Three central Iowa wineries not only offer different wines, but different experiences as well. When I open a bottle of wine, it always seems to hold the promise of something special. These local wineries deliver on that promise.
Let’s start our tour at the Summerset Winery where they say the “Iowa Wine Country” experience began. This farmhouse and barnlike setting, just 7 miles south of Des Moines, IA, annually produces 86,000 bottles of grape wine made from grapes grown in their own vineyards. You can check out their website at www.summersetwine.com for the Winery location, operating hours, tour and tasting opportunities. My favorite visit to this winery includes a Sunday afternoon picnic on Grandma’s quilt where I can enjoy a little jazz along with a great hunk of rustic bread, Havarti cheese, fruit and a bottle of their Seyval Blanc, described as a dry white, crisp and bright with a citric finish. I say, a great way to finish off a busy weekend.
Replete from our Summerset experience, let’s move on to La Vida Loca Winery found as you meander through the winding rural roads of Iowa, just west of Indianola. This small winery packs a big wallop! It offers a more intimate setting with wines they label as “fine country wines gently sweetened” with their showroom always open for free wine tastings. Other amenities include a large deck, club room and outdoor gazebo (all seemingly within arms-reach of the lush clusters of ripening grapes.) This facility provides a reasonable, cost efficient way to host a small wedding or other special event. My daughter held her wedding there and the staff could not have been more accommodating. With the useable kitchen space, the caterer was pleased with what the facility offered. We took full advantage of it all from adding tables with umbrella tops on the deck, a ceremony at the Gazebo and dinner for our guests in the club room. For all that La Vida Loca offers check out their website at www.lavidalocawinery.com.
It’s even deeper into the rolling hills of Warren County that you’ll come across Two Saints Winery, founded in 2003 and completed in 2008. The facility is spacious, uses all Iowa grapes and offers interested individuals the opportunity to volunteer as “Very Important Pickers” helping the Winery harvest 30-40 tons of grapes annually. My favorite wine is their Revelations Red. They suggest serving it with chicken, barbeque or picnic food and I agree. Though more expensive than some of their wines, I believe it’s worth the price tag of $17.50. While the winery also offers space for banquets and weddings and Sunday afternoon music events, my favorite part of this winery are the free wine classes taught on Saturday and Sunday. Learn about wines from experienced staff and enjoy their free tastings. Want to become a winemaker yourself? You can even have custom wines created to commemorate a special event. For full information, check out their website at www.twosaintswinery.com.
I encourage you to visit the websites to view pictures of the facilities and to gain more information on all the opportunities offered by each winery. Salude!