While other areas in the nation are more notable for their wine production, don’t take Iowa off the list as great wine-making country. The fertile soil that helps propel Iowa to be a leading agricultural state also lends toward the many vineyards and wineries that have popped up within its borders. While there are a lot of wineries to choose from in Iowa, all offering their own unique charm to their bottles, it’s hard to say which one will be your favorite. A good place to start is by checking out these 8 best wineries in Iowa.
Located amongst the cornfields of east-central Iowa, Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery has been working hard like the farmers around them to make themselves quite the name when it comes to Midwestern wine and whiskey. While the Cedar Ridge wine selection, which is all produced from their estate-grown grapes, has won plenty of awards in the past, it is the Cedar Ridge whiskey that claims them international attention. Whether is the sought-after Silver Label Single Malt or the renowned Iowa bourbon whiskey, Cedar Ridge delivers some of the finest spirits in the state of Iowa.
Eagles Landing Winery doesn’t strive to be the biggest winery in Iowa, but they do aim to be the best, and you can taste the patience and attention to detail they put into each bottle of wine they produce. Located in the small town of Marquette in the Upper Mississippi Valley, Eagles Landing is one of many wineries you can find on the Iowa Wine Trail, and offers free tastings of their varied wine portfolio daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.—which is a great way to see for yourself if Eagles Landing stacks up as the best winery in Iowa.
With three locations along the Mississippi River to choose from, including Le Claire and the Village of East Davenport, the Clinton location for Wide River Winery is your best bet for a great winery experience. It’s not only because the actual winery and original tasting room are in Clinton, but it’s the appeal of that original tasting room that puts Wide River Winery above the rest. Featuring a covered deck and big views of the Mighty Mississippi, this tasting room is the perfect place to catch some live music, meet some new friends and enjoy a hand-crafted glass of wine produced just feet away from where you are sitting.
For one of the most authentic Iowa wine experiences, it’s worth checking out the Penoach Vineyard and Winery in Adel. Located approximately 20 miles west of West Des Moines, the Penoach Vineyard and Winery is a working winery, meaning that while you are tasting their in-house wines, the owners are keeping up with the chores of crafting delicious vino. What’s appealing about this family-owned winery isn’t just the work ethic put into each bottle, it’s also the 1917 repurposed barn they work out of, creating for an aesthetically pleasing wine tasting experience every time you visit Penoach Vineyard and Winery.
Sharing a home with Iowa’s fabled Bridges of Madison County, the Madison County Winery pairs nicely with the peaceful ambiance and rustic beauty of their covered bridge neighbors. While the gourmet chocolates and locally-sourced cheeses on the menu at Madison County Winery is worth mentioning, and the wide selection of award-winning wines they offer ensure their spot in the community, it’s really the ambiance and fun-inspiring atmosphere of their tasting room and patio that draws the crowds to the Madison County Winery.
Located just minutes away from the historic Amana Colonies, Fireside Winery is a relatively new winery on the Iowa scene, just having opened in their doors to the public in 2007. Since then, Fireside Winery has strived to produce some of the finest wine in Iowa and an outdoor space to enjoy it all. With live music over the weekends, and tasting room hours throughout the week, Fireside Winery has proven themselves to be a spot where memories are made and time slows down with each sip of their wine.
Located inside a train station in Algona, the Train Wreck Winery might be first noted for their unique tasting room location, but make no mistake, it’s their wine that puts them on this list. The tasting room is only open on the weekends, but if you manage to take the time between work weeks then you’ll see for yourself why Train Wreck’s selection of reds and white, dry and sweet, are quickly putting this rail station winery on the right track.
Nestled comfortably between acres upon acres of Iowa cropland, Soldier Creek Winery’s grape vines hang proudly as a testament to the quality of wine they produce. The farmland that makes up the Soldier Creek Winery has been in the owner’s family for over 50 years, and the hard work over all those years gets put into crafting some of the finest estate-grown wine in the state. Check out their spacious tasting room to see for yourself not only the quality of wine that Soldier Creek produces, but the fun they have in doing it.