STARLIGHT — Many may not think of Indiana as wine country but venture a couple of hours south and you'll come across Huber Winery nestled in the hills along the Ohio River where grapes and peaches become award-winning wines.
'Peach Day' at Huber Winery is one of the most physically demanding and messiest days at the winery, but it's all worth it because the end product is a fine bottle of wine.
"Our peach wine has been a very crowd favorite over years and years," Ted Huber, the head winemaker of Huber Winery, said. "We've been doing this peach wine since the 1970s."
And the process hasn't changed — it all starts with the stomp.
"Don't use your back, don't arch your back because it's going to hurt," Leo Belliard, the assistant winemaker, said. "And lift your knees as high as they can go. It's a workout."
It's the only fruit that requires stomping at Huber Winery — releasing the juices from the peach and separating the pit from the fruit.
The machine Huber Winery uses is just as old as their recipe. "Literally no parts available anymore for this old 1972 press," Belliard said.
The sharp pits would damage the newer equipment, so they hang on to the older machine and pull it out only one day a year — Peach Day. The machine has to be run manually, and there's only one person that knows how to use it.
"'Peach pants' we call them, and literally they will go in the trash can," Huber said. "When I go home tonight we don't even worry about washing them after a day like today."
Huber is not only a sixth-generation Huber, but he is also the sole operator of the old press. He started working in the winery when he was a kid, and now he's working with his children.
Peaches are just one of many fruits grown on the 650-acre property in southern Indiana, where the hills and ridges reach around 1,000 feet in elevation.
The climate is a little different down there in southern Indiana — it warms up quicker in the spring and stays warmer in the fall, allowing for peaches and a wide variety of grapes to grow.
"You're actually seeing one of the original concord vineyards," Huber said. "So concord was my grandpa's, one of his tried and true grapes here. It grows so well down here in the south."
The Sweet Marcela grape — named after Huber's great grandmother — is the base for one of Huber's most famous wines. A nod to the history the family winery was built upon, and while peach wine may seem to require the most effort, the same care and passion is bottled into every Huber vintage you'll uncork.