Winery welcomes one-year anniversaryBy Emily Beckett Published 5:50pm Friday, June 15, 2012
One year ago Sunday, Bill and Janette Bailey opened Hidden Meadow Vineyard behind their house in Jemison and began sharing their homemade wines with the public.
In 12 months’ time, their business seems to have prospered as quickly as their four acres of grapes – about 1,000 plants.
Opening a winery, however, was not always in their plans.
“It was just a hobby at first,” Bill said. “I’ve been making homemade wine for several years. We started a vineyard in 2005 with no intentions other than our own use.”
Then, when the city of Jemison voted to go wet in 2009, Bill considered starting a wine business if he could obtain a permit to sell in the city limits.
He got his permit, and construction on the winery began in April 2010.
On June 17, 2011, the Baileys opened the gates of Hidden Meadow and began selling their homemade, hand-bottled white, red and blush wines.
The vineyard’s varieties include four muscadine wines, three fruit wines, a dryer red wine and a dryer white wine.
Next on the menu is a peach wine made exclusively with Chilton County peaches.
“We’re working on it,” Bill said of the new flavor that many have requested. “We just didn’t get around to it last summer. You have to pit every peach.”
The laborious process was too much to take on with the business’ grand opening, but this year’s peach wine should be bottled by Thanksgiving, Bill said.
“We try to have something for everybody,” he said. “[The business] just grows every month.”
Hidden Meadow is also becoming a popular venue for outdoor weddings, bridal showers, group meetings and other small, private events.
The store, with all its wine and wine accessories, and wrap-around porch, is perfect for sipping and sampling, not to mention the “party deck” in back, complete with tables for two and twinkle lights for evening events.
But what guests don’t see is the hard work the Baileys and their family members pour into each grape, each vine and each bottle.
“There is a lot to do,” Bill said, “But it’s pleasurable work. I put in far more hours, but I’m right here at home, so I don’t realize that. It’s just a fun job.”
Hidden Meadow is on the Alabama Wine Trail and is open every Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The vineyard will hold a one-year anniversary celebration and open house on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Hidden Meadow Vineyard is located at 664 County Road 606 in Jemison.
For more information, call (205) 688-4648.