South Central Indiana Gets Bump From Wine Designation
Wine Grower Jim Butler (WIBC.com photo: Mike Corbin)
South Central Indiana has been dubbed an American Viticultural Area. Indiana wine makers say it's a prestigious designation by the federal government.
Jim Butler of Butler Winery says it's a first for Indiana and puts the state on the map as a wine making destination along with Napa Valley, California and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
The area is called the Indiana Uplands AVA and encompasses 4800 square miles of grape growing terrain. That area runs from the Morgan-Monroe County line near Bloomington south to the Ohio River.
Butler says wineries have been pursuing the designation for several years. The AVA system began in 1978 and identifies the origin of American wines similar to the system used in France.
Indiana Department of Agriculture Director Gina Sheets says the real marketing must now begin to link the designation to tourism.
Sheets says Indiana currently has 70 wineries that help generate at least $80 million in yearly economic impact.