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Frontier Communications welcomes each Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce new member.

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Members of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce can raise a glass to the Chamber’s newest member; TJ Haase Winery in Clinton, Ind.

The winery, opened on November 8, 2014 is owned and operated by Clinton residents, Doug and Cathy Haase.

No strangers to wine, the couple stumbled upon the idea to open a winery during a wine tour in New York.

“I don’t know if it was the wine talking or not but I said, I want to be on the other side of the bar serving one of these days when I retire,” Doug explains of his idea.

The idea sounded like a good one to Cathy too, but it wasn’t until they returned to Clinton that the conversation continued.

“We come back from the trip and she said, ‘Why don’t we see about building a winery?’ I thought she had fell and bumped her head,” Doug says with a laugh. “Once I knew she was okay I thought she may be on to something.”

It wasn’t a bump on the head or too much wine that had the couple thinking about opening their own business. Doug and Cathy say the idea came from their love of wine and desire to create something they could do together once retired.

But until retirement Doug and Cathy continue working in their “real jobs” and at the winery too. They work as a team, but each has a specific role; Cathy is “front of house” and Doug works “back of house”.

In the past Doug made and bottled wine as a hobby for friends and family. Now batches of red and whites, fruity and dry fill the 1,100 square foot winery’s back room along with multiple barrels, tubing and an extra-large dry erase board with batch notations.

The process of making the wine is almost completely local down to the grapes. Doug and Cathy purchase grapes from a small vineyard in Cayuga, Ind. Fruit juices like apple cider is bought from Ditzler’s Orchard in Rosedale, Ind.

Doug and Cathy’s passion for their business goes well beyond a glass of wine. The name of the business, TJ Haase Winery, is a tribute to Doug’s son Tyler Jacob, who passed away in 2010 at just 20 years old.

“We decided to name the winery just to keep his name alive and his memory alive and I’m sure Cathy too, but to give me some drive to make this thing successful,” Doug says.

Paying tribute to family makes the winery’s success somewhat bittersweet, Doug says.  Both Doug and Cathy are quiet for a moment after talking about their late family members. It’s Doug that breaks the silence, showcasing his larger than life personality. He instantly brings the room from tears of sadness to tears of laughter.

“I hope that (Tyler) is proud that we are doing this… I absolutely wish he was here. Although, if he was here I don’t know if it would be named TJ Haase Winery or not,” Doug says laughing. “He may have twisted my arm enough to make it that but I don’t know.”

What Doug and Cathy do know is how to make everyone feel welcome at the winery. Traditionally wineries are reserved for people 21 and over, TJ Haase Winery is open to everyone, families and children included.  Visitors are invited to bring snacks and food, Cathy says from time to time patrons have even ordered pizza. Bands play on the weekends, bringing people to their feet to dance and sing, often times with a glass of wine in their hand.

To learn more about TJ Haase Winery click here!

Read more about TJ Haase in the June/July issue of Terre Haute Living Magazine!!

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