Celebrating a Milestone
Madison’s Lanthier Winery
to mark 25th anniversary
Hagemier, Lanthier create, sell award-winning wines
(September 2019) – Madison, Ind.’s oldest winery will turn 25 in September. It started as one of only 13 wineries in the state. It is listed in Midwest Travel’s “2018 Best of the Midwest.” It is a top 10 destination in Trip Advisor. It is among the top 10 winery destinations in the state of Indiana and the only winery to receive the Hoosier Hospitality Award. Their wines have been the top medal-winners in southeast Indiana.
Photo by Don Ward
Lanthier Winery offers wine tastings and an arts and crafts “Harvest Celebration” each September.
That winery is Madison’s own Lanthier Winery at 123 Mill St.
Tawana Thomas, executive director of VisitMadison Inc., noted, “When a small business in a small town can sustain itself over 25 years, that’s something really special.”
Thomas continued, “Lanthier Winery;’s owners have immersed themselves in this community and have been a real destination for visitors far and wide. From their award-winning wines, special events, gardens and more – they’ve proved that always staying fresh in today’s destination marketing is at the top of their list. It’s with great pleasure and congratulations that myself and the VisitMadison team celebrate Lanthier Winery on their 25th year in business.”
Tami Hagemier, CEO of Lanthier Winery and a Columbus, Ind., native, invited everyone to attend the Lanthier Winery 25th Anniversary Celebration during the winery’s free Harvest Festival, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29. The action-packed weekend will include self-guided tours of the impressive gardens and art galleries.
“Come early for the popular biscuits and gravy breakfast,” she advised. However, be sure to save room for deep fried biscuits and apple butter, gourmet sausages and dogs, plus the very special Harvest Sangria that is only available during the festival. Ten new local artists from Madison, Charlestown and Vevay will be featured, she said. Only 1,000 bottles of a limited edition 25th anniversary wine will be available. “When its gone, its gone,” she said.
Hagemier, together with her husband, Chris Lanthier, a Detroit native, have made Madison their home for the past 30 years. Owning a winery was Lanthier’s dream. They were drawn to the possibilities in a dilapidated stone building in Madison. It reminded them of the wineries they had visited in Europe.
The entrance to the building steps down into the stone-walled interior. However, it was the worst property in Madison. It was covered in scrap metal, paper, cardboard, junk and old cars. Furthermore, it was located on the flood plain.
But they weren’t worried. The newlyweds were optimistic. They worked for two years to stabilize and clear out the building. They worked on the property for five years before their grand opening in 1994.
Lanthier Winery is owned and operated by Tami Hagemier and Chris Lanthier.
“It seems like it was just yesterday,” Hagemier said. “The days pass slowly, but the years fly by.”
Reflecting on their experiences and this 25th anniversary milestone, Hagemier said, “We are so grateful that the community has been so supportive to Chris and me, and to the winery. Everyone has been so wonderful to us. It makes us work very hard to give back to the community. We’re just very, very grateful.”
In these 25 years, they have survived three floods. The worst one occurred in 1997. After a customer warned them of the impending wall of water, they quickly moved all of their inventory. But nothing could have prepared them for sight of layers of cold mud and the damage left behind. To their amazement, many people came to their aid during the months of cleanup before they could re-open.
“We’re not even from here, but everyone treated us like we had always lived here.”
Lanthier serves as the cellarmaster, creating the wines in the production room at the winery. He has traveled extensively, tasting wine and continuing to perfect the art of winemaking. Now he serves as a consultant to other people following their own winery dreams.
Today, Lanthier winery is among the top 10 out of more than 120 wineries in Indiana. Lanthier recognized the impact of their staff and supporters, saying, “Thanks to all those who helped and supported us along the way.”
Once the winery was up and running, it took another five years to develop the gardens.
First, they offered their property as a place for the City of Madison to dump yard waste. “We were the compost site for four years’ worth of grass and leaves,” Hagemier said.
All of that organic material created the base for the extensive French country gardens that surround the winery today. Hagemier, a Master Gardener, has always loved gardening. She describes her team as a “family,” Together, they work tirelessly to enhance and maintain the impressive plantings. She has already ordered special “silver” tulips to welcome spring in Madison with a unique silver anniversary flower show. The gardens also include an outside Garden of Art.
Displays include a variety of media: paintings, iron work, glass work and sculptures. It is not just a showplace of plants. It is also a sanctuary for critters of all types. Currently, a doe and two fawns can be seen roaming the grounds. Of course, that wasn’t really appreciated last spring when the doe munched her way through a bed of beautiful tulips.
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