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Location:
French Lick
Medium:
Wines
Availability:
West BadenWinery, retail outlets (statewide) and festivals
FEATURED WORK
Kim and John Doty, French Lick Winery

“Once people find us, it seems like they are here every day.”

After 18 years in the industry, John Doty did something few bankers ever do. He opened a winery.

French Lick Winery has since become one of Indiana’s premier wineries, currently producing more than 150,000 bottles in more than 20 varieties.

While John formally retired from banking seven years ago, his wife just retired in early 2009. Together with their two sons, the Doty’s now envision a second lifetime of wine making.

John and Kim produce their award-winning wines on site, and visitors can watch the production facility from the tasting room. Many of their grapes are grown and harvested 20 miles west at the Heaven’s View Vineyard located on Kim’s family farm. There they grow Cambourcin, Traminette, Vidal and Vincent varietals.

John also has a few vines of Norton grapes, the first in Indiana, which he bottles and also uses in his port wine. “The Norton was discovered in the 1800s and was said to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite wine,” John says.

According to John, Norton grapes make a dry red wine, which can be an acquired taste for Hoosiers used to the fruitier wines made at French Lick Winery. With the opening of the Pete Dye golf course in nearby West Baden, John anticipates more people will come to try both the Norton and other varietals.

With his recent expansion, John is poised for that future. French Lick Winery has capacity to produce more than 100,000 gallons, nearly triple what they produce now. The Vintage Cafe at the Winery, which features Italian cuisine, also figures into John and Kim’s growth plans.

“We chose Italian food because it can stand up to fruity flavored wines,” John said. “People stay longer and get more comfortable tasting wines because of the restaurant.”