Photo by Lyndsey Caird

February was a long, cold month here in Indiana. We invented cocktails to pass the time, but what really got us through the snow and ice were the warm, loving photos that poured into our first ever online photo contest. We wanted to know how people enjoy our wine, and where. We found out, “a lot,” and “everywhere.” At bridal showers and beaches, weddings and campsites, in both of our tasting rooms, among friends, spouses, flowers and animals. It was hard to choose our favorites.

These 20 photos won the contest this round, and will appear on Oliver store displays in supermarkets and liquor stores across the country. Thank you for representing Oliver Winery, a real place with real winemakers and real fans. Everyone loves Oliver — especially these people!

See all winning entries below the jump.

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Cupid's Crush.1a

Naturally, we like Valentine’s Day over here. It involves a lot of our daily activities, such as drinking wine, eating chocolate, and being sweet to each other. You might say it’s our office culture. Simply drinking wine and eating chocolate and being sweet to each other on Valentine’s Day would actually be cheating. So we upped the ante and made a cocktail.

Cupid’s Crush is:

6 strawberries, stems removed, halved
2 Tbsp honey
1 basil leaf
3 oz Oliver Shiraz 2010
2 oz cranberry cocktail

Muddle strawberries, honey and basil in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, Oliver Shiraz and cranberry cocktail. Shake vigorously and strain into a sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with sliced strawberries and basil.

If you’re staying in tonight, make this at home and tell us what you think.

P.S. Will you be our Valentine?

Ice Wine Cocktail

We had a couple birthdays at the winery this week, and a Creekbend cocktail sounded better than, say, a cupcake. This one is made with our Creekbend Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, white ginger syrup and a dash of club soda. It’s garnished with frozen grapes, because that’s the whole idea behind our Ice Wine.

Vidal grapes are harvested frozen in mid-winter from our Creekbend Vineyard here in Indiana. We wait until it’s really, really cold to pick these grapes. Temperatures need to be below 10 degrees for at least 24 hours to get the desired concentration. When this happens, much of the water in the berry becomes trapped in pure ice crystals, with the surrounding fluid containing the concentrated sugar, acidity and flavors. Much of the interesting flavors of a good Ice Wine come from the effect of the grapes hanging out in the elements through the fall and early winter. This particular Ice Wine was born from the incredible 2007 crop, the best growing season ever.

Ice Wine Ginger Pop:

3 ounces Vidal Blanc Ice Wine
1/2 tsp white ginger syrup

Stir together and pour over ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with frozen grapes.

Some words about this weekend’s River Rocks Hot Air Balloon Festival from our pilot, Warren Smith:

Friday was a beautiful sunny fall afternoon. The wind was light and variable which presented our first problem. We were to fly out of Coolridge Park. The decision was made to reconvene in Coolidge Park to take a look at the winds. I met with our passengers from Sports Wine and Spirits. I told them we were to do a supplemental weather briefing at Coolidge Park and they opted to meet us there. Once we were all assembled again in Coolidge Park, the decision was made not to risk the flight but to do a glow instead. A good crowd was on hand. It was a beautiful evening.

By 6:15 AM Saturday the phone rang and the flight was canceled due to rain. Some rain was out to the west of us so the decision was made to go ahead and do the glow. We were the headliner and were placed close to the bridge where the Wine over Water event was being held.

Another good crowd was on hand for Sunday evening’s event. Sunday morning the pilot briefing was at 6:45 AM. Our passengers for this morning’s flight were from Hamilton liquors.  A good flight was had by all. We landed in a hay field about six miles from the launch site. This balloon is one of the prettiest designs that anyone has ever seen.  It is a crowd favorite. I am very proud and fortunate to be a part of the Oliver Winery balloon team. Thank you for another great year. I look forward to flying for the Winery again in  2013!

Warren Smith

See the full photo album on Facebook.

Oliver Winery is proud to sponsor a piece of WonderLab Museum’s newest exhibit, Simple Machine Mania, on display now! Our machine is Pulley Chairs, and it’s no game. Some of us adults thought of it more as a total body workout in a chair. Of course Bill and Kathleen were some of the first adults to try it Tuesday night at the opening donor reception. Kathleen had no trouble pulling herself up to the very top, but she’s the mother of three boys, so her arms literally are machines.

The Olivers brought all three sons, Wesley (12), Gibson (11) and Dashel (7) to try out the Pulley Chairs. They found a couple thousand other things to play with, too. Their faces pretty much looked like this the whole time:

Dashel (above) also rediscovered Oliver Winery’s first donation to the WonderLab, a two-story grapevine that he slithered through like only a seven-year-old boy can. We’re really impressed by how well the grapevine has held up. After all, it’s older than Dashel himself.

By sheer luck, Tuesday was also the night Venus passed in front of the sun, so we all learned even more about science by staring directly into the ball of fire through a welder’s glass (Bill’s idea). I was really glad to be invited, as you can see from my pinpression:

We’re really grateful to have an educational children’s museum, that’s also fun for adults, right in the heart of downtown Bloomington. That is why we continue to support the WonderLab!

Post by Amber Williams, Retail Manager

Located on 80 acres nestled in the rolling hills of Greenville, Indiana lays one of our favorite hidden gems. Capriole Farms is home to a herd of 500 goats, one lovable and adorable Corgi named Whitney and marvelous cheese maker Judy Schad. If you are not yet familiar with Capriole Farms Goat Cheese, let us be the first (but certainly not the last!) to sing their praise.

Judy and her family bought their farm in 1976 with the dream of living a more sustainable lifestyle. It was a 4-H project with her oldest son that led to their first goat, Banda, who would become the foundation for their herd. More than 20 years later, Judy and her ever growing herd have won countless awards not only across the United States, but also many at the International level as well.

Since spring has sprung, what better way to celebrate all of the flavors of the season than with fresh cheeses!  Goat cheese is wonderful paired with the crisp acidity of our Vidal Blanc Sparkling wine or Sauvignon Blanc, the fresh berry flavors of Shiraz or the delicate sweetness of Riesling.

Visit us in the month of April, and receive 25% off any of our Capriole Farms selections.  We carry a variety of options perfect for your next picnic at the winery, cheese plate at home or to top crisp salads the next time you have guests over. Our management team had the opportunity not so long ago to visit the farm, learn about the cheese and enjoy a wonderful lunch prepared by Judy herself!  This recipe for Pecan Crusted Goat Salad with Raspberry Dressing (below) is one she shared with us along with some of our favorite Oliver wines.

Whitney the Corgi, nose to nose with a friendly goat.

Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad with Raspberry Dressing

Red or black raspberries work beautifully in this recipe. Serves 4

Raspberry-Poppy Seed dressing:

  • 1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. minced red onion
  • 1 tsp. french mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds


  • 2 rounds of 5oz. Capriole fresh goat cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp. butter, melted
  • 6 ounces mesclun mix (about 8 cups lightly packed)

Blend all the dressing ingredients, except ½ cup raspberries, the oil, and poppy seeds, in a food processor. With processor running, gradually add oil. Add poppy seeds and blend 5 seconds. Preheat oven to 350°F.  With dental floss split each round of cheese into 2 halves about ½ “ thick.  Whisk egg and 1 tablespoon water in small bowl to blend. Place flour in another small bowl. Place pecans in shallow dish. Roll goat cheese slices in flour, then dip into egg mixture, then roll in pecans to coat, pressing gently to adhere. Place cheese in glass baking dish; drizzle lightly with butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the pecans are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Divide mesclun among 4 plates. Top each with 2 warm cheese slices. Drizzle with dressing. Garnish each plate with the remaining ½ cup raspberries.