Anyone who has followed this blogsite will be aware of the struggles our local wineries have had getting the kind of recognition they deserve. Only recently, the Uplands Wine Area has been designated as an AVA, or American Viticultural Area.
And yet, America’s first commercially successful vineyard is not so far away, in Vevay, Indiana. Having spent some lovely summers in Vevay, Switzerland, I can easily understand why the Swiss settlers of Southern Indiana were anxious to get vineyards started in their new homeland.
Vineyards climb every hillside around the original Vevay. Situated next to Lake Geneva, with stunning views of surrounding mountains, and of Evian, France on the opposite shoreline, this is a dreamlike town–one I can’t wait to return to.
I have recently been reading the wonderful “Indiana Wine: A History,” by James and John Butler (of Butler Winery fame!) This book tells the incredible story of Indiana wines and the heros of the industry. It is full of anecdotes, including this report from John James Dufour written in 1800 about Vevay, Indiana vineyards:
“I can assert that during the 20 years which I spent in the cultivation of the Vine in Switzerland, I never saw it vegetate so rapidly as it has done here, and that in no instance did I ever gather fruit within 18 months after planting the Vine, as (with the blessing of providence) I shall do this autumn, and that I never planted scions taken from the stocks only eight months old, as I have done this spring.”
I highly recommend the Butler’s book for anyone interested in Indiana wines. And I also highly recommend a trip to Vevay Switzerland, just to verify my description of it–someone needs to make sure my account of it is accurate!!!
One important note: although the spelling is the same, the pronunciation is quite different. The Swiss say VēVAY, the Hoosiers say vē-vē!