8th generation Hoosier farm uncorks sweet success with Mallow Run Winery

Jul 26th, 2022

The roots of Mallow Run Winery date back to 1835, less than 19 years after Indiana was granted statehood. George Mallow bought 600 acres for a farm just a few miles south of the fledgling city of Indianapolis.

Today, those same 600 acres remain in the family and still grow Hoosier crops. But a portion of the land—including George’s original barn(!) which is pictured below—has turned into fields of grapes and a winery. By partnering with Market Wagon, Mallow Run connects with customers across Central Indiana with an ease that is far removed from the time of the horse and buggy.

The first grapes were planted in the year 2000 by John Richardson, George Mallow’s great-great-great-great-grandson. John was born in a farmhouse on the property, had recently retired and was looking to diversify the farm’s output.

But things really took off in the next couple years as John waited for the grapes to mature into a usable vintage. John’s son Bill Richardson (8th generation) returned from Purdue University and discovered he had quite a gift for winemaking, blending varietals of grapes for the perfect taste.

At the same time, there was a massive effort to redo George Mallow’s original barn, making for a perfect location for the tasting room at Mallow Run. Much of the original timber that George used 187 years ago is still visible today. In fact, it’s such a pretty location, it’s where Bill married Laura, another Purdue graduate, in 2005, just two months before the winery opened.

Mallow Run Winery opened for business almost 17 years ago, on Labor Day 2005. There are now 12 acres of grapes carved out from George’s original 600 acres.

More than 20 wines and hard ciders are offered for sale at any given time. The winery makes all its own wine onsite, though most of the grapes must be grown elsewhere because grapes like cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay do not flourish in the Hoosier climate.

While Hannah Graphman (see picture below) serves as the general manager of the winery—owners John, Bill and Laura Richardson are still very involved and visible around Mallow Run. And almost every wine is still bottled by hand in a five-person assembly line (only the carbonated wines have to be bottled elsewhere).

Hannah is excited to team up with Market Wagon and reach a much larger pool of potential customer who want to support a local winery but may not be able to easily make the trip to Bargersville in Johnson County.

“One of the most important things about shopping local is that you are support local family-run businesses,” Hannah said. “People are amazed because they see John, Bill and Laura here every single weekend, especially during our summerlong picnic concert series.”

Market Wagon is proud to partner with Mallow Run as part of a pilot program in Central Indiana because the winery is a family-owned operation and small business, just like the other food producers on the platform. Market Wagon is interested in elevating the profile of local family-run wineries like Mallow Run because Market Wagon’s mission is to enable food producers to thrive in their local market.

Meanwhile, Hannah is thrilled about Market Wagon’s digital platform. It’s very easy to use and has resulted in a seamless experience for the winery to begin utilizing a new revenue stream.

“There’s still a lot of people who have never heard of Bargersville or never heard of us,” she said. “Market Wagon is the perfect place to easily get our name out there.”

Complementary wine tastings are still available at Mallow Run every day between 12 and 6 p.m. Hannah encourages people to stop by so they can better discover what wine they truly like, rather than having to pick out a bottle based exclusively on the look of the label.

Mallow Run Winery offers almost a dozen different wines on Market Wagon. The bestselling wine is the Rhubarb wine. It’s a sweet wine with a unique tart zing that is best paired with salads and cheeses.

Hannah’s personal favorite is the Estate White. The flavor has a hint of oak which pairs perfectly with fall favorites like chili or creamy chicken pot pie thanks to the blend of Swenson White, Vignole, Traminette (Indiana’s signature grape), and Chardonel.

The Sparkling Catawba is a bestseller in the tasting room. The tiny bubbles make for a perfect wine for any celebration. The flavor has notes of watermelon and hard candy.

Last, but certainly not least, customers can try a 4-pack of Mallow Run hard cider which comes from apples grown at nearby Adrian Orchards—itself a 3rd generation farm operating since 1925. The winery uses the same small-batch methods to create the hard cider, with no flavors or colors added during the fermenting process.