For the past 13 years, thousands have flocked to the historic and picturesque Story Inn for the Indiana Wine Fair. And this year was no different, except that I was one of those people!
Even though this year the weather was far less than ideal for late April (cool, rainy, and only in the low 50s), it didn’t seem to slow people down. With over 30 wineries from all across the state, the Wine Fair is one of the oldest and largest wine events in Indiana. No wonder people braved the weather to check it out. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon filled with wine, food, and music!
Yep, that’s right…not only can guests sample one-ounce pours from Indiana’s top vintners, but there’s plenty of food and entertainment to go around as well. Cheese and meat samples, other prepared food items for sale, and a line-up of musicians guaranteed to get your toes-tapping headline the Indiana Wine Fair each year, alongside a wide variety of state-produced wine.
There is also a complimentary shuttle service that runs from downtown Nashville to the Story Inn every year, freeing up guests to fully enjoy the event without the stress of driving. This is exactly where I began my day.
Before I could take my turn at wine sampling, I needed to help everyone else make it out to Story. Since this year the CVB was helping run the shuttles in town, I headed to the Village to help set up and volunteer at the shuttle service.
I was amazed at how many people began showing up, lawn chairs and umbrellas in hand, to wait for the shuttle. Before the first shuttle even arrived, there was already a line of eager wine connoisseurs ready to hit the festival. The gloomy and rainy weather didn’t seem to damper anyone’s spirit. The area was buzzing with excitement, as people were laughing and talking. For these Wine Fair enthusiasts, the solution to the down pour was simple – throw on a poncho and rain boots and you are good to go!
As soon as shuttle traffic died down, it was my turn to head out to the Story Inn to experience my first Indiana Wine Fair. Of course, to get the full experience, I needed to ride the shuttle myself. Climbing on board, it was easy to see that everyone loved the event. Anticipation and eagerness to get to Story was palpable, as groups on board were discussing where they would go first and how many previous years they had been. In fact, some even make the Wine Fair an annual getaway trip, renting a cabin with friends in Brown County for the whole weekend. What a great idea!
The trip out to Story took no time at all, as I admired the winding roads, lush scenery and Brown County seclusion along the way. Arriving at my destination, I hopped out of the shuttle, ready to see what the Wine Fair was all about. As I walked toward the festival, I was surprised to discover a whole new area of the Story Inn I had never seen before. I had only been out there one other time for the National Maple Syrup Festival, where I had pretty much stayed inside the restaurant.
This time, however, I walked right on past the general store and restaurant to a beautiful outdoor area complete with fire pits, quaint landscaping, a patio and stone grill, and even a barn on the other side of a long, stretching field. The whole outside area only added to the charm of the historic Story Inn, providing a great place for guests and visitors to relax and enjoy nature.
Walking more toward the barn, it was obvious that I had arrived at the Wine Fair. A sea of white tents and people filled the large field ahead, as thousands milled from booth to booth enjoying delicious Indiana wines. Entering the festival, I was greeted by the mouthwatering smell of food. A couple of different areas were serving up tasty items to hungry guests. From classic festival fare such as fries and pulled pork to more sophisticated cheese platters and baguettes, there was something for everyone to enjoy.
Close to the food tents, there were other booths set up, providing information on a few Brown County businesses and upcoming events, as well as serving up gourmet cheese and meat samples to try. Moving on in the Fair, I found the music. Talented musicians played catchy tunes under a covered porch, while guests set up their lawn chairs for a front row seat. The layout was perfect – after some wine sampling guests could kick back and finish their glass, dig into some food, and spend the afternoon relaxing to live music.
Making my way toward the wine vendors, I was amazed at how many wineries were there and how many people lined the booths ready to sample. Wineries from near and far made an appearance at the Fair, doling out samples, glasses, and bottles of their finest wines to guests. Stopping by a few booths myself, I was able to try several different wines. From your standard Cabernet and Riesling to more unconventional fruit flavored wines, there was a wide variety of wines available, ranging from the super sweet to the super dry. There were even wine slushies!
In addition to pouring out samples, wine makers were all ears, answering guests’ questions and providing them with a little wine 101. While it was a bit harder to ask questions than it was to sample, it was still a great opportunity to learn a little more about wine and to try out new varieties.
Opting for a glass instead of sampling so I could walk around, it was easy to see that everyone was having a great time. Even though the weather wasn’t the best, guests were making the most of it.
From seasoned wine drinkers to those just looking for a fun way to spend a Saturday, everyone should check out the Indiana Wine Fair. The finest wines from across the state, delicious food, live entertainment and a beautiful location…no wonder this event has become one of the oldest and largest wine events in the state!
While it was time for me to catch the shuttle and head home, the excitement at Story continued. Leaving the Wine Fair content and happy, it’s safe to say I’ll be back next year…lawn chairs in tote!