Couple’s dream becomes fruitful

by Bonnie Kay Baldwin
Lake Mills Graphic
Steve and Kerry (Hodge) Madson, Hampton, and Steve’s parents Dennis and the late Darlene (Dahl) Madson, Lake Mills, were sitting and talking about their collective dream back in early 2012.
The dream blossomed around planting a vineyard on the property where the family roots had been planted.
The land that the family farm is on (less than six miles from Lake Mills) has been a part of the Dahl/Madson families for five generations. Steve’s maternal grandparents, Glenn and Evelyn Dahl, had built their home on an acre in 1967. It was Glenn that named that parcel, Lazy Acre. Over the years the acreage has grown into over 12 acres, with trees and a large pond.
Steve, a principal at Hampton-Dumont High School, and Kerry, a dental assistant, are trying to make that dream come true. Besides the two-acre vineyard, they are building a winery.
“We began our hobby in wine at home, from a kit. Later, our grapes were marketed to our mentor and friend, Mark Newman, Forest City, who owns 99 Bottles Winery. We give him the credit for teaching us the ropes,” said Kerry.
A timeline for the progress includes:
• The first trellis posts emerged in the fall of 2012.
• The first acre of vines were planted in the spring of 2013 using two types of grapes: Frontenac gris and Marquette grapes.
• The second, acre vineyard was placed in 2015.    
• The first grapes were sold to market.
• The harvest of the grapes happens at an event of family and friends (about 50) each year in the fall. The Madsons call it the Pickin’, Stompin’, and Sippin’ gathering.
• The first wine from the grapes was produced in 2017.
• The first wines were ‘previewed’ at the Rustic Brew, Hampton, Nov. 2018.
• Groundbreaking for the tasting room/cantina, took place, Oct. 2018. They hope to have it open by the end of August—earlier if at all possible.
“We bottled about 2,200 bottles from the 2017 harvest, and hope to bottle somewhere near 6,000 bottles from the 2018 harvest,” said Steve. Lazy Acre Vineyard produces five types of wine; three white and two red. They are called—Frontenac Gris, First Kiss, Porch Swing, Schoolhouse Red, and Semi-Sweet Lou, named after their late mother, Darlene’s, middle name
“We are hoping to have seating room for approximately 60-70 upstairs in the loft and downstairs, plus room for more outside on our decks and pergola,” said Steve.
“Our goal is to make Lazy Acre Vineyard a place where everyone feels welcome, leaves with a joyful heart, and a desire to return. Come and enjoy great wine, good friends, and family. Make memories while taking a stroll through the vineyard, through the woods or by the pond, or simply just enjoy being lazy,” said Steve and Kerry on their facebook page,
The winery—vineyard and tasting room—is located at 4776 Bluebill Ave., Lake Mills, but is not open as of the present.
The Madsons plan to have a booth during Lake Mills’ Sesquicentennial celebration, on Main St., July 12-13. Soon, Lazy Acre Vineyard will be up and running. For more information, call 641-592-LAZY.

Lake Mills Graphic

204 N. Mill Street
Lake Mills, IA 50450

Office Number: (641) 592-4222
Fax Number: (641) 592-6397

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