Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

MC Weekly

June 11, 2014

Converse's Oak Hill Winery opens tasting room across from Grissom

Converse's Oak Hill Winery opens tasting room across from Grissom

BUNKER HILL — Dwight and Susanne Fouts were on their way back to Kokomo from a shopping trip in Peru Friday, when they saw an unassuming sign reading “WINERY” along U.S. 31.

They were curious, so they pulled up and went inside.

“We stopped on a whim, and we’re glad we did,” Susanne said. “This place is great.”

What they discovered was a new wine tasting room opened just two weeks ago by Oak Hill Winery, based in Converse.

The building used to house a primitive antiques store, but you’d never know that now.

Wooden tables, plush carpets, subdued lighting and large paintings of vineyards welcome guests, as they step inside the building, which sits just across from Grissom Air Reserve Base. In the middle of it all is the wooden bar.

The area has now been transformed into a classy, cozy space where people can sip and sample locally made wines with names like Bunker Hill, Sweet Salamonie and Seven Pillars — all made by vintners Rick and Betty Jo Moulton, who created Oak Hill Winery in 2002.

The Fouts said they were impressed with the place. They liked the décor, and they especially like the wine. It was a great find, they said.

“We aren’t wine connoisseurs, but we ended up trying out five different kinds,” Susanne said with a laugh. “We really liked the Peru Peach.”

The tasting room may have just opened, but it’s been an idea Rick and Betty Jo have had in the back of their minds for the last four years.

State law allows wineries to have three satellite tasting areas, and Rick said they contemplated opening one in a high-traffic area like the lakes region in the northern part of the state.

But they decided against that.

“Since my wife and I are still both employed, plus owning the winery, we kind of came to the conclusion that we needed to find something within an hour’s drive,” he said.

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