Winery Tasting Room
offers guests scenic view of river
VEVAY, Ind. Traci and Greg Pavy toured the
tasting rooms of New York states wineries a few years ago and
decided to bring the experience home. As the Pavys designed their new
house, they included plans for a special area where they could host
their own tastings.
by Penny Humphrey
and Greg Pavy
greet visitors at their Vevay home.
Mary Jane Demaree, president of the Ridge Winery and Traci
Pavys aunt, explained the origin of the new tasting room. Traci
and Greg went to the Finger Lakes and came back with the fever to do
the wine shop, she said.
The opening of the Ridge Winery Tasting Room on Thanksgiving weekend
last year was low key, but the Pavys have since erected a sign and stepped
up operations. That initial fever is paying off.
Business has just been amazing, Traci Pavy noted.
The room is located 3.5 miles east of Vevay and three miles west of
Belterra Casino Resort on Hwy. 156. It is now open from 11 a.m. to 6
p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. until everyone
decides to leave on weekends, said Pavy.
The family operation serves each of the Ridge Winerys creations,
and visitors can enjoy a cheese and cracker plate with their wine. The
room boasts a 600-square-foot tasting area, a gift shop, and a large
deck. Apart from the wines, the deck is the tasting rooms main
attraction. It wraps around the back of the building, presenting visitors
with a marvelous panoramic view of the Ohio River and the Markland Dam.
The gift shop offers wine accessories, gift baskets and wine-themed
jewelry and gifts.
Wine tasting is free, but groups of 10 or more can expect a charge of
$2.50 per person. The tasting room can also be reserved for meetings,
receptions, baby showers or other special events, with a capacity of
40-50 persons, or 25 in case of rain.
Pavy hopes to begin hosting dinners and live music once per month. Wed
also like to do some grilling on the deck, she added.
While the success of the tasting room means more work for Ridge Winery
owners Tommy and Mary Jane Demaree, they arent complaining. Traci
has called a couple times to say they ran out of a wine, but thats
always good news, commented Mary Jane. The Demarees have added
a summer fermentation cycle to keep up with demand. Since the cool temperatures
of winter naturally allow for steady fermentation, this meant implementing
new equipment and techniques to stabilize the process in warmer weather.
Tom got assistance perfecting the summer cycle from Purdue Universitys
Food Science Department, which lends expertise to the states 37
wineries. The people at Purdue have been really helpful,
This fall, the Demarees mark the 10th anniversary of the Ridge Winery.
Its been up and down, but its up now, noted
There were times when we had to rely on Janes other job
to kind of subsidize the winery.
Now Mary Jane, 60, has given up her banking job to focus her efforts
on the wine business.
by Penny Humphrey
Ridge Winery's tasting room.
Tommy, 62, worked for Chenley Distillery in Lawrenceburg,
Ind., for 25 years but traces his interest in wines farther back to
his childhood. It was exciting to see it change from sugars to
alcohol, and learn about the process, he remembered.
While working at Chenley, he began making his own wine at home. Friends
and family soon took a liking to his Wild Cherry variety, and the Demarees
contemplated starting their own winery.
Since its inception in 1995, the Ridge Winery has expanded from four
wines to its current nine varietals.
We dont want to do so many that quality suffers, so weve
slowly added just a few Mary Jane explained. He always said
if we cant sell it, hell drink it, she said.
Last year, at the Indiana International Wine Competition, the Demarees
collected bronze medals for their Blush and Sweet Harvest wines. Two
of the biggest sellers are Blackberry and Blackjack, a half
blackberry, half apple wine.
Rounding out the Demarees catalog of wines are a Country White,
Country Rosé, Country Red, Classy Red, and the still-popular
When hes not crafting wines, Tommy occupies himself with a new
prawn operation. Demaree began raising the freshwater shrimp last year
and hopes to incorporate them into a 10th anniversary celebration for
the winery later this year.
For more information, call the Ridge Winery at (812) 427-2792
or Pavys tasting room at (812) 427-3380.
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