This Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit a local winery close to my home – Chateau de Pique in Seymour, Ind. The winery offers 27 wines with more in the works, and is starting to branch out into beer brewing. They offer complimentary tastings of all their wines except the ice wines. And they do so with a smile. Karen Dobb greeted me and other winery visitors with a welcoming smile and an offer to serve wine. She started me off with a sip of their Traminette after I mentioned hearing that it was Indiana’s signature grape and wine.
As she poured more samples into my glass, Dobb also served up insight about each wine. As I was tasting CDP’s Sweet Mile High made with Concord grapes, she said it was their best-selling wine. “We go through (sell) about a case a week,” Dobb said of the wine. While the winery is open seven days a week, Dobb said they usually see more traffic on the weekends.
After noticing my interest in the production process and area, Dobb called owner Greg Pardieck and asked him to come out and show me around. So, I was lucky enough to taste some wine and get a personal tour of where it was made. He took me through the wine making process, explaining how the business has expanded since its opening in 2007. “When we first started, we brought wines in and blended (them),” Pardieck said. But now, the winery uses its own 6 acres of grapes and brings in fresh fruit from states such as Michigan, Oregon and California.
He showed me the destemmer and crusher machine, the tanks where wine is stored and fermented, the “cellar” where wine is aged in oak barrels, the short assembly line space where they bottle the wine by hand and boxes of bottles in a waiting period called “bottle shock.” Pardieck said the longer a wine is allowed to rest and get accustomed to being in a bottle, the smoother it will taste. And he gave me a taste of a dry Chardonel straight out of a tank that was ready to bottle for comparison – it was delicious.
While the business is expanding and winemaker John McMahan is trying his hand at brewing beers, Pardieck said the winery will still have its personal touch that brings many weddings and get-togethers out to the gently rolling hills of the winery. “We want CDP to be a premier Indiana winery,” he said. “We don’t want to be a big mass-producer (of wine), we want to offer as good a wine as you can get in Indiana.”
To continue doing just that, CDP is in the process of making a watermelon wine from locally grown, Jackson County watermelons that will be ready to taste in the spring. They have sold the watermelons at their other two tasting rooms in Clarksville and Indianapolis, and a local farmer gave the winery 600 watermelons for its inaugural batch. I’ll have to check back in April for a taste. If you’re ever in southern Indiana or the Seymour area, Chateau de Pique is a must-stop for wine lovers. Or if you’re near one of the other tasting locations, drop in and taste the wines.