Five local wineries offer unique summer escapes

Aug. 2, 2019

Wineries tucked away in the Sioux Falls-area countryside are getaway opportunities ripe for the picking. We checked in on what’s new and what’s ahead this season.

Strawbale Winery near Renner has had wine slushies on its menu for the past 10 years, and co-owner Susie South said both the Black Ice and Oh My Berries flavors are popular summer orders.

Strawbale hosts two events every week. Sangria Sunday offers a chance to unwind with a drink and live music before the workweek starts back up, South said. And Thursday’s Summer Porch Night brings in two food trucks and a rotating ensemble of local musicians.

Perhaps the most unique things about Strawbale Winery are the chickens that walk right up to customers looking for food and the kittens that run around the yard looking for attention, South said.

Wilde Prairie Winery near Brandon tries to incorporate new items every year — this year’s menu newcomer is a hard cider made with Honeycrisp apples straight from Hoversten’s Orchard, which is also located near Brandon.

Every Sunday, Wilde Prairie hosts live music from 2 to 5 p.m., and once a month an event called An Evening in the Vineyard brings a food truck and a live band.

“It’s a relaxing place,” owner Victoria Wilde said. “It’s not fancy; it’s a farm. And our tasting room is in the loft of the dairy barn, so people really get back to nature out here.”

Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery between Canton and Inwood, Iowa, rotates through homemade hard ciders every three months. And, of course, the summer rotation brought in a crisp Summer Shandy.

The winery just released its 2016 Frontenac wine after it stayed in barrels for 30 months, which manager Austin Hogie said is much longer than the typical fermentation time.

The most popular wines during the hot summer months are the two sweet wines on the menu, Hogie said.

The La Crescent selection is saturated with hints of green apple and lemon-lime flavors, while the Brianna is a tropical style wine with pineapple flavors and subtle hints of banana.

Customers can sip wine in Calico Skies’ large tasting room, which features big windows that overlook a valley.

“It’s kind of a getaway,” Hogie said. “It feels like you’re in wine country when you’re here.”

Every weekend, Calico Skies features homemade wood-fired pizzas.

The third annual Stomp Harvest Festival is Sept. 15.

Tucker’s Walk Vineyard near Garretson has 3,400 vines, making it one of the largest in the region, according to Sue Greenlee, who owns Tucker’s Walk with her husband, Dave.

Tucker’s Walk has a tasting room that looks over its vast vineyard, and Greenlee said the Wine-A-Rita and Brianna Bellini are “especially enjoyable” during the hot summer months.

The winery has a full commercial kitchen, which often provides food for private parties. Pizza and cheese are always available for customers to snack on while wine tasting.

Another Garretson-area winery is tucked behind a 400-foot driveway that takes customers through the vineyard before finally arriving.

Rob and Joan Meyer started Humble Hill Winery in 2009 but didn’t open a tasting room until 2017.

The granary that was supposed to serve as Humble Hill’s tasting room blew over during a 2015 windstorm, after which the Meyers had to “start over from scratch,” Rob Meyer said.

Before summer ends, Humble Hill will release its new strawberry wine to complement the already popular Honeycrisp apple selection.

Humble Hill also ushers in fall with pineapple and cherry apple cinnamon-flavored wines, which Meyer said pair well with Thanksgiving food.

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Five local wineries offer unique summer escapes

Wineries tucked away in the Sioux Falls-area countryside are getaway opportunities ripe for the picking. We checked in on what’s new and what’s ahead this season.

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