Bob Curttright knew that wine tasted better when it's enjoyed in a scenic setting. That's why he set out on a search for the perfect setting before opening his winery, Whiskey Run Creek. He found the setting he dreamed of in a century-old barn owned by Julius Bergmann and moved the historic structure?which was built from oak and walnut beams without a single nail?more than 18 miles to a creekside property.
Now owned by Ron and Sherry Heskett, they fill visitors' glasses with wine made from Nebraska-grown ingredients. In addition to varietals, such as Chambourcin and Edelweiss, their winery produces seasonal fruit wines made with apples and cherries from local farms. Guests can relax with their wine on an expansive deck or explore renovated brick caves built in 1866.
Thanks to 20 hard-working snow-making machines, skiers and snowboarders of all levels can zip down nine different runs reaching up to 2,000 feet, and also enjoy night skiing at this western-Iowa resort. Although gravity will pull patrons inexorably toward the bottom of the slopes, two chairlifts return as many as 3,600 snow surfers to the top each hour, where they can take in views of the ski area's 50 acres, test their mettle on trails such as the challenging Double Trouble Chute, or make a snow-sculpted diorama of the entire cast of Happy Days. Afterward, skiers can warm their toes in the newly renovated two-story lodge and replenish their bodies with a drink from the Mountain Cafe & Bar. Guests can also rent skis and snowboards, take lessons, or conquer the slopes on an office chair.
“How do you take your coffee?” asks Andy Morse, son of Breezy Hills Vineyard owners Darrell and Roberta Morse. “We ask people that a lot.”
Here’s what they’ve learned: people who take cream and sugar usually prefer sweet, fruity wines, and black coffee drinkers tend to go for robust, smoky red wines. The staff starts with this simple question because they understand that wine tasting can confound the novice. No snobs, the Morses start off new wine drinkers by introducing them to the basics of tasting and then allowing them to explore for themselves the unique sensory experience of their 17 locally made wines. Handcrafted elixirs such as their popular Misbehavin'—which blends red and white wines to create the pale blush of a sunburned ghost—pair well with the vineyard’s delectable plates of chocolate truffles and nuts.
The Jaipur’s kitchen originally opened its doors back in 1992, and since then it’s finely tuned a vast menu of Northern Indian cuisine. To boot, since 1999, it’s also presented a selection of American fusion dishes. In the deep-purple dining room, rendered beautiful by sprawling murals, the staff serves the chef’s specials. This specialty selection of fusion plates includes indian crab cakes in a yogurt and sour-cream sauce, as well as grilled lamb sirloin cooked with a flavorful spice rub and served with roasted-tomato chutney. The in-house brewery crafts a variety of beers to complement the cuisine, including jalapeño ale, an IPA, and a nut-brown ale. Additionally, The Jaipur offers more than nine wines by the glass and 180 wines by the bottle, enough bottles of wine to make the Sahara a fruity swimming pool.
Corkscrews plunge deep into the necks of Nosh Wine Lounge’s cache of bottles, opening with a pop to reveal more than 80 aromatic varietals from California, New Zealand, Italy, France, and other vineyards the world over. Diners can sip these elixirs in small flights or by the glass or commit to full bottles, or kiddie pools. The wines accompany a menu of gourmet snacks, including truffle fries, flatbreads, steak sliders, and bruschetta. Specialty cocktails, such as cosmos with sweet-potato vodka or Tom Collins shaken with cucumbers, offer a refreshing alternative to wine. The lounge hosts special events such as charity events, private parties, wine tastings, and Live Music Wednesdays, which invite guests to recline in curved leather armchairs or gather around granite-topped bar tables as local musicians perform.
A World of Wine satisfies all palates and budgets with more than 300 artisanal wines from around the globe. The newly opened neighborhood vino boutique encourages oenophiles to linger with a menu of wines by the glass and no corkage fee for full bottles. The shop's knowledgeable staffers lead weekly samplings and monthly classes in which customers can learn proper tasting techniques and boat-christening strategies.