Vineyard opens in JemisonBy Staff Reports Published 2:14pm Friday, July 1, 2011
With a name that aptly describes its location, Hidden Meadow Vineyard and Winery has opened for business in Jemison.
Bill and Janette Bailey’s family owned and operated winery has been in the making for several years.
The Chilton County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting June 17 to celebrate the vineyard’s grand opening.
“Six years ago a friend gave me some homemade wine he made, and I got interested and that’s how it all started,” Bill Bailey said.
The first grape vine was planted in 2005 and is still producing. More plants were added up through last year across the vineyard’s four acres at 664 County Road 606.
Wine sold at Hidden Meadow is crafted on site from the vineyard’s fruit, which includes Muscadine (Noble, Carlos and Magnolia), Concord, Niagara and Cynthiana grapes.
The Baileys’ children, grandchildren, friends and family help with the planting and the wine bottling process.
“It takes about six to eight people to help with the bottling,” Janette Bailey said. “We call it the bottling line; it’s like an assembly line.”
In addition to the vineyard, the winery includes a family-built wine selling and tasting house with a processing room behind it.
To begin selling the wine, the Baileys first had to obtain a federal permit after they were annexed into Jemison city limits. After that, they needed state and city licenses, as well as a permit with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
“Our first sale was a month ago,” Bill said. “When Jemison started to go wet, that’s when we decided to be annexed, and the mayor [Eddie Reed] has been a tremendous help. He is pro-new business for Jemison.”
For now, Hidden Meadow’s wine will only be available on site.
“Because we’re (regulated as a) small farm winery, we are only allowed to sell within 200 feet of the production room,” Bill said. “And the state’s ABC regulations say we have to go through a distribution company, and big distributors do not want small producers because we don’t produce enough to sell to make (them) enough money.”
In addition to buying bottled wine, visitors can sit out on the winery’s wooden porch overlooking the vineyard and have a glass of wine. The Baileys are also ready to handle events such as weddings, anniversaries, parties, teas and other special occasions.
“We’re ready to accommodate,” said Janette. “We will also host small weddings and other events in the future.”
Wine available at Hidden Meadow Vineyard includes the following 10 varieties, all of which retail from $12 to $18 per bottle:
•Autumn Evening Blush, blend of Noble and Carlos grapes, $13.
•Blackberry, made of fresh fruit from the farm, $13.
•Blueberry, made of fresh fruit from the farm, $13.
•Concord, sweet red, full of flavor, $12.
•Niagara, sweet white, full of flavor, $12.
•Norton, dry, full-bodied red, aged in oak, $18.
•Riesling, flavorful semi-dry white, $12
•Scuppernong, sweet old fashion muscadine white wine, $13.
•Smith Ridge Red, full of flavor from the Noble grape, $13.
•Smith Ridge White, full of flavor from Carlos and Magnolia grapes, $13.
The Baileys hope their business continues to grow and take root in the community.
“The key to this is to never quit planting,” said Janette.
The winery is open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For questions or more information, call 688-4648 or visit their website at www.hiddenmeadowvineyard.com.