The Ridge Winery earns three medals at Indy Wine Competition


The annual Indy International Wine Competition recently wrapped up, and Switzerland County’s Tom Demaree and The Ridge Winery earned three medals in the competition out of more than 3,000 entries.

The Ridge Winery earned Silver Medals for its ‘Black Jack’ wine in the Fruit Blends Class; and also for its ‘Swiss Wine Festival’ wine, which is a Syrah in the Syrah Class.

This is the second year in a row that ‘Black Jack’ has earned a Silver Medal.

The local winery also earned a Bronze Medal in the Niagara Class for its ‘Sweet Harvest’.

During its time competing in the Indy International Wine Competition; The Ridge Winery has earned a total of 27 medals, including being chosen as “Best of Class” two times – in 2003 for its ‘Country Red’; and again in 2006 for its ‘Country Rose’.

The Indy International Wine Competition is the largest scientifically organized and independent wine competition in the United States, the world’s largest wine market. More than 3,000 commercial entries from 15 countries and 40 US states were evaluated by a panel of 52 judges.

The competition is broken down into three categories: Commercial Wines; Indiana Commercial Wines; and Amateur Wines. The Ridge Winery and Tom Demaree participated in the Indiana Commercial Wine competition, although his wines were also judged against all others at the event.

This is the 11th year that Tom Demaree and The Ridge Winery have entered the Indy International Wine Competition.

This is the 16th year that he has been making wine at The Ridge.

“For the festival wine, I normally make a real dry wine for that,” Tom Demaree said of his Silver Medal winner. “It keeps better, and a lot of people like to put it up and not use it.”

As his wines continue to draw accolades from panels of international judges; Tom Demaree prefers to be back here in Switzerland County, bottling his 15 different varieties and selling to local and regional customers.

He will also be at his customary position in the back of the Wine Pavilion at this weekend’s Swiss Wine Festival. There, hundreds of people will taste and sample and purchase his wines.

“I always take the position in the back of the booth,” Tom Demaree said. “One year somebody didn’t want to be in the back, and told them ‘I’ll go in the back’. I really think that we lose some sales because people mill through there in a horseshoe fashion, and even though they like something, they don’t want to fight the crowd to come back.”

Tom Demaree says that he always tells people who are interested in his wines to simply come to the wine pavilion or to the tasting room on Highway 156 and taste it for themselves.

“That way you know what you like,” he says. “Just because it’s an award-winning wine, you may not be happy with it. The ‘Black Jack’, for many years I never won anything, but it was my best seller. I don’t like to recommend wine to anybody, because everybody’s different.”