Estate Winery - Bed & Breakfast
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Sweet Maya Reilly Palmer (age one) helping in
the planting of the
first Syrah(shiraz) vines in
Indiana.
 They grow so fast, and so do the
vines.
"A man who could sit
under the shade of
his
own vine with his
wife
and his children
about
him and the
ripe clusters
hanging within their
reach in such a
climate
as this and
not feel the
highest
enjoyment, is

incapable of
happiness."
- James Busby
After a two-year search for the perfect
conditions to establish their vineyard, Steve, Sandy
and Michael Palmer selected a hillside site four
miles north of the Ohio River and the historic town
of Madison, Indiana. The soils were right: well
drained and sloping gently to the south. The
climate was right: moderate winters and a long,
warm growing season. And in 1995 they planted
their first vines. Today American, French Hybrid,
and classic European Vinifera varieties greet
visitors from around the world to MADISON
Vineyards.
Our Vineyards
There's no secret.  Great wine begins in the vineyard.
It's Spring time. A small Cabernet Sauvignon
grape vine in early June.
 The Cabernet vines
took off in June
and July and were cut back to
two
shoots at least four feet tall. A great start.
May is a time for early shoot growth.  This is a
early spring photo of our 7-year old Seyval Blanc
vines just after
flowering.
After a wet spring in 2000 all is green. These are
our lush Cayuga
White vines which were
planted in 1997.  They prodcue lovely, large
clusters of grapes which are used to
produce our
Kleineweiss and, French
cousin, Petite Blanc.
Early July in the vineyards. A time of pruning,
weeding, positioning &
sweating. After a wet
spring the
vines really take off and if not
controlled daily can run away from
you. Leading
to dense canopies and
shaded fruit. Michael
Palmer, seen
here, tying up and spreading the
vine
out for optimal sun & air exposure.
November is a time of racking and blending.
Here is Steve Palmer
testing the newest vintage
of estate
wines.
Winters in the Ohio River Valley rarely produce
much lasting snow, so
I had to take this picture
quickly
.  A view from the front of the Seyval
Blanc vineyard, with the Winery in
the distance.
All the leaves have
fallen and the grape vines
hang
dormant, waiting to be pruned in February.
In the north eastern United States there are three principle grape families
used in the production of wine: Vitis Labrusca, also know as the "fox"
grapes; Vitis Vinifera; and the French/American/German Hybrids. At
Madison Vineyards we grow all three groups. The majority of our vines
and wines are French Hybrids: Seyval Blanc, Vidal, Marechal Foch,
Vignoles, and Rougeon. We have one American Hybrid: Cayuga White,
and one Native American Labrusca: Niagara. In April of 2000 we
planted our first Vinifera, the classic European Bordeaux varieties. This
year we planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The
following spring we added Cabernet Franc and another section of
Cabernet Sauvignon. Why Vinifera? They are difficult to grow, don't
produce large crops, and can easily be killed during a severe winter. The
answer is simple: Great grapes make great wine. And those particular
varieties make some of the greatest red wines in the world. We plan to
make two wines from our Vinifera. One will be labeled Cabernet Franc
and will be a blend dominated by Cabernet Franc, but with a bit of Merlot
and Petit Verdot thrown in to add more dimension. The other wine will be
a Meritage (rhyming with "Heritage"). Meritage is a rather recent term
used for both red and white wines, which are blends of the classic
Bordeaux grapes. For a white Meritage the blend would be of Sauvignon
Blanc and Semillon. For a red Meritage the blend would be….well, what
we we've planted. Our Meritage (tentatively named "Montage"), will
blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
"Montage" will be the top of the line, our ultra-premium wine. For those
of you who want a bit more detail, the planting consisted of the following
varieties, clones and rootstocks. Cabernet Sauvignon, clone 337, on 3309
rootstock. Merlot, clone 181, on 3309 Petit Verdot, clone 2, on Riparia
Gloire. The next year we added: Cabernet Franc, clone 327, on 101-14
Cabernet Sauvignon, clone 191, on 101-14 and Syrah 174/ 101-14.