True Taste at Blackhawk Winery
Blackhawk Winery & Vineyard Offers Wide Selection of Wines & Events
Photographer / Eli Beaverson
For Blackhawk Winery and Vineyard owners John and Deb Miller, a long-time hobby has turned into a thriving, popular business.
“It started as a side project, although a very passionate one, and as the owners had more and more success with it they’ve continued to invest more and plant more grapes as it’s gone on,” says Jennifer Norris, Blackhawk’s event and distribution coordinator.
In 2011, the Millers planted the first grapes on their Sheridan property, and three years later officially opened Blackhawk Winery to the public. The couple had the opportunity to acquire land north of their property in 2016 and as a result were able to double their acreage, increase wine production and enjoy more space to host private and public events.
Today, Blackhawk offers about 15 to 20 wines at any given time, and Norris says the selection is somewhat different than what one might find on a typical winery list, with plenty of dry and semi-dry options.
“A lot of people tend to recommend us because we have a lot of your dryer wines that many Indiana wineries don’t have,” Norris says. “We grow traminette, which is the Indiana state grape, and we also grow Sheridan grapes – when we first started those we were the only winery in the country to make a wine with a Sheridan grape. It is a sweeter grape with a beautiful color. Because we’re in Sheridan, John wanted to explore that grape, and it’s actually one of our more popular varieties.”
Blackhawk also offers sparkling, dessert and fruit wines that vary depending on the season, including the Night Hawk (a blackberry port-style wine), the Sassy Sister (a sparkling concord) and the Hard Cider (a sparkling apple).
Members of Blackhawk’s VIP Club receive special wine and event discounts, as well as invitations to sample and offer input on unreleased wines.
“Our VIP members are our best customers, and they’re very supportive of what we do,” Norris says. “It’s great to have those members come in and try a wine that we’re working on. They can tell us that it’s good to go, or that it needs more work and it’s not right yet.”
Once a month, Blackhawk hosts a trivia night to raise money for local non-profits, and the winery regularly allocates $1 from the sale of featured wines toward local charities. Regular events at the winery include bingo, themed trivia, evening candlelight yoga and live music.
“We try to support the local community in different ways, and it’s been so supportive of us,” Norris says. “We do different in-house events and go off-site for things like farmers markets in Noblesville and West Lafayette.”
As Valentine’s Day approaches, Blackhawk will host a wine pairing event with cheeses and chocolates. Norris says the winery will be sourcing local products to pair with their house wines and will instruct attendees on optimal pairings.
“One of the most popular things we do in general is our Class in a Glass wine pairings, so we’ll pair wines with things like pizzas in January and cheese in December,” Norris says. “We help educate you on how you might offer those things at your house, and how the flavors change when you drink and eat different things together. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, we thought we’d make it special and do both cheese and chocolate.”
Kids are welcome on the Blackhawk Winery grounds, and Norris says the staff encourages parents to bring their kids out for a family experience.
“We’re also a working farm with a mix of farm animals out in the pasture, so when you come out in the summer you see horses out there,” Norris says. “With 10 acres, it’s a relaxing setting, and it has a local feel. You won’t find pinot noir, merlot or Malbec because we try to use as many local grapes as we can and try to use grapes that grow best in the midwest. We get blackberries from Westfield and blueberries from Michigan.”
Norris feels Blackhawk’s appeal ultimately lies in its welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, as well as the staff’s knowledge and willingness to help each customer.
“We’re not pretentious, and we think that wine is meant to be enjoyed,” she says. “If you like to put ice cubes in your red wine, then great – we don’t care. However you can enjoy it.”
Blackhawk Winery and Vineyard is located at 28153 Ditch Road in Sheridan. For more information, including a current wine list and VIP Wine Club details, call 317-771-2814 or visit blackhawkwinery.com.