Indiana Wine Trail
thrive despite bad weather
will welcome fall visitors
with a collaborative initiative
(October 2012) Fall weather beckons travelers
to hit the road seeking beauty and adventure. When travelers wonder
which way to head, the Southern Indiana Wine Trail offers travelers
guidance to reaching some of the most beautiful scenery of southern
Indiana along with the adventure of discovering the fruits of a growing
by Brandilyn Worrell
examines his grape
crop at Madison
Steve Palmer, owner of Madison Vineyards Estate Winery,
welcomes travelers along the wine trail year-round. For those
just beginning to explore wines, the trail offers several options for
finding what they like. For the more sophisticated, they, too, experience
the quality of wines available along the trail. We offer wines to meet
the range of tastes.
The trail features six area wineries Ertel Cellars Winery
and Restaurant, Lanthier Winery, Madison Vineyards Estate Winery, Ridge
Winery Tasting Room, Stream Cliff Farm Winery, and Thomas Family Winery.
All are within 45 minutes of Madison. A brochure introduces prospective
customers to the varieties of wine available at each locale and how
to get there. Visitor and convention bureaus from Madison, Switzerland
County and Ripley County worked together to create and initially fund
the trail to benefit the six wineries. Now the wineries cooperatively
operate the trail updating brochures, creating cooperative events and
educating customers about the benefits of not only their own winery
but others on the trail.
Steve Thomas, owner of Thomas Family Winery with his wife, Elizabeth,
notes that wineries take on the distinct personality of their owners.
The beauty of the wine trail is that it introduces travelers to
the wide variety of experiences available within a fairly close proximity.
Someone sitting in Cincinnati planning a little weekend getaway typically
picks an individual business or location, limiting their exposure to
whats here. With the wine trail, now they have several destinations
each with its own experience. So each visit is special and the overall
experience is better.
For those new to the wine trail, pick up a brochure at any of the wineries
in town, the local Visitors Center or go online to www.Indiana
WineTrails.com. A map shows the locations of the wineries, and the brochure
describes what they have to offer with a history of each winery. Visitors
begin wherever they like by visiting each winery at their own pace.
Along the trail, wineries stamps visitors passport.
After visiting all six, the visitor receives a commemorative wine goblet
with the logo, date and names of the wineries. Furthermore, if visitors
complete a survey at the end of the trail, their name is entered into
a drawing to win a case of wine, which includes two bottles of their
choice from each of the wineries.
When asked if the trail has helped the wineries, Palmer enthusiastically
affirms its value. The first year we saw about a 15 percent increase
in business. I dont know figures now, but it seems like every
other customer is on the wine trail. Its been very beneficial.
The trail has been a boon to business, agrees Thomas. Whenever
you have several good wineries in one location, people have great experience
after great experience. That makes them want to come back and to tell
others. The trail puts together a grouping of wineries that draws people
The wineries also work together on a variety of special events Souper
Saturday in February, Spring into the Valley in April, Fall Haul in
November, and Nuveau Noelle in December. Each event features a unique
combination of wine and food to celebrate the season.
The upcoming Fall Haul on Nov. 3-4 focuses on the traditional fall theme
of bringing in the harvest. Wineries offer food that either goes with
or is made with their particular specialty wines.
The wineries with sweeter wines may offer a sweet bread made with
their wine. We focus more on table wines and serve stews to feature
our product, says Thomas. The purpose is to provide special
events that get customers into the various wineries to discover new
ways to enjoy what we offer.
When asked if the harsh summer weather had caused damage to grape harvests,
Palmer said, The real problem was the April frost. That killed
many of the early grapes. Grapes actually like drier weather. It concentrates
the juices. So the drought wasnt as big a deal as the extreme
heat. Still, we produced a bigger harvest than last year and have a
wide variety of wines as a result. We look forward to a good year.
Those looking to explore the world of wine for the first time or simply
find a new favorite need only pick up an Indiana Wine Trail Guide and
hit the road. Beautiful countryside and adventures in flavor await.
Back to October 2012