The Rebound Indiana is a new initiative from WRTV to help you navigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are your source to find all of the information you need on the help that’s available and how to access those resources. We are focused on helping you find employment, make ends meet, manage the pressure of these unprecedented times, and ensure these programs work as promised. Visit WRTV.com/rebound for more information.
BARGERSVILLE — Mallow Run Winery rests along a quiet stretch of Whiteland Road in Bargersville. But on typical Saturday nights in the summer, the lawn is anything but quiet.
Mallow Run is known by guests and loyal customers across the county and state as a picnicker's paradise. Families can bring food, grab a bottle or cup of their favorite local wine, and sit back and relax as various artists perform concerts on the stage.
But this summer was anything but typical.
Marketing Director Sarah Shadday remembers March all too well, when the news of a government shutdown threatened their events on the vineyard.
"And just like any other small business, it was really scary," Shadday said.
Unfortunately for the family-owned business, their lack of a full kitchen on premises led Mallow Run to be classified in a category with the most restrictions.
"So we fell under the category of a bar or nightclub because we don't have an established restaurant here," Shadday said.
So the vineyard spanning several acres closed to guests because of that classification.
Events on the calendar were put on hold. Employees put their heads together to figure out their next steps over what would become months of closures.
Mallow Run decided to do a case sale on the first weekend of the shutdown. Customers could pre-order their cases of wine at a discounted price and drive-thru and pick it up with no contact.
Shadday says it was their way of saying thanks to their loyal supporters who have helped them get this far.
But the response blew her away.
Cars lined the long drive leading up to the winery and on some days even spilled out to Whiteland Road.
"It was kind of the hope that we needed to get through what would end up being the next several months of being closed," Shadday said.
Once Mallow Run could welcome guests again in the summer, the winery still couldn't hold their normal packed concerts and live music events.
They also had to end their popular free tastings at the bar due to the restrictions, but they came up with a creative to-go wine flight for guests to enjoy socially distanced on the property.
"We came up with this idea for a portable wine flight," Shadday said. "The customer can check off which four, we prepare the flight for them, and then the only rule is it has to be enjoyed while seated at a table but they can stay in here or go out on our deck."
The winery also requires masks when coming in for a purchase and they have sanitation practices in place to keep employees and customers safe.
The struggles facing Mallow Run to maintain business during this pandemic is not unique to wine producers.
Many producers and farmers were forced to quickly adapt to changes in restrictions and consumer habits when COVID-19 came to our state.
The state also helped to advocate and provide guidance to local growers during this trying time.
"So Indiana Grown is a program of the State Department of Agriculture and our whole goal is to market promote and elevate all forms of local Ag," said Heather Tallman, program director for Indiana Grown."So that is hog farmers, traditional row crops, value-added products like BBQ sauce, and even wine because wine is agriculture as well."
Tallman said business owners had to adapt quickly and think outside the box when looking for ways to get their products to consumers.
And while the pandemic was difficult on Indiana Grown members, trying new things helped some members discover new avenues for revenue that they plan to continue even after this pandemic.
"A lot of our members have new business that they never would've had before and hopefully we will retain that business in the future," Tallman said.
One of the most popular parts of Indiana Grown's website is its wine trail through the state.
As the state reopens and Hoosiers look for safe, socially-distant activities this fall, there are several options to enjoy local wine across our state.
You can find the wine trail here.
Mallow Run is also getting into their cooler months and making plans for the winter.
You can stay up to date on their upcoming events here.
The winery is open every day between noon and 6 p.m.