Good Morning! Ahh…it’s Friday again. Do you have plans this weekend? Are you looking for something to do? I have an excellent idea…how about a local winery tour?! I’m sure you’ve read about “Vacationing in your hometown”….well, that is EXACTLY what I am talking about!
That’s right. Last weekend after our good friends left to head back to Minnesota, Ryan & I decided to spend the afternoon touring local Iowa wineries. You see, every now and then we catch ourselves planning a trip back to Napa and Sonoma. Then, without fail, we realize that we have far too many vacation destinations on our calendar for the year. And once again, Napa’s repeat visit gets pushed back another year.
Taking matters into my own hands, I planned an afternoon visiting 4 wineries: Wallace Winery, Muddy Creek, Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, and Fireside….in that exact order. To our surprise, both Wallace Winery and Muddy Creek were closed and no longer in business. How unfortunate! We’ll miss them. Our third stop however, Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, was open and booming with folks just like us! Folks who were interested in a relaxing Sunday afternoon…Napa style in the middle of Iowa!
Cedar Ridge is located on Hwy 965 between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, near Swisher. After opening last November 2009, Cedar Ridge is celebrating a great summer! Having visited, I understand why. Incredible.
If you are an Iowan, you have to check this one out. Not only do they make & sell some great wines, but they also make & sell spirits (such as Clearheart Vodka & Gin), as well as Iowa Bourbon Whiskey! This is the first Bourbon produced in Iowa since 1920, the Prohibition era. See…something for EVERYONE!
Who knew all of this Iowa corn served yet another great purpose!? If you like Whiskey…this is a good one. While we sampled it and took a bottle home for ourselves, we were on a wine mission last Sunday. Lucky for us, Cedar Ridge offers a free and generous tasting of their wines, spirits, and whiskey….even Lemoncello. Yes Sir…we tried them all! (well…almost all of them).
To our surprise, Cedar Ridge also had live music that afternoon. From 1-4pm, Jason Ray Brown ‘One man band’ was playing! Jason plays bass drum with his right foot, hi-hat with his left, guitar and banjo, sings and play harmonica at the same time! He was great! From the conversation we had with the Event Planner, Shawna, it sounds like they have live music often…most often Friday evenings from 6-9 and Sundays from 1-4. This Friday (tonight) is Jason from the Nadas. For those of you who love the Nadas, it would be a great night to head out there. Maybe we’ll see you there!
While we enjoyed relaxing and listening to Jason, we indulged in a bottle of La Crescent (this delicious semi-dry white has it all~rich nose of apricot, grapefruit, passion fruit and honeysuckle, plenty of mouthfeel, and a lingering citrusy finish. Limited quantity for 2010.) Yum! A perfect white wine for a hot summer Sunday in Iowa.
We also snacked on a Napa-style small plate…A Meat and Cheese Platter~ Aged Cheddar, Smoked Gouda and Salami served with slices of Baguette and Mediterranean Olives! This is exactly what we had in mind. 🙂
And just before we decided to head home to Ruby, we took a quick stroll through some of the vineyards. How beautiful! It was also amazing to me that the majority of the grapes used to make their wine are estate-grown. Local and delicious!
Needless to say, after indulging the way we did at Cedar Ridge, we never made it to Fireside Winery. We decided it might be best to save that one for another “Napa-Style Sunday Afternoon!” I can’t tell you enough what a great time we had a Cedar Ridge. So again…if you are a local Iowan, check this one out. http://www.crwine.com/
If not, look up the wineries in your area and head out for a tour. You won’t regret it!
Enjoy your weekend. Find time to indulge.
Indulge. In Life. In Love. In Food.