“People don’t come here just to sip wine, they also come for the experience,” says Eric Harris, the owner of TWO-EE’s Winery and a winemaker himself.
He and his wife, Emily, started the business in 2013, the same year that Emily was crowned Miss Indiana USA.
Coming up with the winery’s name may not have been complicated — they simply combined their first name initials. Coming up with the plans to create a one-of-a-kind venue that offers people a wide selection of wines and an unforgettable experience, required a lot of thought, creativity and research.
“At the time, there was a void in this area for a winery,” says Harris. “It just made a lot of sense to start it here. Emily was finishing college to earn a degree in interior design, and designing our venue was the focus of her final project in school. It’s a unique and airy layout that’s both comfortable and sophisticated. There really isn’t anything else like this anywhere in this area and we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Located off Highway 24 just west of Roanoke, TWO-EE’S is an escape from the chaos of everyday schedules and obligations and a chance to relax in the stylish tasting room while watching staff members make the wine in a workroom that’s visible through glass. Outside is a 40 foot by 80 foot patio that is covered and can be enclosed and heated during cold weather.
“We have 44 acres of land here and a lot of it is heavily wooded. We also have trails throughout, so twice a year we have a 5K run. We hold charity events here as well as financial planning seminars and office parties. It’s such a unique space and you can rent it out after hours and make it your own.”
Harris is no stranger to wine. He and his father-in-law spent years making wine in his father-in-law’s basement.
“We joke about it now, but it went from being a hobby to an obsession and we got to the point where we were making just under the legal limit allowable for home wine making. It just made sense for us to take our passion for wine to the next level. Because of the volume of wine we were already making, that put us in touch with companies that supply to commercial winemakers. Getting started and getting access to the supplies we needed wasn’t all that challenging.”
With the fifth anniversary of Two-EE’s opening coming up next year, Harris says they already need more space to accommodate the huge demand for both their product and their venue.
“We’re looking to expand our outdoor patio and put a deck over the top and enclosing it with overhead sectional doors. The outbuilding we’re looking to construct will be very similar in design to what we already have. We’re forced to grow our space so we can use it for both production and event space.”
With wine at the heart of their business, picking out the best grapes possible is of utmost importance to Harris and his staff.
“Just like there are all different kinds of apples: red delicious, granny smith, yellow delicious – the same is true of grapes. We grow some of our grapes here on the property, but we also have established relationships with growers nearby and in other states to supply us with varieties that are more conducive to their climate. Our most popular wine is called Plonqé (pronounced “plonk”). It’s a red wine and while it may not be gracing the cover of ‘Wine Spectator,’ it’s a wine that has a massive appeal locally and we’re very proud of the awards we’ve won with Plonqé.”
Harris credits his family members and staff for bringing his vision to fruition and for helping it to continue to grow.
“Emily played a huge role in making this happen and she worked here every day until our son, Beau, was born 14 months ago. Her father, and my sister and her husband, are all incredibly talented and dedicated to their work here. The people who work behind the bar are some of the most pleasant, happy and outgoing people I’ve ever met and I am constantly amazed by the creativity and strong work ethic from our production staff and event management. We’re blessed to have a team like that. Together, we’ve created a culture here that people can identify with as a community. It goes far beyond us simply selling a product.”
The team’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Not long after opening, it started receiving awards.
“Most recently, we were awarded Best Tasting Room in the nation by USA Today®. We were the only winery in the Midwest to be recognized and we were competing against more than a dozen wineries from the West Coast area.”
TWO-EE’s is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter. Its busiest season is during the warm weather months when it has music nights called “Uncorked,” fireworks shows that are choreographed to music and lights and on weekends, it has food trucks on site.
“When I was growing up here in Fort Wayne, I used to always hear people say there was nothing to do around here. At TWO-EE’s, there is always something going on and we feel strongly about the footprint that we’re leaving in our community.”
Address: 6808 U.S. 24 Huntington, Indiana 46750
Phone: (260) 672-2000