If you are planning to take part in this weekend’s Newburgh Wine, Art, and Jazz Festival, you are going to need to sharpen your chops. We cannot have you showing up there later babbling about how you used to drink Boones Farm and Wild Irish Rose. No sir, once you start talking that kind of nonsense that close to the river your chances of being tossed right over the edge increase exponentially.

Consider this your crash course in Indiana Wineries. Plan on seeing these five make an appearance in Newburgh this weekend. Take notes if you need to, and be sure to follow the wine tasting tips to help you fit in.

Wine Tasting Tip #1: After tasting any red wine at the festival, tell the winery representative, and anyone else that will listen, that their wine would go great with linguine and lobster, or a medium rare steak and Mediterranean salad. Also, tell them that their wine tastes like it would go great with Miles Davis’ record “Kind of Blue.” They will wet themselves!

Easley Winery Fun Facts:
  • Jack and Joan Easley began as a dream in the late 1960’s.
  • Jack was an attorney.
  • Joan owned a market research business.
  • After finding out it was illegal to make and sell wine in Indiana, they bought a small vineyard in southern Michigan.
  • Jack and Joan helped organize the Indiana Wine Grower’s Guild, which would serve to change Indiana law’s.
  • In 1971, the Indiana laws were changed to allow wineries.
  • Easley Winery had its first grape crush in 1974.
  • Easley Winery offers 20 or more wines and champagnes.

Wine Tasting Tip # 2: When tasting any white wine, do so with the air of skepticism. Do not admit to liking it, even if you do, and tell the winery representative that you would prefer to try something redder and dryer. Tell them that the only time you really drink white wine is when one of your less educated relatives brings a bottle to a family function and insists that you try it. They will know you are serious about wine.

Oliver Winery Fun Facts:
  • Indiana University law professor William Oliver started this winery in the 1960’s.
  • Professor Oliver was instrumental in passing legislation allowing for the creation of small wineries in Indiana.
  • Professor Oliver’s son, Bill, took charge of the winery in 1983.
  • Major expansion occurred in 2002 and 2007 making Oliver Winery one of the largest wineries in the eastern United States.

Wine Tasting Tip #3: Absolutely refuse to try any of the sweet wines or table wines. No self-respecting wine connoisseur drinks these…not ever! There are rumors going around that these types of wines are made for the sole purpose of separating real wine drinkers from the part-timers. Don't drink them!

Blue Heron Vineyard Fun Facts:
  • Greg Harris is a local sculptor and Renaissance man.
  • Greg carved a High Celtic Cross on the Blue Heron Vineyard property.
  • Greg spent 23 months carving this piece, working 6 days a week from morning until dark.
  • Their wine “Prime 23” is a tribute to the work that went into the Celtic cross. 23 months. It leans 23 degrees.

Wine Tasting Tip #4: When tasting any red wine (that’s not a sweet red) tell the winery representative that their wine has “an elegant depth”, yet not so much that you couldn’t enjoy it with a really good pizza. They will thrive off that comment the entire weekend!

French Lick Winery Fun Facts:
  • Established in 1995
  • Located in the former Kimball Piano Factory in West Baden, Indiana.
  • Have received over 250 medals in state, national and international competitions.
  • Owned by John and Kim Doty

Wine Tasting Tip #5: When asked to try a Chardonnay or Merlot, politely decline and say, “I think we can do better than that.” You will come across like an old pro!

Grateful Goat Winery Fun Facts:
  • Officially opened in 2010
  • Smallest winery in the state of Indiana
  • In addition to wine, they carry local specialty food items such as goat milk soap, grilling sauces, and bread mixes.
  • The owners, John and Lindsay also collect quartz crystals from Mt. Ida, Arkansas.

So now you have some fun facts and a few exceptional wine tasting tips to help guide you along the way this weekend. You're going to do great. Just remember when all else fails, stick to dry red wines and make a "yuck face" when someone offers you a white. Your time has come. Go get em' tiger!