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Owen Valley Winery
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

Owen Valley WinerySummary: Owen Valley Winery is a Small Farm Winery located in the Indiana countryside just a short distance from Spencer, Indiana. This family owned and operated winery is producing dry, semi-dry and sweet wines. The winery is a member of the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail.

The winery, owned and operated by the Leaderbrand family, opened in 2011. The family had gathered together about five years earlier and decided to purchase property in Indiana for planting a vineyard and starting a winery. During the summer of 2017, Anthony and Jo Anna are in the process of moving the production area into a nearby new building. Owen Valley Winery is a family operation that includes grandparents, parents and children.

Owen Valley WineryThe tasting room offers a welcoming experience with landscaping adding to a friendly start of the visit. Visitors quickly learn that the tasting room was handcrafted by the family. A sign behind the tasting counter reads, “Enter As Strangers - Leave As Friends.” Adjacent to the tasting room is a small rectangular deck facing the vineyards allowing visitors to enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing with views of the vineyard. The deck has numerous hummingbird feeders that attract the colorful, fluttering birds. Anthony’s mother has a special recipe to feed the hummingbirds and is proficient at cleaning the feeders frequently. A hummingbird logo is featured on many of the wine bottle labels.

Owen Valley WineryWe arrived at Owen Valley Winery and met Anthony Leaderbrand who talked about his background. His family came to Indiana from Central Illinois. Anthony is proud of his Dad who he considers a hero. His father was a coal miner and his job was to work on underground rescues of miners. Jo Anna, Anthony’s wife, is the winemaker. Anthony noted that Jo Anna has a good palate.

In an earlier career in IT for a pharmaceutical company, Anthony had opportunities to travel, and he visited wineries in Germany and Switzerland. After leaving the IT industry, Anthony searched for another career. At about the same time his parents wanted something to do during their retirement that would include their grandchildren. Together they decided to start a winery and began searching properties in Indiana for a good vineyard and winery property.

Anthony talked about his love of the wine industry and how fortunate that his family is together. Today at the Owen Valley Winery, he is able to see his wife, sons and parents everyday. Anthony also commented, “The business offers so many opportunities for conversation.”

Vineyard

Owen Valley WineryAnthony has planted four acres of vineyards and is looking forward to increasing the size as he has 15 acres of tillable land. Grape varieties in the vineyard include Marechal Foch, Steuben (pictured left), Traminette and Catawba. For the winery production, he also sources grapes from California, New York and Ohio.

Winery

The winery uses solar energy which meets 60 to 100 percent of the winery needs. The new winery production building is off-grid. At the time of our visit, Jo Anna was painting, putting the finishing touches in the building.

Wines

Owen Valley Winery is producing a variety of wines including traditional and fruit wines. The wines are available throughout Indiana.

Owen Valley WineryTimber Ridge Red was a blend of estate grown Marechal Foch and Steuben. The wine was a translucent red color. The wine offered notes of cherry with a hint of citrus. The wine was light-bodied. The finish was crisp and fruity.

We tasted three different wines made from persimmons.

Persimmon Fruit Wine with 95 g/l of residual sugar was 10% alcohol. The fruit was sourced from Southern Indiana where persimmons are abundant. The wine was a pale yellow color. The aroma included notes of turmeric. The taste was sweet with notes of persimmon. Pairing suggestions included cinnamon cookies and gingerbread. The back wine label notes a legend about the persimmon seed. “The legend is foretold, that if you cut a seed in half and the shape inside the seed is that of a knife, it will be cutting cold. If the shape inside the seed looks like a spoon then there will be a heavy winter.”

Owen Valley WineryThe Persimmon Bold was a yellow colored wine. The wine was aged in bourbon barrels. The 14% alcohol wine was slightly sweet with 15 g/l of residual sugar. It too offered a persimmon aroma and taste with spice hints. There was also a corn taste.

Persimmon 20 was a port-style persimmon brandy. The wine was 20% alcohol. The aroma was of persimmons. The taste was smooth with spice notes including turmeric. The port-style wine was full-bodied. The finish included notes of turmeric. The Persimmon 20 had 70 g/l of residual sugar and was sweet but not as sweet as many ports. There was no heat on the finish. When you visit, this is a must try port-like wine.

When visiting Owen Valley Winery be sure to include a tasting of the unusual but yummy persimmon wine. Spend a relaxing afternoon on the deck and observe the many humming birds that visit the feeders.

Owen Valley Winery
91 Timber Ridge Rd.
Spencer, Indiana 47640

GPS: N39º 14.4093’ W86º 45.4946’

 

 

Article written August 2017.

 



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