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INDY International Wine Competition Draws Global Attention

The Purdue Wine Grape Team will host the 28th annual INDY International Wine Competition on May 22-23 in the Purdue Memorial Union ballrooms.

There, amidt thousands of wine bottles lining banquet tables, judges in white lab coats will study the taste and aroma of wines produced everywhere from Veneto, Italy, to Borden, Indiana.

Launched in 1991 by Richard Vine, professor emeritus of food science, the competition had just over 450 entries its first year. Now INDY International is the largest independently organized wine competition in the country, drawing nearly 2,000 entries, both commercial and amateur, from 14 countries and 40 states.

“It’s unique to have a competition based at a university,” said Jill Blume, executive director of INDY International, Purdue enology specialist, and member of the Purdue Wine Grape Team, which is made up of faculty and staff from the departments of Food Science and Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. 

“Although there has been an increase in wine competitions over the last 15 years, particularly for charity auctions, we have stayed independent. We concentrate on judging and promoting quality wines, not gaining revenue,” Blume said.  

Representing voices from throughout the industry, judges at INDY include scientists, winemakers, grape growers, chefs, distributors, writers, retailers, and even consumers. This mixture makes the event an ideal testing ground for experimentation and an opportunity to receive professional feedback from leading wine experts.

“It’s a great opportunity for new wineries due to the diversity of our judges, their knowledge, and openness to new varieties and wine styles,” Blume said.

Wines can receive one of four distinctions: bronze, silver, gold and double gold, with the winners in each class competing for trophies. The Indiana wine industry wins regardless, as INDY International promotes it on a global scale. Since the competition’s inception, the industry has grown to over 100 wineries producing 2 million gallons of wine per year.

Despite their substantial economic impact, Blume reminds us, “Grape growers and winemakers are just people doing what they love.”

The deadline for entries is May 10. For more information, or to sign up for the competition, go to

Judges taste wine at INDY International 2018 Judges taste wine at INDY International 2018

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