It’s Spring Break here in Bloomington, Indiana. The students have gone home. The professors are on beaches. We’re lonely. It’s snowing. But, the parking downtown is great. It’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day. And we have all this wine.

So we decided to make a cocktail.

Let’s talk for a moment about Honey Wine. We’ve been making our Camelot Mead for four decades, as long as Oliver Winery has been making wine in Indiana. Our newest batch is made from premium grade orange blossom honey and comes in four natural fruit flavors. It is light, fresh, and versatile in making cocktails and spritzers. Our March cocktail features Peach Honey Wine, a big favorite in the tasting room and double gold medal winner. It’s also very easy to make, with only four ingredients.

Tickle Me Peach
– Spring Break approved!
5 frozen peach slices
3 oz Oliver Peach Honey Wine
3 oz orange juice
4.5 oz ginger beer

Layer a Collins glass with frozen peach slices, about 5. Fill with ice. Combine Peach Honey Wine and orange juice in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake. Strain into glass. Top with ginger beer.

Let us know how this tastes from wherever you are. Especially if you are on a boat, in a lake, eating a taco, wearing sandals, etc.

Guest Post by Marian Keith, Landscape Supervisor
Post by Marian Keith, Landscape Supervisor

I’ve come to expect warm temperatures and blooming things by early March after the oddly mild winters of the recent past. This year, persistently frigid weather has kept spring at bay, at least for now. In fact, we just finished shoveling a healthy load of snow as I write this on March 6th. Still, there have been signs of hope: we’ve spotted several flocks of sandhill cranes passing over Oliver Winery on their annual journey northward, cardinals and titmice have begun their predawn serenades, and the crocuses, snowdrops and hellebores are ready to burst open on the next warm, sunny day. Spring is at the doorstep.

By mid-March, the first daffodils should start opening, providing the first big splash of color. We have dozens of varieties representing a wide spectrum of colors, sizes and personalities, and add a few new ones each season. One of our newcomers, daffodil ‘Exotic Mystery’, bears pale, greenish-yellow, split-corona flowers that bloom in clusters atop tall stems in mid- to late April. Another new one, ‘Galactic Star’, promises long, flaring, creamy-white trumpets with ruffled edges that melt into rounded, slightly backswept, primrose petals. Sounds sweet, huh? It should begin blooming by mid- April.


Crocus ancyrensis ‘Golden Bunch’ smiles on a sunny day in late winter.
Tiny but magical, daffodil ‘Hawera’ is one of my favorites.
Tiny but magical, daffodil ‘Hawera’ is one of my favorites.
Daffodil ‘Ambergate’ is unusual for its orangey-buff petals complemented by a dark orange cup.
Daffodil ‘Ambergate’ is unusual for its orangey-buff petals complemented by a dark orange cup.
Tulip ‘Black Parrot’, one of our staples, looks terrific with pale yellow daffodils.
Tulip ‘Black Parrot’, one of our staples, looks terrific with pale yellow daffodils.

Despite the extra effort they require, I can’t resist tulips for their big, lush flowers and delicious rainbow colors. We take special pains to protect them from deer and voles for your viewing enjoyment. This year I’ve aimed for some different combinations that depart from my usual “color recipes” of the past. One particular large sweep blends shades of scarlet, burgundy, and maroon with accents of white and cream, with a few other bulb varieties in complementary shades. Bet it will be beautiful!

Large-flowered alliums carry the show through May, bringing structural drama to the garden that is equaled by few other flowers. This year, look forward to the debut of Allium ‘Spider’, a hybrid between A. atropurpureum and one of my favorites, A. schubertii. Its large, violet starbursts should look just dreamy amid the warm blossoms of our amber Flower Carpet roses. Also new is ‘Summer Drummer’, with sturdy stems that can reach an incredible height of four to seven feet! Both these varieties are expected to bloom in June.

Come visit our main tasting room soon and treat yourself to a glass of delicious Oliver Wine and a stroll or a picnic amid the fresh flowers of spring. We cannot wait to see you!

Allium schubertii, a favorite of ours and a parent plant of the new hybrid, Allium ’Spider’.
Allium schubertii, a favorite of ours and a parent plant of the new hybrid, Allium ’Spider’. Photo by Jessie Keith
Statuesque Allium ‘Mars’ highlights the gardens in May
Statuesque Allium ‘Mars’ highlights the gardens in May

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?



How much do YOU love Oliver?

Enter our photo contest for your chance to be featured on Oliver store displays across the country. We’re looking for the best photos of our fans enjoying Oliver Soft Red, Soft White and Soft Rosé. We want to see where you enjoy it, when you enjoy it, and how you enjoy it most. Be creative! Include yourself, your friends, your roommates, your parents, and of course a glass or bottle of your favorite Soft.

All entries must be received by 1:00 PM Monday, February 18, 2013. Up to 100 finalists will be selected over the course of the contest. We will announce contest winners March 1, 2013 at



Temperatures in the vineyard this morning teetered below 14 degrees. The forecast for Napa Valley, where many California wines are grown, was 72 degrees. We’re not complaining. Indiana winters give us amazing opportunities to be creative — both in winemaking, and in dress. The colder it is outside, the more we prepare ourselves for the eight hours of labor ahead. A blistering cold morning keeps us on our toes all day. And for some of us really creative types, it keeps our drinking water in a sock:


Of course we know about layers. We were born in ’em. Carhartt? Yeah, we exchange Christmas cards every year. We all have overalls. Ross wears the arctic ones he bought out of desperation, and tucks them into his arctic boots that can sustain negative 30 degree temperatures, according to the box. That ought to do it out here.

A typical vineyard worker’s layers are as follows: 4-5 shirts, including thermals, vests and sweats; long johns under pants under overalls; vineyard boots, plus an extra pair of waterproof boots, similar to a mail carrier’s; hand and foot warmers sandwiched between two pairs of gloves and two pairs of socks; a hat; and usually something to cover the face.





Ross Overalls

One might assume we drink lots of locally grown, estate bottled wine to keep warm. Actually, just tea, mostly. Chai is our fav.


Oh, and we don’t get very good cell reception out here. Or Internet reception. Too cold. In fact, we’ve replaced all our smart phones with smart wool: