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Peace Out

Peace Water Winery donates 50 percent of profits to charities

Writer  /  Suzanne Huntzinger

Photographer  /  Amy Payne

It’s not just another Indiana winery. But, then, the story of owners Scott and Laura Burton is no ordinary story either.

Scott, a former attorney, was looking for a change. He needed a break from the demands of the high-pressure corporate law lifestyle. In the short term, after leaving the law firm, Burton made an investment. He invested in a sports facility in Fishers, a 56,000 square-foot sports facility called The Fieldhouse. The business venture was a success, so after a time, Burton franchised it and sold it.

Now ready for a new phase of life, Scott searched for the inspiration for his next venture. It came to him one day when he and Laura were traveling to San Francisco to visit one of their sons. The Burtons had visited Napa Valley several times during their trips to see their son and they’d fallen in love with the area. So, they decided to open a winery.

“I loved the idea of sharing a piece of Napa with Hamilton County,” Scott says.

With the idea for their next venture decided, the Burtons now needed an idea for the winery’s concept and its name.

“My wife is such an inspiration,” Scott says. “She’s always paying it forward by either buying a drink for the next customer in line at Starbucks or volunteering at the soup kitchen. What better way to do that than by sharing wine with people?”

The concept of sharing wine with people was a starting point, so they took it further and decided to donate 50 percent of the net profits of every bottle of wine sold to charities. The Burtons made it a family affair and let their eight children choose the charities to which the profits would be donated.

“Peace Water Winery is the idea that we’re all in this world together, let’s share it in peace,” Scott says.

The Burtons indeed bring back a piece of Napa to share. They sell wine exclusively made from grapes hand crafted and harvested at their seven Napa Valley vineyards. It’s something different from Hoosier wineries.

“The wine from Napa is world class,” Scott says. “It’s harvested from grapes in a perfect climate giving it a drier finish, whereas wine from Indiana is sweeter due to our four-season climate.”

The experts agree that Peace Water wine is world class. Wine Enthusiast Magazine graded six varieties of their wines at 90 plus on a 100-point scale, putting Peace Water Winery in the top five wines in the world. Their Red Blend wine won the red wine of the year at the Indianapolis Wine Competition.

Making award-winning wine is great for the Burtons, but they want to make it all about the experience. Guests get the experience the moment they walk in the door to the winery. A cooler, in the shape of a 1966 VW hippie van (a replica of the Burton’s own), greets you. The modern, yet eclectic design invites you in. More group seating is provided in long tables around the perimeter of the winery. There is also cozy seating around the fireplace for smaller groups. There’s even outdoor patio seating.

The most impressive piece at the winery is the Give Wall. Adorned with a sign designating each of the eight charities chosen by the eight children, the wall is the Burton’s way of reminding guests that giving has a lasting, ripple effect and is present in every bottle of wine Peace Water sells. The ripple is an important part of the Peace Water peace sign logo on each bottle of wine.

Peace Water Winery offers tastings, and 95 percent of its business comes from walk-in guests wanting to try a sample. But you can coordinate a group tasting event ahead of time too. The winery is quite popular for bridal showers and perfect for corporate events and holiday parties. Peace Water Winery also invites you to become part of their Peace Posse, giving you perks like discounts offered on wine, and you can have wine delivered to your door by the Burton’s VW hippie Van, Reggie. The Peace Posse membership also offers exclusive access to personalized trips to Napa where you can get a behind the scenes look at winemaking and tours of the latest Napa hotspots.

The Burtons are spreading more peace to Indy. They’ve announced the opening of a second Peace Water Winery location on Massachusetts Avenue downtown. The location will offer much of the same as the Carmel location in a slightly larger space. Work is well underway on the new location, and the Burtons hope to open the doors by the end of the year.

Stop in to Peace Water Winery, 37 W. Main Street in Carmel, to experience it today. Whether you want to come in for a wine tasting, buy a bottle of wine, listen to live music or just be part of the community, Peace Water Winery offers the perfect setting for you. Visit peacewaterwinery.com to browse their wines or for more details on scheduling your next group event.

About Suzanne Huntzinger

Suzanne Huntzinger has a journalism degree from IU and has lived in the Geist community for 18 years.

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