Post by Jessika Hane, HR Director
*Please note- This is the first in a series of posts featuring some of our beloved customers. Dan and Amanda were a natural first choice (and we had plenty of photos of them-they are so photogenic!) I intend for future posts to have more of a question and answer style to them, but Amanda’s description of how they met, fell in love and then fell in love with Oliver Winery was too good to mess with. If you want to share your Oliver Story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Dan and Amanda Bureau!
Dan & I met through a professional organization. We lived in different states, but saw each other at conferences a few times a year and became friends. In the fall of 2002, that friendship turned romantic. After months of email flirting, we had our first date at a conference in December 2002. Our relationship developed over long distance with Dan in Illinois and me in Georgia. In July 2003, we went to a wedding in French Lick, IN. On the way back to Indianapolis we decided on a whim to stop at Oliver Winery, mostly to postpone the inevitable airport goodbye that always followed our weekend-long dates. I moved to Indianapolis in September 2003; we started going to Oliver more often and it became a special place for us.
That summer, Dan started planning his proposal. One Friday (while I thought he was at work in Illinois) he was in Bloomington setting up everything at the winery. That Saturday we had an appointment to go house hunting with our Realtor all day. Little did I know, Dan got her in on the plans as well and had her to tell me at the last minute she could only meet with us in the morning. He also got one of our Illinois friends to send me an email asking us to go to Oliver Winery to pick up some wine for a family gathering – and since we suddenly had the afternoon free, I agreed to go down to Bloomington.
At Oliver, we did a wine tasting and bought some wine just like we usually do. We had typically sat by the lake to drink our wine and eat our picnic, but this time Dan really wanted to sit on the patio. Several of our favorite romantic songs were playing on the patio speakers. By the third song, Dan told me that he had lied about our friend asking us to pick up wine. He also told me he had spent the day in Bloomington and Indy preparing for that day. Still confused, I didn’t really know what was going on. Dan then told me loved me and wanted to spend our lives together.
Dan pulled out the ring, got down on one knee and asked me. As I said “yes,” we heard cheers from about 150 people in the tasting room and around the patio (they had a concert on the patio earlier that day, so the place was packed). Word had spread inside that we were getting engaged on the patio, so people were watching at the windows. We went in, greeted the crowd and toasted to our future with our Oliver friends and family, few of whom we knew, but many were quick to congratulate us and wish us luck.
Look, it is Dan and Amanda at a vineyard event!
The big engagement production began our “groupie” status at Oliver. We continue to love the wine, and got to know several of the staffers and enjoy them just as much. We take friends and family to Oliver every chance we get, including coordinating several large groups over the years. We love to introduce people to Oliver and prove that good wine really can come from Indiana!
When Dan started grad school at IU, he had a class with Mindy Metzcar (wife of assistant winemaker, John Metzcar) and we became friends with them. Mindy told me that several Oliver staffers’ spouses help with the booth at the Vintage Indiana wine festival and she encouraged me to “volunteer” with her. That was the year of the major flooding that prevented most of Oliver’s staff from getting up to Indy for the festival, so I ended up being part of the skeleton crew that manned the booth in the mud. Even though it was chaotic and dirty, I had a blast and asked to volunteer again the next year with Dan. It was even more fun in dry weather!
This past summer, we took a trip to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Paul Mui and several other Oliver staffers gave us tons of tips and suggestions of wineries to visit. During one of our tastings, we mentioned that we were from Indiana and the server said someone from an Indiana winery had been in their tasting room recently – then he pulled an Oliver Winery business card out of the cash register.
Dan, Amanda and Ollie- This photo reminds me of the one we snapped of them right after they got engaged!
We try to visit the winery about once a month; if we lived in Bloomington we’d probably be there a lot more often. We love all the wines in the dry section of the menu… and then we typically skip over the middle to end with the dessert wines. As many times as we’ve tried the same wines, the tasters still manage to pull out random facts to teach us something new at every visit. We love everything about Oliver Winery – the wine, the people, the experience.
Oliver Winery holds such a special place in our lives, we even named our dog Ollie!