Boasting an enormous agricultural sector and endless natural beauty, the midwestern region of Nebraska is affectionately and appropriately known to the rest of America as the “Tree Planter” state. The state’s warm summers and cold winters offer the perfect climatic conditions for the cultivation of even the fussiest grapes.
Resultant of these divine weather conditions, Nebraska features a myriad of some of the finest wine estates the USA has to offer. Despite California’s prevailing dominance in the American wine industry, Nebraska nevertheless produces wines fit for the palate of even the most particular of connoisseurs.
Tourists looking for a truly amazing wine-tasting experience would be remiss to not consider visiting some Nebraska vineyards. If you are interested in what such an experience may entail, continue reading this article as we list out 3 Nebraska wineries ideal for any visiting oenophile with an interest in the hottest wine industry trends.
In December of 1994, the doors to the Cuthill Vineyards opened for the very first time which would make it the oldest of all Nebraska wineries in existence. Situated in the city of Pierce, the vineyard is run by Ed Swanson, a man who is revered by guests as a most gracious host who boasts an inexhaustible wealth of knowledge regarding all things wine. The comfy tasting room accommodates indoor activities while a lush outdoor seating area provides a radial view of unfettered nature.
It is said that Ed Swanson’s technique has aged just as well as his wine; the seasoned vintner is well-versed in the art of grape breeding and the production of hybrid strains. Additionally, it has been reported by the American Winery Guide that Swanson also works the soil of his vineyards himself. Considering the pioneering history attached to both Mr. Swanson and his vineyards, wine enthusiasts travelling through Nebraska have every reason to visit Cuthills.
- February – April: Fri – Sun 1:00pm – 5:00pm
- May – December: Wed – Sat 11:00am – 6:00pm, Sun 1:00pm – 6:00pm
James Arthur Vineyards
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A little bit north of Lincoln you can find the James Arthur Vineyards, the largest of all the Nebraska vineyards currently in operation. Since 1996, this vineyard has been bottling some of the finest Nebraska wines from in-house production facilities located on its whopping 400 acres of land. Situated among undulating, gently sloping hills and prairies, the James Arthur Vineyards is a place with no shortage of natural beauty to gawk at while sipping on tantalizing vinos.
The Winery features an extensive array of amenities for guests to enjoy, including a state-of-the-art tasting room that sports a roaring fire for toasty evenings indoors. For your daytime activities, there is a covered deck that offers comfortable outdoors lounging next to a waterfall.
Upon your leave, there is a fun gift shop to explore where well-aged and well-priced Nebraska wines can be purchased alongside the merchandise. Like most Nebraska wineries, this vineyard does not feature accommodation but there are many nearby guest hotels in the neighbouring area.
For events, the stunningly beautiful St. Croix room is available for rental all year round. Whether it be for business meetings or parties, the room is perfectly designed and curated to suit the needs of guests. Located above the bottling line of James Arthur Vineyards, the room features a stone fireplace abreast a stocked wine bar, an adjoined catering kitchen, a private deck, and enough plug-points for any audio-visual devices.
As of right now, this Nebraska vineyard produces the most popularly bought local wine in all of Nebraska. The wine in question is a rare rose blend called Eden’s Blush which offers a rich and fruity palate experience. The winery also produces Nebraska’s most popular Edelweiss white, which is an immense achievement because this is the wine most widely produced in the state. Considering this, it is safe to say that the James Arthur Vineyards is an essential stop for wine-lovers tripping through the Midwest.
- Monday – Thursday: 10:00am – 6:00pm
- Friday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
- Sunday: closed
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Of all the 32 Nebraska wineries, Cellar 426 is considered by professional critics and guests alike to be the best wine estate in all of Nebraska. The accredited Omaha World Herald, the largest newspaper press in the state, has voted Cellar 426 as the best winery in Nebraska for four years in a row now since 2018.
The winery is owned and run by Richard and Amy Hilke, a couple whose shared love of viticulture and wine has served them well in developing Nebraska’s trendiest location for any wine cognoscente living near or travelling through Ashland. Much like Mr. Swanson of Cuthill Vineyard, Amy Spends much of her time tending to her crops herself; as any seasoned wine expert could tell you, it is always a good sign when a vineyard’s owner is actively involved in every part of the wine-making process.
Nestled between major cities Lincoln and Omaha, Cellar 426 is hard to miss when travelling through Nebraska and very much well worth a visit. You can stop by for an exciting wine tasting experience hosted by Amy Hilke herself inside the traditional log-cabin-style estate. The wines on offer to you are complimented with freshly baked bread, various cheeses, and savoury charcuteries.
Outside, there is both a deck and patio surrounded by vistas of natural beauty where guests may wine and dine. While there may not be accommodation on-site, there are many nearby lodges for those hoping to extend their stay in the area.
The Hilke’s featured wine is called “Sweet n’ Sexy”. While the name may raise a few prudish eyebrows, there is no denying its immaculate quality. In February this year, this wine was awarded a Best of Class distinction and a Double Gold medal following its score of 98 points during the International Eastern Wine Competition hosted in Santa Rosa, California.
- Monday – Thursday: 1:00pm – 7:00pm
- Friday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
- Sunday: 12:00pm – 6:00pm
Explore the Aromatic World of Nebraska Wines
No matter where you travel within the state, there is bound to always be a quality winery NE offering near you. If you are plotting a wine tasting trip here, it would be your loss if you did not visit at least one of these three top Nebraska wineries.