Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Try On Traminette - Indiana's Signature Wine

By Jeanette Merritt of Indiana Wine Grape Council

One of the most common comments I hear when travelling the state promoting Indiana wineries is that people don’t realize Indiana has over 60 wineries. Everyone knows the big one, Oliver Winery in Bloomington, or they know the ones in their backyards. But they don’t realize just how large the industry is.

It was with that idea in mind that the Purdue Wine Grape Team decided to explore the idea of a Signature Wine and Grape for Indiana. I got the idea from a counterpart in Missouri, who promote Norton as their state grape. And I have seen the success Missouri has had with name recognition, industry growth and wine quality. So I decided we needed to move forward with a grape identity!

We approached our industry and asked them what grape Indiana should be known for. After some deliberation, Traminette was chosen.  Traminette is a grape that grows well all over the state. It is the second most-planted grape in Indiana, and rapidly moving to first. Traminette is a combination of Gewurztraminer and J.S. 23-416.  Cornell University’s Grape Breeding Program is given credit for developing the varietal – one that is well adapted to the climate and soils of the Midwest, making it ideal for Indiana winemakers to grow.

Currently, more than 30 of the state’s 62 wineries are offering their own unique take on this new signature wine.  Nearly every new vineyard being planted in the state has Traminette in their acreage. And the same goes for every new winery! They all either have a Traminette or plan to have it soon!

Traminette is a wine that anyone can drink. I like it for those who say they don’t drink wine but want to start. The wine styles vary from semi-dry to sweet.  Although most fall in the semi-dry to semi-sweet category. It’s a fantastic summer wine. Enjoy it cold on the back porch on a warm evening.

Traminette has many different smells and tastes. But I often think of citrus fruit, spicy, floral, rose, and apricot when I drink it. And if you want to pair it with a meal, try turkey or other poultry, seafood, and Asian cuisine.

Since the launch of the Signature grape program in December 2009, accolades and awards have poured in.  At the 2010 Indy International Wine Competition, French Lick Winery’s Traminette won White Wine of the Year, beating out nearly 1000 white wines from all around the world for one the competitions highest honors.

So Try On Traminette with your next meal. Or simply enjoy it while sitting in your favorite chair on the patio!

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