Spencer Farm began as a fruit farm in 1982 with a strawberry patch. The farm expanded with other fruits and a market in 2008. Learn about our roots the addition of the 2019 winery below.
During the early 1980s in the heart of central Indiana, Kyle Spencer had two dreams. The recent Purdue University agriculture graduate hoped to marry and start a family with the love of his life Lori, and also develop a small business producing strawberries as a pick-your-own crop. Both dreams came true. Kyle married Lori and had a son and two daughters. The farm, Spencer’s U-Pick opened in 1982 with a strawberry patch, and over the years, the farm gradually added more crops. Asparagus, blueberries, red raspberries, and pumpkins provided a variety of pick-your-own crops spanning over several seasons. The strong support from the community allowed for the 2008 expansion, which included a market and gift shop. The farm matured rapidly over the next five years to the point that Kyle and Lori’s son Mark envisioned the farm becoming part of his future. (To learn more about Spencer Farm click here.)
The Roots of the Winery Vision
Prior to Mark joining the family business in 2014, he also graduated from Purdue University with a Business Management degree. Mark worked in Chicago developing commercial real estate and as a sales account manager in central Indiana. In his role as production manager at Spencer Farm, Mark began exploring other growth opportunities. Due to his love of viticulture and the art of wine-making, Mark proposed the idea of a winery.
The first step in the five-year process of developing wine was to discover how well grapes would grow in Indiana’s climate and soil. The decision was made to start with sweet grapes. Fresh, table grapes were planted in 2015 and would fit nicely as an expansion to Spencer Farm’s You-Pick operation. Mark worked closely with Purdue's Horticulture Department to learn the best practices of shaping vines and growing grapes. Once it was proven that grapevines could grow successfully, the Spencers agreed to invest in the expansion of the business. They planted a wine-grape vineyard in 2016 and acquired the 1883 (circa) farmhouse on the property to serve as the tasting room. Eleven varieties of wine-grapes were planted which include: Chambourcin, Marquette, Catawba, Traminette, Cayuga, Vidal Blanc, Vignoles, Seyval Blanc, Chardonel, Noiret, and Marechal Foch. Over the course of the next three years, the vineyards grew and matured. Renovation of the farmhouse began over the winter of 2018-2019.
After extensive research, trial and error, and advice from Purdue's Wine Grape Team, the first test batches of wine were created. With the tasting room construction complete in the summer of 2019, the Spencers proudly opened the farmhouse doors to a relaxed country experience.
Come escape the routine of everyday life, breathe easy and savor some new Spencer Farm wines.
Researching historical records from the Hamilton County, Indiana Courthouse, it was discovered that the oldest records cite John Crosley as owner of the land where Spencer Farm & Winery currently reside. Mr. Crosley was born in 1817. He married Susan Weaver on June 5, 1840 and had seven children by the year 1860. According to the census in 1860, John was a farmer, and in subsequent census' his occupation changed to plasterer. John transferred the property to his oldest son, William and his wife Elizabeth on April 29, 1901. In 1902 William and Elizabeth deeded .47 acre strip of land to the Indiana Railroad. The railroad was never developed on the property, instead the electrical company acquired the easement.
Fun Fact: In 1880, the 80 acre tract was valued at $2,100.00