A growing Indianapolis winery is celebrating a multi-million-dollar expansion and a major production milestone. Easley Winery, which was founded in 1974, this week surpassed 200,000 gallons of wine produced in a calendar year for the first time. The winery has also invested $2 million to double production capacity with a new, fully-automated bottling line. Co-owner Meredith Easley says Indianapolis has been a great place to find the "very nimble, curious, creative people" the winery needs.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Easley showed off some of the new equipment that is part of the recent expansion. She says the upgrades allow the winery to auto-fill 1.5-liter bottles in high volume. Easley’s Reggae wines are available in stores in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia and New York.
Although she still considers the company a boutique winery, Easley says "we are in the top four percent of wineries in the entire country based on the amount of wine we make and sell." The second-generation, family-owned winery has 12 full-time and 28-part-time workers.
Easley says, since the winery has been around for more than 40 years, it has been able to be "clever and crafty" to expand. She says Easley was able to acquire enough land downtown early enough, before it got too expensive, that the winery will be able to expand in the future and maintain its location. The company says doubling sales over each of the last five years made the expansion necessary.