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Huber's Orchard, Winery & Vineyards
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

Huber's Orchard, Winery and VineyardsSummary: Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards is a destination site located in the Indiana Uplands AVA. This family friendly facility encompasses numerous activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards is an Indiana destination site in the Indiana Uplands AVA. The winery is also a member of the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail. Each year approximately 700,000 people visit the site which includes a winery, vineyards, distillery, large farm market, pick-your-own-fruit, ice cream/cheese shop and a family farm park. The 600-acre property has been in the Huber family since 1843 and currently is owned by the 6th generation Huber family. The property is designated as a Hoosier Homestead Farm. Originally the farm was a family farm and then changed to a dairy farm. Eventually it became a pick-your-own-fruit farm. Today Greg and Ted Huber, cousins, are in charge. Greg controls the farming and Ted covers the winery and distillery. It was Ted’s father Gerald who ventured into the commercial wine industry by producing strawberry wine in 1978. Strawberries grow very well in this location.

Huber's Orchard, Winery & VineyardsTour

Lise Buba-Kruer, Wine Club Manager, gave us a tour of the winery. Colorful wall paintings show a vineyard scene as one descends a stairway to a barrel room. Barrels stacked, up to three high, age wine. From there we proceeded to a tank room with gleaming stainless steel tanks. Our tour included distillery rooms, vineyard and a distillery barrel aging building.

In one room near the wine barrels room there is an additional tasting counter. Above the counter there are grapevine cuttings strung with lights.

Our tour ended in the tasting loft on the second floor of the barn.

Huber Vineyards

 

Huber's Orchard, Winery and VineyardsThe vineyards at Huber cover 56 acres. The location of the vineyards is at one of the highest elevations in the state. During the 2014 and 2015 polar vortex, this high elevation protected most of the vineyards as the cold air flowed downhill past the vineyards.

Ninety-five percent of the wine production is with estate grown grapes. According to the Huber website, they are the largest estate grown winery in Indiana. On driving past vineyards to the parking area, wine enthusiasts will pass by vineyards of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Seyval Blanc. Close to the distillery barrel aging building, there is a plot of Chardonel grapevines (pictured left). Some other varietal grapes grown on the property include Catawba, Muscat, Niagara, Pinot Gris, Traminette, Vignoles, Blaufrankisch and Chambourcin.

The fruit wines are made with fruits from the property including: peaches, apples, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

Huber's Orchard, Winery and Vineyards

Current wine production is 35,000 to 40,000 cases. Jason Heiligenberg is the winemaker. After earning a degree in anthropology, Jason needed work and Huber Winery needed an assistant winemaker. He took the job and eventually became the winemaker.

Huber's Orchard, Winery & VineyardsWine tastings take place on the second floor of an old barn. A long tasting counter runs lengthwise. Much of the second floor is filled with an array of wine-related products. One of the end walls of the tasting room displays many vintage items to view. The other end is covered with the many wine awards for Huber's wines.

Wines

Huber's Orchard, Winery & VineyardsThe 2013 Malbec Indiana Uplands AVA was 13.1% alcohol. The wine was a translucent dark ruby color with a purple hue. The aroma was of black fruit and the taste included notes of blackberries, black plums, leather and spices. The wine was medium to full-bodied and offered medium tannins. The finish offered fruit yielding to spices and mineral. The 2014 Cabernet Franc was a dark purple color. The wine was aged in French oak for 12 months. The aroma was of blackberries and pepper. The taste was dry and earthy. The wine had bold tannins with notes of black fruit on the finish. The aftertaste was long. Pair this wine with a grilled steak. Chambourcin 2013 was an opaque dark purple color with a light rim. The aroma was of dark fruit including black raspberries. The mouthfeel was smooth. This dry wine offered notes of dark fruit and spice. There were tannins and the aftertaste of fruit was long.

Dry Stella di Luce (star light) was 13% alcohol. This dry wine was produced primarily with Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winemaking process included light contact with skins over a couple of days. The wine was a translucent light red color. The aroma was of light red fruit including notes of raspberries and strawberries. The taste was dry with a hint of sweetness. The mouthfeel was smooth. The finish was fruity with notes of raspberries and strawberries. The 2014 Blaufrankisch Indian Uplands AVA was a translucent ruby color. The aroma was of dark fruits. The taste had black cherries, blackberries and mineral notes. The wine had bold tannins. The wine was medium full-bodied. The finish was fruity yielding to baking spices and mineral. 2013 Heritage Indiana Uplands AVA had 13.5% alcohol. The wine was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Tannat. This wine was reminiscent of blackberries, cassis and mineral. The wine was full-bodied with bold tannins. The finish was fruity yielding to baking spices and mineral.

The winery continues producing strawberry wine. The Strawberry Wine with 10.5% alcohol had 65 g/l of residual sugar. The wine was a light orange/yellow color. There was an intense aroma of strawberries. The taste had a very strawberry-ish taste. The finish included lingering notes of strawberry.

Huber's Orchard, Winery & VineyardsStarlight Cafe

The restaurant offers seating indoors and outdoors. The chef maintains several raised gardens nearby. Before entering the restaurant, visitors receive a menu to order their meal. Diners then choose their own table in the restaurant. A short time later the chosen selections are delivered to their table.

When planning your visit to Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards, plan to make a day of it so that you can enjoy all this destination site has to offer. We visited the winery, distillery, tasting room, restaurant and farm store and could have easily spent several more hours.


Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards
19816 Huber Road
Starlight, IN 47106

GPS: N38º 25.3616’ W85º 55.7011’

Related article: Starlight Distillery

 

Article written August 2017.

 



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