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.
Hands dig into the springtime earth, heaving up tufts of Missouri dirt cooled by the nearby waters of historic Jowler Creek. The year is 2004 and Colleen and Jason Gerke are trying their hands at winemaking, planting 250 norton grapevines in the ground near their home. Today, the 7-acre plot of land houses more than 3,000 vines, protected by insect-consuming chickens, rodent-hunting hawks and owls, and weed-noshing sheep who graze at carefully managed intervals. The sustainable vineyard sprouts grapes used to concoct nine award-winning wines?from dry to sweet?which are crafted with solar-powered devices. Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery regularly hosts tours for up to 30 people, where patrons spend approximately 90 minutes observing the crash-diet techniques grapes undergo before squeezing into Jowler Creek's trademark baby blue sealed bottles.
The Westside Local Restaurant & Beer Garden satiates ravenous diners by utilizing an extensive selection of beer and a dinner menu that suggests drinks to complement each entree. Barons of the brewski can start by guzzling down a European beer, with intercontinental selections including Belgium's Hoegaarden ($6), Germany's Henniger Premium ($4), and Canada's Unibroue Ephermere Apple ($6). Domestic craft brews such as Kansas City's Boulevard Dry Stout ($6) and Bell's Two Hearted Ale ($5) from Michigan are also available for patriotic palates, as is a wide array of wines. Pair your barley pop with one of Westside Local's large entrees—the grilled chicken breast unites its poultry with a jalapeño-infused sweet potato hash ($19), and the grilled cheese sandwich, a melty amalgamation of brie, emmentaler, and white cheddar, leads gourmands on a gondola ride through cheesy canals ($9).
In her early 20s, Heather Redman worked in a swanky Omaha eatery, where she served countless bottles of high-end wine. There, she developed a passion about learning about fine wines, amassing a wealth of knowledge that she now shares at Swirl Wine Bar and Shoppe. Heather reduces her carbon footprint maintains freshness by keeping all her reds and whites?as well as select craft beers?on tap. The tap system prevents the wines from being exposed to oxygen, maintaining flavor quality from the first glass to the last. Each beverage can be complemented by a concise selection of shareable bites, including assorted chocolate truffles and house-made pita paired with roasted red pepper hummus.
While Swirl's roomy lounge complete with comfy leather seats and couches invites visitors to stay and relax, the shoppe also caters to patrons on the go. Bottles of wine and craft beer line retail shelves throughout the lounge, and Swirl's wine and beer clubs reward members with monthly packages of hand-selected libations instead of just pictures of hands selecting libations.
At Wine Barn, what began as a small grape-growing and hobby winemaking operation quickly grew into a larger family business. In 2007, the Wine Barn facilities were constructed, and soon a winery and tasting room sprang up, giving birth to their first vintage. Since then, Wine Barn's estate has produced a wide variety of wines to satisfy both the new and experienced wine drinker alike. The family welcomes visitors to peruse a suite of more than 20 wines, sip samples in the tasting room, or simply look out across the landscape's tranquil ponds and vineyards.
The Wine Bar is all about opening up to possibilities. Delicious possibilities. During their tasting events, staffers pour out several samples of wine along with appetizers. That way?at the end of the evening?patrons will know which wine varietal warrants a full bottle to take home.