What’s better than a leisurely stroll through an adorable old-fashioned tourist town on a lovely afternoon? Making stops during your stroll for samples of wine, beer and spirits! If you visit the town of Nashville, Indiana, which is about an hour south of Indianapolis, you can partake in the Sippin’ Stroll Tour and visit four tasting rooms in the quaint downtown area.
This is the first season for the Sippin’ Stroll, which is a spin off of the Sippin’ Trip, a bus tour around Nashville launched in October that not only includes stops at tasting rooms, but takes you a little outside of town to additional sites where wine and spirits are made.
Participants meet up at the Brown County Visitor Center, which just opened in a new location that is decorated with local barn wood. On each of your stops you get a little history of the company and are guided through tastes of some of their signature sips. Stop No. 1 on your tour is Chateau Thomas Winery’s tasting room, which is right across the street. The main winery is in Plainfield, Indiana, and opened in 1984. It’s a popular stop for birthdays, bachelorette parties and even weddings. An upstairs loft area called the “art library” is perfect for hanging out and playing games. You’ll find a few Abe Martin characters in the winery, a popular comic strip character from the early 1900s created by Ken Hubbard.
Our host for the tasting told us that a visit to their tasting room is all about the experience and helping visitors make a memory — then when they come back to Nashville it’s somewhere they want to revisit. On weekends you can enjoy live music with a glass of wine and a gourmet cheese tray. The employees are happy to answer questions to help you expand your wine knowledge. We learned a little about dryness levels and the difference in dry, semisweet, sweet and dessert wines. Be sure to try the Strawberry Blush, the most popular variety in their jug series.
Next it’s on to the Cedar Creek tasting room, a smaller site, but with a huge selection of wines, and a lot for those who are fans of fruity wines and those who like oak-aged barrel varieties. Some good ones to try: Dark Secret Pinot Noir, Peach Paradise and Harvest Moon Ice Wine. Their facility opened in 2010 in Martinsville and later a brewery and distillery were added on. It’s currently the only site in Indiana where you’ll find wine, brews and spirits all being produced at one site.
Hang your coat and purse on a hook under the bar, step up and start sipping. The tasting room opened in 2013 as an extension of their facility in Martinsville where the farm-like setting is a big draw. They have goats, miniature ponies and a rusty vintage pickup truck parked in front. Their grapes come from various parts of the country — California, New York, Washington.
The last of the wine stops is at Brown County Winery’s tasting room. Their winery, which is family-owned and has been around for 32 years, sits just outside of town along Ind. 46. With a lot of their grapes coming from local growers, they’re known for their fruit wines and they also offer port aged in bourbon barrels. If you’re a fan of sweet wines, be sure to try the Vista Red, made with 100 percent Concord grapes. They also offer a Traminette, the signature wine of Indiana, which is a white wine made with grapes that thrive in Indiana’s harsh Midwestern climate.
You’ll finish your tour just around the corner at Big Woods Pizza Co. which also houses Hard Truth Distilling Co. and Quaff On! Brewing Co. Be sure to stop along the route for a photo of the public art piece called “Soaring,” one of several memorials by Mission 22, an organization that works to bring awareness to veteran suicides. It is 22 feet tall and has 22 leaves meant to represent the 22 veterans who die by suicide each day in the United States.
Once you get to the tasting room at Big Woods Pizza, you can sip away and try some of their popular brews, like 6-Foot Blonde, an American blonde ale, Common Necessity, a nitro hazelnut coffee stout, or their uber popular Busted Knuckle, a 7.2 percent ABU dark ale. A number of spirits can also be sampled — rum, gin, vodka or their 86-proof agave spirit. Be sure to have a little sip of their cinnamon vodka.
As you finish your sipping tour, Big Woods Pizza Co. is a good place to linger and enjoy a meal. They have a number of specialty pizzas, like “The Carciofo” with olive oil, baby spinach, mozzarella cheese, artichokes, black olives, sun-dried tomato and garlic, the “Kemosabe” with pork sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella and marinara or the “Buffalo Chicken” with Hard Truth buffalo pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, grilled chicken, sliced red onion and buffalo sauce drizzle. You’ll also find salads and sandwiches on the menu along with tasty appetizers like their signature pulled pork nachos.
“So far we’ve gotten great feedback from our Sippin’ Trip participants. It seems like everyone really enjoys their time on the tour and are blown away not only by the variety of the craft beverages in Brown County, but also the quality,” said Jane Ellis, executive director of the Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our new Sippin’ Trips and Strolls are a must-do when visiting Brown County. You’ll see how these places create their amazing products, learn some Brown County history and best of all, you’ll get to sample some of our wonderful locally produced libations.”
For more information on the tours, visit BrownCounty.com.