Purdue Wine Grape Team Newsletter

Dear Indiana Winemakers,
I must first thank all of you who offered condolences for the passing of my Grandpa.  He passed away right before the Indy International and we held his funeral during the competition.  I had quite a few people notice my absense and reach out to offer prayers and kind words.  It's never easy to lose family.  But my family knows his reward is now great and that keeps me from crying all the time!

This years Indy International was another great one for Indiana wineries! Being able to promote Easley Winery's Traminette as Wine of the Year is great fun and such great news for our entire wine industry! This marks the 3rd time in 4 years that an Indiana winery has won the big trophy! What a fun story I've been able to tell since the award was given.  Of course, Indiana walked away with other major awards as well and many, many medals.  Be sure to check out www.indyinternational.org for all the award details!

One of my favorite events of the year is the great Indiana State Fair.  I love everything about the fair! And I've loved it even more now that we have Indiana wine available in Grand Hall.  Response has been very strong and the media interviews have been constant!  I've done interviews with three major TV networks and a few radio stations already, talking about Grand Hall and Indiana Wine at the State Fair.

Here's one media mention from the fair.

We have roughly 30 different wineries pouring wine at the State Fair.  The traffic through the building has been very steady and everyone tells me they are having great conversations with fairgoers about their wine.

The traffic on the first Friday was pretty big!  I had a chance to show Lt. Governor Ellsperman through the building.  She told me time and time again how much she loves our wineries and sang praises especially for her local winery, Monkey Hollow!  Special thanks to Satek Winery and Blackhawk Winery for taking a moment to talk to the Lt. Governor as she went through the building.

If you are going to the fair, you can find two Indiana Wines booths.  They are in Grand Hall and the Purdue Ag/Hort building.  My intern and I are staffing the booths and telling everyone about Indiana wineries!  We have grape stress balls, wine fans and a fun Plinko game to engage guests.

 One of my new features this year is a Farmer Selfie station!  Who doesn't love a good selfie?  Through my involvement with Indiana's Family of Farmers, we were noticing how many people over the past few years were taking selfies at the fair.  We decided to make a fun game and have people take selfies with our farmers, David Simmons of Simmons Winery and Jeff Martin of Easley Winery!  I sent a callout to see who was interested in being our featured farmers.  I had so many responses that I had to stick the names in a hat and draw.  I think our two farmer selfie stations look great!

Guests take their picture with either selfie station, tag the post with #FarmerSelfie and include a variety of social media channels.  Each selfie will make a donation from Family of Farmer's to a local food bank and each person who posts gets a chance to win a $50 gift card.  There are 9 Farmer Selfie stations at commodity booths around the fair.  We've had quite a few people take their picture with Jeff and David! You can find David at the booth in Ag/Hort and Jeff at the booth in Grand Hall.

During the fair, Bruce Bordelon and I had the chance to meet with the staff of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to talk about growing conditions in the vineyards.  ISDA was very interested in how all of our vineyards are doing this year. We also talked about the hopeful success of Indiana Grown and chatted about a few of their favorite wines! 

I should also mention I've seen Dana Huber running around the fairgrounds.  Dana serves on the Indiana State Fair Commission and has spent countless hours spreading the good news of Indiana wineries to her fellow board members!  I know Dana was a driving force in getting wine in Grand Hall!

And while we are only 6 days into the fair, I'll post one more thing that really made this years fair so great.  This year the State Fair is the Year of the Farmer.  Each day of the fair features a different farm family and commodity.  I worked with Dow AgroSciences, the funding partner behind the promotion, to make sure an Indiana winery was featured as one of the Farmers of the Day.  McClure's Orchard & Winery in Peru was the farm family featured on August 12.  They had breakfast with the Fairboard, did a few media interviews, were interviewed in front of an audience at the Glass Barn, and rode on a float in the nightly parade!  They did a great job promoting the entire Indiana wine industry!  

There are still many days left of the State Fair.  You'll find me there until the very end promoting our wine and grape industry to anyone who will listen!  I know I'll see some of you in Grand Hall.  State Fair is a great place to share our message of our important role in Indiana agriculture!  It's great to have so many proponents at the fair!

Jeanette Merritt
Marketing Director

Jeanette Merritt
Christian Butzke

Jill Blume

Bruce Bordelon