A few weeks ago, Sheryl and I went to Chateau Thomas Winery, located right here in central Indiana. I hadn’t been there before, and Sheryl actually took me by surprise. We were on the south side and managed to see a lot while we were down there, including the winery and Half Price Books. I hadn’t been to that actual location, so it was refreshing to see so many new books I hadn’t sifted through before!
It’s weird having a winery here in the Midwest. Most of the time, when you think of wine, you think of California, Oregon, Italy… even Australia is starting to become known for their wines. I would put Chile and Argentina ahead of Indiana. But there are quite a few wineries popping up all over the Midwest, this being the most famous one in Indiana in my opinion.
20 Years of Excellence
I’m only 28 years old, so I haven’t been drinking wine for that long, but this place has been producing wine for over 20 years. It has been nearly 2 decades since Dr. Charles Thomas and his wife Jill established this winery. Now they have wines being poured all over the Hoosier state and they are starting to open up tasting rooms all over the Circle City.
Over 400 medals, all from international wine competitions, have been awarded to Dr. Thomas for the wine he produces on the south side of Indianapolis. He has also been honored 4 times with the coveted Governor’s Trophy. It goes without saying he knows how to produce a good wine from a good grape.
Speaking of the grapes, these grapes are not from Indiana. You would think that a winery in Indiana would in fact use grapes grown in Indiana… but that’s not the case here. They use grapes grown in California, Oregon, and in Washington vineyards. Dr. Thomas believes in combining modern science and technology of oenology with the old world methods of winemaking. Over 400 medals prove this method to be quite true!
The Tasting Room & Gift Shoppe
The winery is located off interstate 70 West, near Plainfield. It’s actually in a weird location, near several hotels and restaurants. Regardless, once inside you will see a large tasting room and gift shop to the left. Head in there, and you will be greeted (at least we were) by several happy folks ready to pour you a sample. The tasting room is actually open 363 days a year, and they offer complimentary tastings on nearly all of their wines.
If you like what you sample, they also sell their wine. You can buy the wine directly from the winery, even on Sunday. You can’t even buy wine in the grocery store on a Sunday, so that right there is worth the trip. You can even get custom labels put on the bottles, or have them thrown into a custom prepared gift basket. We didn’t do that, but it makes for a great gift idea.
Types of Wine
Chateau Thomas produces a ton of wine, hitting nearly every style you can think of. Below is a list of their dry white wines:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Sauvignon Blanc Tank Fermented
- Pinot Gris
- Pinot Grigio
Here is a detailed list of their dry red wines:
- Chateau Big Red
- Scott’s Red
- Pinot Noir
- Petit Syrah
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Cabernet Franc
- Family Reserve
- Old Vines Carignane
- Veranda Rose
- Classic Cabernet Sauvignon
- Black Gold
They also offer a wide range of sweet wines. They are known for their Scott’s Red, but I actually prefer some of the sweeter wines. Their list of sweet wines includes:
- White Zinfandel
- Muscat Canelli
- Fleur d’Peche
- Sweet Aubergine
- Late Harvest Riesling
- Late Harvest Zinfandel
- Sweet Sherry
- Vintage Port
All of these wines are available for you to sample. Please note that they will limit you to a certain number of samples. It’s not like you can go in there and get hammered on wine for free. (That’s an interesting concept though…)
Wine of the Month & Cooper’s Club
We had a lot of fun down there trying all their wines. We didn’t join, but they also have a wine of the month club. Most wineries will offer some sort of deal like this, and theirs is pretty straightforward. Each month their Wines of the Month Club members will receive two different wines from the collection. Yep… that’s about it. Seems pretty simple, right?
Members of this club, known as the Cooper’s Club, will also become the owner of a wine barrel that is personally identified with an engraved nameplate and put on display in the cellars at Chateau Thomas Winery. Each year for 3 years, members will receive a case of wine from the barrel category that they have chosen. When the barrel is empty… you get to keep the barrel! (That’s a pretty good deal, as an empty wine barrel can run you $80-100.)
More Than Drinking Wine
There is a lot more to do at Chateau Thomas than drink wine. They offer a ton of activities for you to experience the fun at Chateau Thomas. You can take part in:
- Murder Mystery Dinners
- Music on the Veranda
- Wine Grand Tastings
- Cooking Classes
- Six-course Dinner with the Winemaker
- New Orleans Fest
- Spirit of the Season
They also offer seasonal activities, so depending on when you read this, keep your eyes peeled for an activity to match your season.
We had a lot of fun at Chateau Thomas Winery. It still shocks me that wine can be produced right here in the Midwest. Granted, they use grapes from the west coast, but still… some of their wine is pretty good. Raise a glass to that, and bottoms up!