Pressure is on for Indiana wineries during 2019 harvest season

Pressure is on for Indiana wineries during 2019 harvest season

BARGERSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Red or white? Sweet or dry? It is harvest season for wineries in Indiana.

It’s an important time of year for the more than 100 wineries across the state.

“That’s when you get the juice. That’s when you get the grapes for the wine,” said founder of Mallow Run winery John Richardson.

Mallow Run is a 12-acre wine vineyard that sits on the Richardson family farm.

They’ve been harvesting grapes since 2005.

John says Mallow Run also grows corn and soybeans, but that grapes provide an added value product for farmers. They also rely on different weather than traditional crops.

This year’s hot and dry summer in Central Indiana helped keep fungus, like black rot, away from the vines.

The heavy rain fall from spring actually worked in Mallow Run’s favor.

They planted new grapes this year and John says new grapes need rain to establish their roots.

It did delay harvest season by a week or so but John says harvesting during cooler temperatures was a welcome break for the nearly 50 volunteer pickers he sees on a given day.

“It’s relaxing to just pick the fruit from the vines, said volunteer Darlene Strasser.

Darlene is retired and says she’s always looking for new things to do in the community. She also happens to love Mallow Run’s Cabernet Sauvignon.

Last year, more than $100 million of Indiana wine was sold.

This year’s economic impact depends on the quality of grapes picked between now and October.

John admits there’s not a lot of money in wine making. Still he says it’s his love for wine that keeps him going.

“A lot of the soils in Indiana are high clay content. It is not ideal. It is not the central valley in Southern California. But, we are growing varieties that will survive,” John said.

One of those varieties is the Catawba grape.

The sparkling Catawba also happens to be Mallow Run’s best selling wine.

If you’re interested in being a volunteer grape picker at Mallow Run, click here.