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Wine Trail's Fall Haul

Southeast Indiana wineries gear up for annual ‘Fall Haul’ event

The popular event is geared
to promoting food with local wine

(October 2017) – The 10th annual Fall Haul of the Indiana Wine trail in southeast Indiana will take place Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4-5.
Some winery operators say this is the most popular event of the Wine Trail organization. During Fall Haul, wine lovers and food lovers alike travel to the wineries on the Wine Trail list to sample foods made with the wines produced at each of the wineries. Some of the wine-flavored food offerings are gourmet, or ethnic, while others are down home country cooking.
“Fall Haul was created to give people the opportunity to get ready for the holidays with wines, gift ideas and food,” said Steve Thomas, co-owner with his wife, Elizabeth, of Thomas Family Winery in Madison, Ind. “That is what it is all about. All the trail partners use their wines to cook dishes, it just shows off the things we do best.”

Photo by John Sheckler

Steve Thomas of the Thomas Family Winery inspects a batch of bread cooking in his brick oven stove.

Thomas has a reputation for making many types of tasty foods for special events at the winery.  His dishes often have historical roots, especially frontier foods of early America. He will make the same dish he did last year: Welsh Rarebit.
“It shows off our wine, in this case cider, and our bread,” said Thomas. “It is a mix of cheese, cider, mustard and spices that goes on lovely pieces of our toasted bread.”
Thomas makes his own bread at the winery using a 17th century style wood fired oven that he built from the ground up. The historic oven was a labor of love for Thomas. He used recycled, repurposed brick from the property to construct the oven with faithful adherence to the methods and architecture for 17th century style ovens. Their oven was built using a rehabilitated oven from Llynon, Wales, as a model.
“The rustic breads are a natural addition to the winery,” Thomas said. “They complement our cheeses and charcuterie (French for smoked meat), but most of all the wines. We pay close attention to the traditional heritage of our wines, and also our breads.”
“It seems to me that the match of the rustic breads and the meat offerings are a piece of living history as well.” Thomas continued.
“There is already a sense of community built up around both the construction of the oven and the baking of the breads. There was a lot of handcrafting of individual pieces, from brickwork to metal-smithing, and it extends to the process of making the bread as well. We had lots of wonderful helpers building this and now baking.”

Photo by John Sheckler

Elizabeth Thomas shows off a plate of various meats that is prepared at Thomas Family Winery.

Thomas added, “We really appreciate the work of the new gang at the Madison Visitors Center. Everyone there has been extremely helpful for us.”
Each winery has its own unique approach, and each is a little different.
A few miles upriver, east of Vevay, Ind., sits the Ridge Winery Tasting Room, owned by Tom and Jane Demaree. The winery’s Tasting Room is operated by their niece and her husband, Traci and Greg Pavy. They own and manage the tasting room at 11048 State Rd. 156.
“We produce wine on a farm north of Vevay,” Jane said.
The tasting room has a large deck with a beautiful view overlooking the Ohio River.
“At fall haul, we do foods that are prepared with wine. This year, we have mozzarella meat balls with Swiss heritage red,” Jane said. “That is a sweet red wine that is a blend of four grapes. We will also have Blackjack wine jelly, a Blackberry apple jelly that goes well with various breads. In addition to the wines, we will have a warm wine drink flavored with cinnamon and honey apple in our Niagara, a sweet harvest wine.”
The winery owners get enthusiastic about the Fall Haul event.
“This is our biggest event. People really look forward to it,” added Demaree. “I have people that come in at Fall Haul and tell me what I served before. We have four events with Fall Haul being largest turn out.”
Up on the Madison hilltop sits Madison Vineyards, the only estate winery in Madison growing its own grapes.
“All the wine we make comes from the 11 acres of French American hybrid grapes on our property,” said Sandy Palmer, who owns and operates the winery with her husband, Steve.
The Madison Vineyards food offerings at Fall Haul also have a European flair.
“We always have small items similar to tapas that we recommend to pair with our wines,” said Palmer. “We have chocolates that pair with our native red wines. There are also olives and bacon wrapped dates.”
The Madison Vineyards couple said the Wine Trail is beneficial to all the participating wineries.
“A lot of people will look at wine trail list and see three wineries in Madison,” she said. “That makes us a wine destination. Each of the wineries on the trail is different. Some have different terrain, and each is different with different wine makers.”
The wine trail made of up seven wineries spread around southeast Indiana. Wine lovers who visit all the wineries receive a beautiful wine goblet.
“As the people travel, they get to see the beautiful scenery,” Palmer added. “We have the river, beautiful hills and Stream Cliff has the herb gardens. We have a bed and breakfast at Madison Vineyards; Ertel Cellars has a wonderful restaurant. Thomas Family has a nice outdoor seating area.”
Travelers wanting to visit all seven wineries can pick up a “passport” at any of the wineries. They then have until Dec. 31 to have their passport stamped at each of the wineries in order to receive the wine trail goblet.

• For more information, visit the website: www.IndianaWineTrail.com.

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