Hosted on the lush estate of South Dakota’s first winery, Valiant Vineyards, The Great Dakota Wine Festival immerses attendees in the region’s sundry flavors. A two-day schedule of feasting and festivities takes place beside the tranquil waters of the Vermillion River, with crowds enjoying live music, cuisine, and demonstrations on how to navigate a waterfall in a barrel. Upon entry, visitors receive a punch card worth 10 samplings, allowing them to savor the mellow fruits of merlot, the oak-tinged sweetness of chardonnay, and the horrified stares of fellow attendees upon the creation of a merlot-donnay. Guests can also remove their foot coverings and sink into a barrel of squishiness at the grape-stomping booth. Cooking demonstrations impart nuggets of culinary know-how, and the amateur winemaking contest shines light on the beverage artisans of tomorrow. Each guest also receives a souvenir wineglass for at-home imbibing.
Since 1985, South Dakota Magazine’s writers have traversed their home state to unearth unique stories about its past and present. From their Yankton offices, housed in three old brick buildings built in the 1870s by Territorial Governor John Pennington, staffers recall tales from their travels with entertaining articles paired with full-color photos. Recipes for prize-winning pies share space with accounts of outdoor excursions, previews of upcoming events, and historical articles documenting little-known pieces of South Dakota’s past. One issue is sent to subscribers every two months, giving them plenty of time to read every article and plan which outfit they will wear when reading the next.
From their storefront offices in downtown Norfolk, the independent staffers at Nebraska Life Magazine compile bimonthly issues exploring the history and culture of the Cornhusker State. Penned entirely by in-state writers, articles run the gamut from features such as 2005’s “Murder in the Sandhills”—an investigation of the 70-year-old cold case murders of a Boone County sheriff and constable—to an annual guide to Nebraska's higher education. Writers also entice with coverage of sightseeing hot spots, exploring lush local wineries, Grand Island’s resident ghosts, and the quiet beauty of the Platte River and its whispering fish.