It’s a shame Instagram wasn’t around when Professor Bill Oliver was hobbying away at his basement wine, or when he sold his first bottle of Camelot Mead, or when he invited dozens of thirsty Hoosiers who’d never stepped foot in a commercial winery to stomp his grapes in buckets. We’re sure his customers and tasters would have Instagrammed their long afternoons at the winery, too. All told, their Instagrams would probably resemble the photos that were actually taken with non-smart phones, called cameras. We have lots of vintage photos. We’ve scanned them, filed them on our computers, and used them in slideshows for years. Now, it’s time to join Instagram.
Our 40th birthday is a good reminder to keep documenting all the work we’re doing / fun we’re having here at Oliver Winery and our Creekbend Vineyard. And it’s another way of keeping up with our visitors, who Instagram all day from the Tasting Room and the gardens (We see you! Retweet! Like!).
If you want to follow us back, search for “oliverwinery” (no spaces). In the beginning, look forward to beautifully filtered images of baby grapes, summer picnics, flora, and vineyard managers in floppy hats. Things will pick up this fall, when the grapes have clustered and matured and are ready to be abra cadabra’d into that sweet (or dry) wine you’ll be drinking this time next year. Also look for contests and giveaways on Instagram — probably our Beanblossom Hard Cider, because that’s what we’re excited about right now. Cider, Instagram, and our birthday. Can we be excited about three things?
We polished up our TV commercials this year with the help of a very talented producer and our good friend, Jo Throckmorton & his crew. After a little bit of editing (okay, maybe a lot), we produced four television commercials starring our staff and some good friends and customers! Thanks to everyone who helped make these commercials possible. All of the customers that helped us for “The Experience” commercial went through two grueling hours of filming (and drinking wine.) What a tough life they lead! We had a lot of fun that night.
Most of our commercials air on WTHR Indianapolis (NBC, Channel 13). Here is the schedule through the end of 2010.
We are rotating the four different commercials at random during these times:
Sunrise Wed-Fri 6-7am (Will air 2 of the 3 days)
Early News Wed-Fri 5-6:30pm (Will air all 3 days)
Jeopardy Wed-Fri 7:30-8pm (Will air 1 of the 3 days)
Sat Sunrise Saturday 7-10am
Below are the commercials, if you cannot wait to see them:
We are so lucky to be a part of a university town like Bloomington! Our community is diverse and is a great mix of Bloomingtonians, Indiana University students and professors and those that got sucked into the Bloomington-way after they graduated from IU. Indiana University classes are now in session and last week was filled with family vehicles packed to the brim with the essentials for survival. My favorite part about move-in week is meeting the parents that stop in to taste or stock up on wine after the moving is complete. There is a mix of emotions. I poured wine for one family from California that was all smiles because the last of three girls just started her first year of school. And not to mention, they were pleasantly surprised that a winery was just up the road from the university. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this family again. They really enjoyed the soft elegance of our Creekbend Chambourcin.
There are also the parents that have just dropped off their one and only child to start their freshmen year. They are exhausted from the heat and the moving and emotional that they just had to leave little Bobby to fend for himself. I promise you, Bloomington is a great community and it will take good care of little Bobby. By time they have finished their tasting they have found some new favorite wines and the mother is planning her next trip back to visit her son (and Oliver Winery, of course).
And I can’t forget the parents that are at the end of the bar celebrating that their “kid” just started his senior year. They are on the home stretch and counting down the days until their kid is, as my dad always says, “off the payroll”!
Thank you, parents, for making Oliver Winery a part of your visits to Indiana University.
*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.
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.
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!
Founded in 1972, Oliver Winery is Indiana’s oldest and largest winery. We are located in Bloomington, Indiana. We make over 40 varieties of wine from classic viniferia like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio to fruit wines like Blackberry. We also make a line of wines called the Creekbend Collection which are made exclusively from grapes grown in our Monroe County vineyard, Creekbend. We operate a Tasting Room that is open year round for tasting and weekend tours. Our wines are available for sale in our Tasting Room, distributed in eighteen states and through our online store: www.oliverwinery.com.