Iowa Wineries

Iowa Wineries

Iowa wineries are sure to surprise and delight you! There are over 100 wineries in Iowa, with everything from exotic fruit wines to traditional grape wines.

 

Iowa Wineries

We had no idea there were so many wineries in Iowa! To be completely honest, Iowa as a whole surprised us very much. During our road trip across the Midwest, we fell in love with Iowa and all of the cool and quirky things to see and do. But what really blew us away were the Iowa wineries.

 

So how many wineries are there in Iowa? Over 100! And there are over 300 vineyards in Iowa across 1,300 acres. That’s a lot of wine! We were in Iowa for a total of five days and as we headed east across the state along I-80, we stopped in various cities. We had a plan to visit museums, gardens, historic homes, etc.

 

But it was when we were in Winterset, home to the famous covered Bridges of Madison County, that we learned about the wineries in Iowa. In Iowa, they grow different grapes than they do in California or in France; they plant what are known as cold-climate grapes that are able to survive in the cold Iowa winters. So the wine is a little different, but in a delicious and wonderful way!

 

Once we realized the extent of wineries there were and had our Iowa wineries map, we slightly altered our original list of things to do and made sure to allot time for a few winery visits. If you’d like to see a list of Iowa wineries or just learn more about the different wineries in Iowa, we recommend this website. Below we talk a bit more about some of the wineries we visited…

 

Madison County Winery

As we walked up to Madison County Winery, we already knew we were going to love it. There was a large patio with scenic views of the surrounding Iowa landscape and as we walked through the doors we saw comfy couches that looked very inviting. Then we were greeted by Genonne, and her friendly smile had us feeling right at home.

 

Madison County Winery is one of the many wineries in Iowa

Madison County Winery has great spaces for wine tasting and relaxing with friends and family

 

We spent the next hour chatting with Genonne, tasting wines, and nibbling on a cheese platter. We learned more about the wineries in central Iowa and about Madison County Winery itself. The property had been purchased in 2000, and the grapes planted in 2001. It took a few years for the grapes to mature and in 2010 the tasting room was built so now guests could purchase and consume their wines on-site.

 

sampling wines at various Iowa wineries

We tried six wines during our wine tasting

Wine and cheese at Madison County Winery, one of the wineries in central Iowa

Cheese platter with Havarti and smoked Gouda

 

We were really impressed with the selection of wines at Madison County Winery. It was hard to pick a favorite, but we will say that the Lollipop was probably the most unique. It tasted like a grape Jolly Rancher!

 

Great selection of wines at Madison County Winery

Great selection of wines at Madison County Winery

 

Ackerman Winery

When passing through the Amana Colonies (seven colonies that were founded by German immigrants back in 1855) definitely stop by Ackerman Winery. This is the oldest operating winery in the state of Iowa!

 

Ackerman Winery is one of the wineries in eastern Iowa

Ackerman Winery in Amana

 

Ackerman Winery has a large variety of wines, everything from fruit wines to more traditional grape wines. It’s no surprise that they consistently win international wine competitions! While we were there we had a few small samples (they offer daily complimentary tastings) and walked around their large retail area.

 

Of all the Iowa wineries, Ackerman is the oldest

Ackerman Winery has a large variety of fruit and grape wines

 

We wanted to take more photos, but we were having too much fun sampling wines and looking through their wine items and home decor. Our favorite was a wooden block that said “Wine does not make you fat. It makes you lean… Against walls, chairs, and funny people.”

 

Brick Arch Winery

If you’re passing through West Branch to visit the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, going to Brick Arch Winery is a must. We think this is one of the best wineries in eastern Iowa! They had great wine, food, and the ladies that work there are fun and had us cracking up the whole time we were there.

 

Brick Arch Winery is one of the best wineries in Iowa

Brick Arch Winery

 

During our visit, we had a glass of Sweet Daisy, a fruity white wine that is similar to a Moscato. We could have easily drank a bottle of that wine! We also had some spinach artichoke dip that was very yummy.

 

Sweet Daisy wine at Brick Arch Winery

Sweet Daisy wine at Brick Arch Winery

Wine tasting in Iowa

Wine and snacks at Brick Arch Winery

 

As we said earlier, they have great wine and food, but the atmosphere here is also what makes Brick Arch Winery so special. You can tell it’s a place that locals love to frequent, which is something we love. And it’d definitely be perfect for a girl’s weekend!

 

Wide River Winery

Our last stop in Iowa was Le Claire, and in this charming town we visited Wide River Winery. It’s one of three locations they have. We didn’t spend as much time here as we would have liked because we had to get back on the road, but it definitely deserves a mention. We sampled a couple of wines, including one that paired very well with chocolate. Yum!

 

Wide River Winery in Le Claire

Wide River Winery in Le Claire

Iowa wineries include Wide River Winery with wine and chocolate

Wine and chocolate!

 

Iowa Distilleries

We want to mention that there are also a lot of Iowa distilleries. Using local grains, these distilleries are making gin, whiskey, vodka, and rum. So basically they’ve got spirits for everyone! We stopped in to one of the most famous distilleries in Iowa…

 

Mississippi River Distilling Company

Also in Le Claire, visitors will find Mississippi River Distilling Company. This family owned and operated company started small but has grown exponentially and is now one of the top craft distilleries in the country. All of the grains they use come from within 25 miles of their distillery; it doesn’t get much fresher than that!

 

Mississippi River Distilling Company is considered one of the best Iowa distilleries

Mississippi River Distilling Company

 

Their “grain to glass” approach is what makes their spirits so rich and flavorful. If you want to learn more about the company and how they produce their products, stop in between 12pm and 4pm; they offer free daily public tours on the hour (no need to make reservations). If you’d like to go straight to drinking, head to the bar for flights and delicious cocktails.

 

Distilleries in Iowa include Mississippi River Distilling Company

Free tour of Mississippi River Distilling Company

Lots of tasty spirits at Mississippi River Distilling Company

Lots of tasty spirits

Flights and cocktails at Cody’s Cocktail House

Flights and cocktails at Cody’s Cocktail House

 

Final Thoughts On Iowa Wineries

All of the Iowa wineries that we visited had great tasting wines. Next time we visit the state, we want to travel along an Iowa Wine Trail (there are seven!). We’ll have to make sure someone else is driving though. That was the only bad thing about being on our own while we drove across the state.

 

We’re just gonna say this… Iowa was lucky we were driving or we would’ve drank a lot more! Haha! For real guys, it seemed like everywhere we turned there was a winery! So much so that we came up with a nickname. And if this gets around and you hear it, know that we said it first!

 

We think Iowa should be known as Wineowa!

 

But seriously, we think the wineries in Iowa are great and really think they deserve more recognition. The wineries, distilleries, and even the Iowa breweries. We’re not into beer, but we can tell you there are Iowa beer trails as well. So definitely consider a visit to this amazing state. The wineries alone will leave you speechless!

 

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Iowa wineries are sure to surprise and delight you! There are over 100 wineries in Iowa, with everything from exotic fruit wines to traditional grape wines. No matter what city you're in, you'll be sure to find one nearby! Click this post to learn more about these delicious Iowa wineries.

 

14 Comments
  • I never knew Iowa had wineries buddy. I think corn….and…hogs…LOL. Never thought wine but seeing 100 plus means the place is quite the scene if you enjoy a nice glass of wine. Nice chocolate add up top too 😉

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan

    • Buddy says:

      Oh yes, there is SO much more to Iowa than people think! We were very pleasantly surprised during our road trip through the state! 🙂

  • Wineowa is a cute name! Never thought Iowa would have wine and beer trails. We RVed through the state in 2011 and didn’t get a whiff of liquor!

  • Marissa says:

    I didn’t know there were so many wineries in Iowa! I’d love to stop at the Brick Arch Winery, as I love the look of the building.

  • Natasha Amar says:

    I always do a fair bit of wine tasting wherever I go-wine is definitely an interest, both in travel as well as writing. But I did not know that Iowa was such a hub of wine production. Will have to visit when I travel to the U.S.

  • Wine and chocolate sound like a strange combination, but I know that they work really well together. I did a similar tasting in South Africa and really enjoyed it. There certainly seems to be more than enough wineries to choose from in the region to keep you busy for quite a while. It is just the kind of place that I would love to spend a few days exploring.

  • Had no idea Iowa was a wine producing state! Great to know it has so many wineries and they are open to visit. Love the idea of a tour, visiting lots of the wineries to do a tasting. I would definitely like to add in the distillery as well.

  • Efthimis Kragaris says:

    I had no idea that there were so many wineries in Iowa! You were so lucky to visit so many. The wine that seemed closer to my preferences is Sweet Daisy, since I am Moscato lover! The problem is that you do not know when to stop drinking this sweet wine!

  • Hannah says:

    Wine + Iowa = definitely not a combination I would ever think to put together! I imagine the cold weather grapes suit some of the german wines – so Ackerman would be where I’d head! Also like the idea of all those distilleries!

  • 100 wineries in Iowa! That is quite a lot. I am sure the wine trail there makes for a wonderfully heady experience. What I love about wine tours is that apart from the wines one gets to experience the intoxicating beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes. I am really enamoured here by looking at the picture of the Madison County Winery. The patio looks like such an enchanting place to chill taking in the spectacular views.

  • Holly says:

    I don’t think of wine when I think of Iowa. That is cool to know. That is a lot of wineries. The places there look really nostalgic too.

  • Ami says:

    Wow…over 300 vineyards…. That is a lot. Am sure each one has a unique offering. Among the ones you shared, the Ackerman appealed to me… Maybe for its classical old structure. Wine tasting is quite a skill… And this kind of a tour needs it

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Hi! I'm Vicky, a South Florida-based blogger traveling around the world with my stuffed monkey Buddy. Tired of the 9-5, we recently sold all of our stuff and started traveling full time. Click on the photo to learn more!

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