Indiana is known for many things, like hospitality, racecars, limestone, Kurt Vonnegut…the list goes on and on. And another thing Hoosiers are recently becoming known for is our wine.

Surprisingly, there are over 70 wineries in Indiana and parts of the Hoosier state have the right combination of soil and minerals to grow and sustain vineyards, which has allowed many of our agricultural families the ability to grow grapes for decades.

With so many wineries and so little time, how can you visit locations and sample both the wines and surroundings? The best way is by taking a little road trip along one of Indiana’s seven wine trails. Among the favorites right now is the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail.

The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail begins just 60 miles south of Indianapolis and includes Oliver, Owen Valley, Butler and Brown County wineries, all of which are near Bloomington. The trail then takes a scenic jaunt south, with an in-between stop at French Lick Winery (Baden Springs, anyone?). Head south again towards the Indiana/Kentucky line, into that region’s steep and scenic hills, and there you will find Winzerwald, Turtle Run, Best and Huber’s wineries.

For many enthusiasts, theUplands Trail is one of the most scenic of the Indiana wine trails, especially in the summer months, with its trees, rolling hills and green farmlands. It’s an escape-worthy day trip that can clean out the cobwebs of the daily grind.

Each Indiana Uplands Wine Trail winery has its own story and traditions, and they vary in size. One of the largest on the trail is Huber’s Family Orchard, Winery and Vineyards. The Hubers have been farming their land since 1843 and producing grapes with another local family for about 40 years. Today, the location is a popular tourist attraction with a petting zoo, restaurant, tasting room, banquet facilities, U-Pick fruit fields (including a tractor ride), produce, ice cream and a cheese shop. The winery is family-friendly and worth the super-scenic drive, and may require the entire day for travel and visiting.

The other wineries have lots of things to do, see and taste. Visitors will find vineyards to experience at some of them (Oliver and Huber’s are two), while others either grow grapes off-site (French Lick’s vines are 17 miles from their winery and not open to the public) and a few Indiana wineries, like Brown County Winery, import grapes to make their wines.

Each winery produces a signature wine and most bottle varieties for all kinds of taste buds, from casual, fruity wines to drier, bolder vintages. Many bottle and sell Indiana’s official wine grape, Traminette, a cross between Gewurztraminer and J.S. 23-416 vines, which are bred to withstand Indiana’s harsh climates.

All of the wineries hold walk-up wine tastings and serve food ranging from snacks to full meals. Many offer beautiful surroundings to stop, relax and have a bite and a glass of wine outdoors. On the right day, visitors can even find some great live, local music.

Really want to experience the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail, but don’t have time for a road trip? We understand that…and they have the answer. Mark July 25th on your calendar for the annual Uncork The Uplands winery event. Each Uplands Trail winery will be on site at Huber’s Family Orchard, Winery and Vineyards that day, presenting their wines and other products. The day will also include learning how wine is made and live music. For more information about the event, visit Uncork The Uplands 2015.

Wines from French Lick Winery ready to purchase and take home. Mary McClung Grapevines at Hubers Orchard and Winery Mary McClung Visitors enjoy a tractor ride and collecting strawberries at Hubers Orchard and Winery U-Pick area. Mary McClung Uncork The Uplands brings all nine wineries together in one event. Mary McClung

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