Weekends were made for wineries. Here's how you can tour 10 vineyards near Des Moines.
Central Iowa is booming with wineries and vineyards popping up all over - especially in the past few decades. Here are 10 wineries close to Des Moines where you can kick back, relax and sip the day away. Brian Taylor Carlson/The Register
Weekends were made for wineries — Iowa has 113 wineries in the state. And many of them are just a short drive from the city.
Central Iowa vintner culture has hit its stride during the past few decades, with wineries and tasting rooms popping up all over the area. They're great places to relax and hold special events.
Not to mention, Central Iowa winemakers are producing delicious, unique and award-winning wines.
Take your own weekend winery tour
Here are 10 vineyards and wineries that you can enjoy on Saturday and Sunday. All you need to do is pack a picnic and make sure you have someone along who agrees to be the designated driver.
Annelise Winery has been in operation since 1997. Owners Heidi and David Klodd have almost 8,000 mature grape vines producing fruit on 11 acres, both at the vineyard itself and at their home nearby. View the recently renovated barn that serves as an events center on the property and relax on the porch with some Rendezvous — a sangria-style red blend.
Location: 15110 Highway 92, Indianola
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays (or by appointment only).
The Cellar at White Oak
Relatively new to the Iowa winery lineup, The Cellar at White Oak has been producing Iowa wine since 2015. Owners John Barber and Barb Hokel along with winemaker Josh Ellenberg have created an impressive starting lineup of Iowa wines for guests to drop in and enjoy. Sip on some bold BraveHeart, a blend of Frontenac and Brianna grapes that "goes great with action movies".
Location: 15065 N.E. White Oak Drive B., Cambridge
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Covered Bridges Winery
Named for the famed historical bridges in Madison County, Covered Bridges Winery is owned by two married couples, Kevin and Jean Fifo, and Kevin and Rose Boyle. Since planting their first vines on the property in 2004, Covered Bridges wine has been 100 percent Iowa-made. Kick back on the grounds or in the tasting room and enjoy some of its award-winning wines — the best is "whichever one you like to drink".
Location: 2207 170th Trail, Winterset
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 12 to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m., closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
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Jasper Winery is located just minutes from downtown Des Moines. Owners Jean and Paul Groben began planting vines in 2000. Since then, their winery has grown to a collection of about 13 different varieties that tasters can pair with cheeses and chocolates. Enjoy a rich and creamy glass of Seyval Blanc while enjoying live music during the winery's Summer Concert Series.
Location: 2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines
Hours: Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Tuesdays; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.
Madison County Winery
Since 2000, Madison County Winery has been offering both beer and wine in a relaxed setting. Owners Doug and Cheryl Bakker invite visitors to listen to live music under the pergola or on the patio with a bottle of wine like its Gold Chardonnay or a bottle of Midnight Rain, a soft, semi-dry red blend. Twisted Vine Brewery brews beer on-site as well.
Location: 3021 St. Charles Road, St. Charles
Hours: Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon. to 5 p.m.; closed Monday through Wednesday.
Penoach Vineyard and Winery
The tasting room at Penoach Vineyard and Winery in Adel is located in a barn that was originally built in 1917 and refurbished into a relaxing wine experience. Eight different types of grapes are used to create their selection of 14 different Iowa wines. Relax with some Farmhouse White — a semi-sweet white table wine — while listening to live entertainment.
Location: 26759 N. Ave., Adel
Hours: Friday and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.; closed Monday through Thursday.
Snus Hill Vineyard & Winery
Located north of Des Moines, Snus Vineyards has been making wine since 2000, when John and Diane Larson began planting their first grape vines. The Larson family are fourth-generation Swedish immigrants, and their lineup of 15 wine varieties have been winning regional awards since 2008. Try the High Trestle Taille — a sweet red with intense berry flavors — and relax on the tree-shaded lawn or in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch.
Location: 2183 320th St., Madrid
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Summerset Winery has been in operation since 1997, but it has been the dream of owner Ron Mark since he was a child. His wife also shares his passion for making delicious Iowa wine, and they've grown the winery and vineyard considerably — producing about 150,000 bottles per year. Take a tour of the grounds and enjoy a bottle of Frontenac paired with assorted Iowa cheeses. Enjoy live concerts every Sunday from May to October during the winery's Sunday Tunes Concerts.
Location: 15101 Fairfax St., Indianola
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Two Saints Winery & Vineyards
This St. Charles winery is a hidden gem — located south of West Des Moines — and features handmade boutique wines made from Iowa grapes. Stroll through 10 acres of vineyards and the nearby woodlands with a bottle of Trinity, or sit back and enjoy a wine flight. Port-style wines are also made here.
Location: 15170 20th Ave., St. Charles
Hours: Wednesday through Monday, 12 to 5 p.m.; closed Tuesdays.
La Vida Loca Winery
This quaint winery and tasting room is immersed in the Iowa countryside near Indianola. Its unique and creative wines have won several local awards for its wide variety of wines made from grapes, of course, but also fruit and berries found on the property and locally like aronia, gooseberry, apple and currant. Throughout the summer, try one of its Dinner of the Deck events with a bottle of La Vida Loca Red.
Location: 7852 Jesup St., Indianola
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mondays.