The word tour, derived from the Latin for "circle," describes the shape tour groups create as they surround and attack their "guide," which is French for "fact piñata." Obtain candied information by any means necessary with today's Groupon: for $23, you get a ticket for Prairie Glasses: A Sipping Tour of the Iowa Prairie (a $40 value) plus a Village Stroll walking tour of various locations (up to a $7 value) in the Amana Colonies (up to a $47 total value). The tour runs on the first and third Wednesdays of every month.
The Amana Colonies are a National Historic Landmark, a conglomeration of seven villages known for their self-sufficient charm, local crafts, and plentiful libations. A sagacious guide takes guests on a sip-and-swig-filled comprehensive tour of the local wineries and brewery, and the Village Stroll grants a sauntering gander of the other visual and sonic sensations the Amana Colonies have to offer. Beginning at 11 a.m. at the Amana Colonies Visitors Center, the walking tour shuffles feet down a one-hour path through the history, architecture, and culture of the colonies. Visitors will learn all about which the once-communal home of the German Pietist settlers, farmers and artisans who disappeared over the horizon on an impossible golden dirigible in the mid-1930s.
After a break for lunch (not provided), the four-hour beverage-and-light-fare-sampling Prairie Glasses tour commences at 1 p.m. A 15-passenger chariot van, fresh from gladiatorial combat, will whisk tour groups to the Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery, Iowa's oldest post-Prohibition spirit factory, to savor samples in the ornate, vineyard-facing tasting room. Then it's back to the colonies to partake of the Ackerman Winery's standard and exotic wines, and White Cross Cellars' traditional European- and California-style flavors. The tour moves thence to Collectively Iowa, whose vintners only use American-bred pre-raisins and employ the services of cold-climate grapes, which have learned how to knit tiny jackets for themselves. For a change of drinking pace, the Millstream Brewing Company offers up glasses of its cold-filtered and creamy-headed brews. Finally, it's back in the van for a jaunt to the Fireside Winery, where the voyage winds through the vineyard itself, followed by sips of its handcrafted varietals in the tasting room or under the vine-covered veranda.
622 46th Ave.
Amana, Iowa 52203