ne making and wine tasting has long been a favorite American pastime, particularly in western states such as California – a subject humorously portrayed in the hit 2004 film, Sideways.
Yet, this pursuit seems to have traveled across the United States, with wineries appearing in the most unlikely of locations. Indianapolis, for instance, is highly valued for being a dedicated centre of sport; yet in 1996, Indianapolis saw the opening of Gaia Wines Contemporary Winery, the 19th winery in the area.
Named after the Greek Goddess of the Earth, Gaia Wines is owned and run by Cellar Master Angee Wallberry, and is the only winery in the US owned solely by a woman. Since its opening, Gaia Wines has tried to fit into its surroundings, but has also endeavored to create its own unique niche in the marketplace. Located in the central, up-market historic gallery and theater district on Massachusetts Avenue, only a few minutes away from the luxury Conrad Hotel, it has had to quickly establish a high reputation for itself – and to no little success: since its opening, Gaia Wines has managed to pull off the amazing feat of creating 14 new award winning wines, introducing tours and wine tasting events to the winery, as well as providing meeting rooms and playing host to public functions.
Gaia Wines Contemporary Winery also hosts various public activities, such as Sunday Jazz and comedy shows, along with monthly specials and wine appreciation classes. Clearly, Gaia Wines fits in well with Indianapolis’ growing wine tasting scene, which has been emerging since the 1990s. Among Indiana’s other wineries worth visiting are the Chateau Thomas Winery, and the Easley Winery, both of which offer free tasting sessions and regular tours, in addition to meeting space, events and activities.
The success of Gaia Wines Contemporary Winery since it opened ten years ago is not altogether surprising, as soil conditions and climate in Indiana are optimal for wine production – although this is not often acknowledged outside the state. In particular, Indiana’s conditions are great for cultivating the increasingly popular Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety. The impressive quality of Indiana wines has led to its vintners being more generally acknowledged in the wider vintner community across America and the globe. Though it may still not be regarded on a scale to California’s Napa Valley, Indiana is certainly gaining regard as one of America’s up-and-coming wine growing regions; and if wineries continue to be as successful as Gaia Wines Contemporary Winery, the future looks rosy.