If you read me often, you may know that write about antique tractors and when I heard about Oliver Winery and Vineyard, I wondered if there might be any connection to the Oliver tractor family since James Oliver hails from the South Bend area. James Oliver was an American inventor and industrialist best known for his creation of the South Bend Iron Works, and the invention of the chilled plow. Many years ago I visited his beautiful mansion and need go back someday, but I diverge. After his death, his company eventually became the Oliver Farm Equipment Company and when I heard the name of the Oliver Winery, I thought their may be a connection.
Though the family name is Oliver, it is due to the founder William Oliver who was a Professor at Indiana University, who according to Marketing Director Sarah Anderson is not connected to James Oliver. Professor Oliver began making wine as a hobby and planted a vineyard just north of what is now the winery. His hobby grew and he eventually opened a commercial winery, the very one that Sara Broers of Travels with Sara, and I visited while playing tourists in the Bloomington, Indiana area on a hosted trip!
Professor Oliver is also important because besides being a professor, he was also an attorney and was instrumental in passing legislation allowing small wineries to exist in the State of Indiana. While at the winery, Sara and I got a chance to take a tour do a tasting, and best of all try out a picnic! It was a bit cool to eat on the lovely grounds so the set up our picnic in the area where oak barrels, many from France were filled with aging wine. What a lovely place to try cheese, bread and crackers and the best chocolate crackers I’ve ever had! We sipped wine with our picnic and took every extra bit we couldn’t eat (the picnic is enough for five people!) with us for later.
The winery is quite lovely and the tasting room was bright and filled with tried and true wines as well as some that were in the test pilot phase like a few Moscato fruit combinations like the cherry and blueberry which I found quite tasty. At Oliver they have their own wines, the Creekbend variety. The grapes that they grow are local grapes that flourish on the limestone bluffs. The ones that are imported come from a variety of places that they have had relationships with for years.
My favorite wine to my surprise, because I think of myself as a sweet wine girl, was the German wine. There were a lot of surprises at this beautiful winery that is both the oldest in Indiana, and the largest east of the Mississippi River. But, don’t take my word for it, visit yourself. Log onto https://www.oliverwinery.com/ for details!