By Katie MacDonell // Photography by Stacy Able
Sarah Shadday feels as if she gets the best of both worlds: She lives in an urban neighborhood near downtown Indy. But in her role as Mallow Run Winery’s marketing and wholesale coordinator, she heads to the picturesque countryside south of the city.
A self-named “people person,” Shadday fills her niche nicely. “I spend every day telling the story of Mallow Run and the brand and getting people to either enjoy it where they are or to come visit us and enjoy it there.”
For more than a decade, she has helped draw business to Mallow Run, a family farm with a history that dates to 1835. Throughout the years, it has grown to include 12 acres of vineyard, a full line of wines, a tasting room within a renovated 19th-century barn and a private event space called The Sycamore. Shadday shares with South more details about her experience working at this rustic, historic winery.
- What exactly is your role at Mallow Run Winery?
My whole goal with my position is to get our brand out there. I make sure that people know about Mallow Run, know about the things we’re doing, know about the wines that we’re making and just kind of reaching out into the community, whether that is through marketing our product in our events, or helping with the wholesale side of things and getting our product into people’s local stores and restaurants.
- How do you market and promote the brand?
I think one thing that’s really unique about the winery is its location and the story behind it as far as it being a family-owned farm. The owners of the winery — it’s the seventh generation that have been on that property. And it’s still a functioning farm (you know, corn, soybean, cattle), but then there’s just this really fun winery kind of tucked in there. We’re pretty accessible, but once you’re there it’s kind of a little escape and a little time to step back, unwind and just relax. We have our two main series of events, which is our picnic concert series in the summer and our winter warm-ups. Sprinkled in throughout the year, we like to offer fun classes like yoga or a cork-and-canvas, which is our take on a wine-and-canvas.
- What do you love about the Mallow Run property?
Even though we’re really not that far away from downtown Indy or the suburbs of Greenwood, I love that when you’re there you feel like you’re in your own little world. You can’t see anything else; there aren’t any businesses around or anything like that. You feel like you’re away from it all. I love the trees and that farm landscape that surrounds the winery. It’s just beautiful. And then, of course, the vineyards: We just have so much beautiful land that surrounds the winery. I get to bring my dog with me. It’s a really neat atmosphere.
- How have you seen Mallow Run change over the years?
It’s a completely different business from when I first hopped on board in 2008. It’s been really neat to see the business grow from this little barn that offers wine tastings and an event here and now, to full-blown concert series, thousands of people coming every weekend and people knowing our brand outside of our little community. I’ll go to the northside and people will talk about Mallow Run if they see me wearing my sweatshirt. “Oh, I love it!” Back 10 years ago, really nobody knew about us outside of our own community.
- What do you love about the work that you do?
The winery brings in people from all walks of life, from the fresh 21-year-old who wants to learn about wine, to the retirees who are enjoying their retirement, and we see them a couple times a week. We have so many amazing regular customers that I’ve gotten to know over the years and have learned more about them and their families. And then obviously the people I work with. We’ve built this amazing group of staff. We can’t do what we do without them.I love creating a space in our community where people come to celebrate or relax. It’s a big honor that we’ve been the location for some pretty big moments in people’s lives. I’ve seen people get engaged. I’ve seen people get married. I’ve seen people have baby showers. I’ve seen people renew vows, all sorts of things. Celebrating all their life moments. And the fact they chose the winery to do that, is always really humbling.