it out this year!

Wine tasting sign for Easley winery

Planning Your Visit to Indianapolis Wineries

If you plan on an afternoon of wine tasting in Indianapolis, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Check the winery hours

Most wineries in Indianapolis are open daily from around 12 – 5 but call ahead in case they are closed on Mondays or for a special event. Also, if there is an evening concert, they might be open later on the weekends.

Determine who can join you on your winery visit

Most (but not all) wineries allow kids, and some even cater to them with non-alcoholic drinks and family games or playgrounds – but you don’t want to arrive with your kids and discover they can’t go inside, so call ahead.

Some of our favorite local wineries allow dogs, and so this makes for a fun outing that our pup can be a part of, but not all of them allow pets, and if the weather is bad even if they allow pets outside they might not be welcome inside, so call ahead to check before you bring your pup.

Research your food options

Some of the wineries near Indianapolis offer food or even have a restaurant or food trucks on site. Others allow you to bring your own food or order from nearby restaurants. If you like to bring a little charcuterie board from home (I do!), then check with the winery to make sure it’s allowed. Or, if you know you’ll want something to eat and the winery doesn’t have food available, plan on finding a local restaurant nearby to enjoy before or after your visit.

Where to stay when visiting wineries in Indianapolis

Since these wine-tasting options are mostly concentrated in downtown Indy or south of the city, I’d recommend making your base downtown Indianapolis. You’ll be able to easily get to the downtown locations and then take short drives to the others.

My favorite spot to stay in downtown Indianapolis is either The Conrad or the Bottleworks Hotel. You’ll have a wonderful stay at either location!

Enjoying a glass of Indiana wine at home.

Conclusion: Wine Tasting in Indianapolis

Exploring Indianapolis’ wineries offers more than just a taste of superb wines; it’s a journey through fun community events, surprisingly lush vineyard settings, and heartwarming family stories. Each winery has a tale to tell and a wine to share, making every visit a new chapter to enjoy.

Whether you’re marking a special occasion (here’s looking at you Mother’s Day or birthdays) or just in the mood for a delightful day out, Indianapolis wineries provide a perfect backdrop. So, the next time you’re pondering a wine adventure, remember, some of the best experiences might just be a short drive downtown. Cheers to local sips and unforgettable trips right here in Indy!

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