Richard Vine, an associate professor and wine specialist in the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service, said the number of entries has increased each of the last five years, up from 1,232 wines last year and from only 484 entries in 1991.
Vine said the contest, dubbed the "Indy International" in wine circles, attracts commercial wines from 14 nations and 22 states including Indiana and California, France and Chile. Three-quarters of the entries are commercial, but, true to the contest's roots, the remainder are submitted by Indiana amateurs.
The judges are wine professionals -- wine writers, marketers and makers -- and they will be evaluating the tens of thousands of dollars worth of wines competing for gold medals and a coveted Best of Show trophy from American Airlines. The sponsorship is no accident, as Vine also chooses the airline's wine list for international and domestic flights.
Hoosiers may be surprised to learn that Vevay, Ind., was the site of one of the first commercial wineries in the United States and was known as the "Little Rhineland" in the early 1800s for its large vineyards. Indiana winemaking suffered a severe setback during Prohibition, according to Vine, but has been in resurgence the past few years with almost two dozen wineries now in operation.
Winners will be announced Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Taste of Indiana and Wine Tasting Party at the State Fairgrounds Farm Bureau Building. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased for $5 at the door, or in advance at all TicketMaster outlets and at the Indiana State Fair Box Office.
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