Two Saints Winery holds fast to the belief that wine should be representative of its region. That's why to create its award-winning Iowa wines, Two Saints uses only grapes from its own property or grapes grown by local farmers. Embedded within the rippling countryside of rural Warren County, the facility produces up to 30,000 bottles per year. And instead of using juices retrieved from faraway sources, such as California or the mini refrigerators inside seashells, Two Saints spurns flavor enhancements and lets the natural flavors of Iowa's land emerge by aging bottles for at least a year. Customers, meanwhile, can enjoy those products right at the winery, especially during free tastings and live events held frequently on the property.
In 1989, Ron and Linda Mark planted grapevines along a scenic stretch of Summerset ridge. The vines grew over the years, winding along the terrain overlooking the Middle River. In the summer of 1997, the Marks opened Summerset Winery and began converting the plump grapes into wine.
Today, they produce a wide array of wines, including award-winning varietals such as the bold, full-bodied De Chaunac or the Caba Moch, a sangria-style Ros?. Visitors can tour the vineyard and sip reds and whites at the winery's tasting bar, which hosts live music on Sunday.
Jasper's modern winery squeezes the life out of central Iowan grapes to create a delicious lineup of colorful wines. The 60-minute VIP tasting gives groups of four or double-four a tour of the winery's chambers and splashes tongues with tastes of all 11 vintages, which include the crisp and citrusy Edelweiss white and the Norton dry red, whose smells of baked fruit awaken connoisseurs to flavors of currant and blackberry with slight hints of cinnamon and mint.
Nestled in the hills of rural Iowa, Snus Hill Winery hosts a diverse range of regional wines crafted by in-house vintners. Siphon samples from stores of the winery’s award-winning inventory, including a lauded edelweiss, laced with floral notes, and the dry Snus Hill red, imbued with suggestions of oak, smoke, and cherry. The 90-minute winery tour leads curious groups on a thorough behind-the-scenes view of the estate and its operations, giving visitors access to everything but the bedtime stories that winemakers read to each crop in the night. A wine-tank tasting invites oenophiles-in-training to sip prebottled elixirs, and the wine 101 class crams craniums with vital wine vocabulary and facts. A wine-terminology handout keeps the fruits of the experience fresh and plump in pupils’ minds, and an engraved glass reminds sippers of the vineyard’s sweeping panoramas and how many e's are in the word “estate.”
When the Putz family moved into its home in 1987, it discovered a trove of berries growing on the property. The family first picked the berries for homemade jellies, then Tony Putz began experimenting with winemaking. The hobby soon became a full-time job, and La Vida Loca Winery was born. The award-winning winery produces a variety of sweet, semisweet, dry, and cooking wines with hints of cinnamon, cherries, and blackberries. The winery also hosts numerous events, including dinners on an expansive deck that overlooks the vineyard, which was carefully bedecked to befit any wedding reception or divorce proceeding.
What started as a back-yard patch of grapes has grown over the last 17 years into the sprawling Annelise Winery. Overseen by an experienced winemaker with multiple awards, the family-owned operation now lays claim to more than 7,000 vines. The grapes from those transform into a variety of handcrafted wines, which range from classic reds to sweet and dry whites. Whenever the winery is open to the public, visitors can head into the tasting room to sip samples of a fruit-heavy rose or a bright, semi-sweet white wine, or head out onto the covered porch to gaze out over the rolling plains and ponder the meaning of it all.