5 Reasons You Need to Visit the Thomas Family Winery

nightlifeThe Thomas Family Winery is less than a half hour away from Schenck Mansion, making it an ideal item on your itinerary. This Southeast Indiana winery in Madison is known for its draft cider and live traditional music on Saturday nights as well as complimentary wine tastings, cellar tours, and old-fashioned board games. With a rich history from a livery stable and blacksmith shop to its current state, the Thomas Family Winery has an enticing atmosphere along with delicious hand-crafted drinks and lively entertainment.

5 Reasons to Visit the Thomas Family Winery


The Thomas Family Winery was built in the mid-1850s as the Garlinghouse Livery Stable and Blacksmith Shop. It was a 3-story building in one of the oldest sections of Madison, and the owner patented farm equipment such as the mower, rake and loader, grader, and ditcher. After the horses left, the building housed transportation businesses like car garages, bus stations, and boat dealerships. Then, in 1995, the building was purchased by Steve and Elizabeth Thomas, and turned into the Thomas Family Winery. The historic structure was renovated, though the old world atmosphere was maintained.


Gale’s Hard Cider is the specialty of the Thomas Family Winery. This traditionally made, barrel-conditioned, strong dry cider was inspired by Grandfather Gale Thomas, who began making cider in his youth during Prohibition. He made this cider in barrels from craggy old cider apples, and the tradition has passed to the third generation of the family. Craggy old cider apples still grow in the Midwest and are harvested and artfully blended before being ground and pressed. The resulting cider is then placed in old barrels, fermented and aged, and finally crafting a tangy, dry cider.

Live Music

The winery is a great supporter of the arts, and features art exhibitions as well as live music. One great reason to come to the Thomas Family Winery is the live music on Saturday nights, where you will hear some tunes around 8 pm lasting well into the evening. The Thomas Family Winery books bands that play traditional music such as Celtic, Bluegrass, Mountain Folk, and Americana. With those genres, it is sure to be a lively time, and drinks and music do go together quite nicely!

Board Games

One great, fun option available at the Thomas Family Winery is the selection of old-fashioned board games. Select from two-player to multi-player and gather everyone around for some great laughs alongside some glasses of wine. You’ll find your competitive side fast, and no matter what the outcome is, you will be sure to have a wonderful time with friends while on vacation in Indiana!

The Wine

“God made Zinfandel to be red, and taste like barbed wire and pepper; humans made it pink and sweet. That pretty much sums it up!!” That is one of the Thomas Family Winery’s mottos, and they sure do make some sweet, delicious wines. While Gale’s Hard Cider is a tried and true favorite, the other selections include Gale’s Michigan Cherry Scrumpy, Niagara 2014, Rio Red 2014, and the Native American Blush. Prepare for some incredible flavors!

The cherry scrumpy is open-fermented with a mix of sweet and tart cherries with flavors that include earthy yeast, rich cherries, blossom and spice. This one pairs well with strong cheeses and breads. The Niagara 2014 has flowery fragrances of white grapes, peaches, apples, and citrus, with a long finish of mineral and honey. Try with spicy Asian and grilled foods for the best taste. Then, the Rio Red 2014 combines blackberries, black cherry cordial, and young plum with scents of cigar leaf and pepper and tastes of chocolate, cedar, and gravelly earth. This one pairs well with pizza and bacon flavors. The Native American Blush combines fresh grapes, strawberry cotton candy, watermelon, and peaches into a delectable blend that goes well with cheeses, poultry, and salads.

Stay at Schenck

After indulging in some delicious wines at the Thomas Family Winery, take a taxi or Uber back to Schenck Mansion for a wonderful night’s sleep. Then wake up in the morning to a delicious gourmet breakfast and another day waiting for adventure! For more to do in Southeast Indiana, download our free vacation guide.