I’ve visited wine trails in several areas of the United States and Canada but the most enjoyable for me is the Indiana Wine Trail in Southeast Indiana.
Nestled in the heartland with half of the wineries close to the Ohio River, the Indiana Wine Trail has always been welcoming to us. We’ve toured the complete trail of six locations three times and one of the wineries is on our to-do list every time we visit the area. Each of the wineries has different offerings as well as special events throughout the year.
A VIP Passport is available at no charge with a reward of a commemorative wine glass after visiting all six wineries.
The Ridge Winery Tasting Room – 10048 East Highway 156, Vevay, IN
The Ridge is our absolute favorite winery anywhere. The combination of award-winning wines, a terrific staff and the huge deck that overlooks the Ohio River keep us coming back for more.
Tastings are free for small groups but there is a charge of $3 per person for large groups. Our favorite everyday wine from the Ridge is the semi-dry Swiss Wine Festival but I am rather fond of the Black Jack which is a blend of blackberry and apple wines. The Ridge Winery Tasting Room is open seven days a week.
Thomas Family Winery – 208 East Second Street, Madison, IN
With an interior that reminds me of an old pub, an 1850s carriage house and stable is the home of Thomas Family Winery.
We are generally red wine drinkers and the Zinfandel at Thomas is bold and flavorful. A unique addition to the offerings here is Gale’s Hard Cider. Pressed from heirloom apples, this hard cider is barrel-aged with a crisp dryness.
Wine tasting is complementary and the Thomas Family Winery is open every day and does ship to some locations.
Lanthier Winery – 123 Mill Street, Madison, IN
This winery is the reason we always travel the Indiana Wine Trail late in the year. The Cellar Tasting Room is filled with decorated Christmas trees and one of the largest private collections of angels in the Midwest. Late November is also when Lanthier Winery releases its holiday wines including Rudolph Red, St. Nicholas Blush and Snowflake White.
Lanthier Winery is more than holiday wines – I can truly say there isn’t a single wine in their lineup that we don’t like. The dry Chardonel or Chambourcin, the semi-sweet Traminette or Chautauquablumchen or the sweet Mill Street Red or White can find a home in any wine cellar.
Lanthier Winery is open Wednesday through Sunday for complementary wine tasting except for large groups.
Madison Vineyards Estate Winery – 1456 East 400 North, Madison, IN
Just minutes outside of Madison is a beautiful vineyard surrounding a bed & breakfast. The selection at Madison Vineyards includes dry whites and reds and some very good sweet wines. For a dry, I like the Italian-style Ba!Da!Bing! Rosso. While I’m not overly fond of sweet wines, this vineyard produces Mystique made from their estate-grown Niagara grapes.
Free tastings are available Wednesday through Sunday.
Stream Cliff Farm Winery – 8225 South County Road 90 West, Comiskey, IN
Housed in what was once a blacksmith’s forge, the winery at Stream Cliff Herb Farm is only a small part of the visit. In addition to tasting great wines such as the Stream Cliff’s Rawhide Pinot Noir or Stream Cliff’s Hello Dolly Chardonnay visitors can tour the quilt-pattern gardens.
Proclaimed to be the oldest herb farm in Indiana, Stream Cliff’s roots run back to the early 1800s. There is also a tea room as well as several craft shops.
Stream Cliff Farm Winery is open Wednesday through Sunday from the end of March until December 31. Tastings are free.
Ertel Cellars Winery – 3794 East County Road 1100 North, Batesville, IN
While a bit of a distance from the other wineries on the Indiana Wine Trail, the drive in either direction is well worth it. Well maintained roads except for the last mile roll through farmland providing beautiful scenery.
The tasting bar at Ertel Cellars is actually in their bistro restaurant serving lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday as well as a Sunday brunch. Our favorites at the tasting bar have included the Chambourcin and the Vignoles. Always leave room at the end of your complementary tasting for the Raspberry wine. Served with chocolate in the tasting room, it’s the perfect bottle of wine – along with some chocolate – for a night of romance.
In our experience, traveling from and back to Central Ohio the best starting point for the Indiana Wine Trail is at the Ridge Winery and ending at Ertel Cellars. We usually make the trip a two-day affair. All of the official winery websites are available via IndyWine here.