We’re not Napa Valley, but that doesn’t mean Eastern Iowa isn’t home to a number of amazing wineries. I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a few and The Gazette recently unveiled a special section “A Toast to Eastern Iowa’s Wineries” which has helped me update my ever-growing list of new wineries I’d like to try.
Daly Creek Winery and Bistro – 106 N. Ford St. Anamosa, IA
I was originally enamored by this winery when I heard stories of their fabled “Penitentiary Red” – their best selling wine which is named after the prison that also makes Anamosa its home. After a taste test and a wonderful New Years Eve meal, I’ve decided my favorite is the Winemaker’s Reserve – (Cabernet Sauvignon) and I recommend buying a bottle to take home with you.
Little Amana Winery – Little Amana, IA
There are a lot of great wineries in The Amana Colonies including Sandstone Winery, Ackerman Winery, and the Village Winery, to name a few. The Cranberry wine at Little Amana has been a favorite of mine since visiting this quaint shop many years ago. It’s also fun – and a sometimes a little out of your comfort zone – to try their other distinct choices like dandelion wine. The winery boasts a dozen fruit/sweet wines and eight table wines.
Tabor Home -Baldwin, IA.
The Tabor vineyard holds the title of having Iowa’s oldest grapevines, planted in the 1860s. This multi-acre farm is a great place for picnics, vineyard strolls and even hosts family reunions. Every other Sunday beginning June 8th and running through Sept 21st the winery offers live music in the vineyard from 3 to 6 pm.
Cedar Ridge Winery – Cedar Rapids, IA.
Located in Downtown Cedar Rapids this gem offers 15 types of wine and 7 distilled spirits, including a port. Mark your calendars for May 24th and June 18th – Cedar Ridge is hosting vineyard parties with tastings, music and stroll though their vineyard near Swisher. If interested, you can event host your own parties at their vineyard!
Fireside Winery – Marengo, IA
This one is a favorite of a friend of mine, and she warns “don’t be mistaken by their exterior.” Fireside doesn’t look like a winery from the outside, but one step through the front door and you’ll know you’re in the right place. Plan to stop by May 18th from Noon to 5 pm for an art festival featuring Iowa artists and music performed by Cedar Rapids local Chris Miller.
Iowa Wine Trail – A beautiful day trip
Tabor Home is one of many on the Iowa Wine Trail. The trail covers what is known as the upper Mississippi Valley wine and region of Lisbon, Baldwin, Anamosa, Bankston, Marquette, Decorah and West Branch. Stop along any of the wineries and you’ll be able to sample well-crafted wines in charming tasting rooms. The trail weaves on and off some of our area’s most scenic byways and showcases much of the landscapes that inspired Grant Wood.
The Iowa Wine Trail is also hosting a summer event – The Eastern Iowa Wine Festival – this July.
I’ve been lucky enough to try a few local wines in our travels, but now that I’ve done a bit of research I realize just how much more there is to experience. There are exquisite, award-winning wineries right here in our own backyard. So what are you waiting for? Start tasting!
posted by: heatherjoy77