My friend Sarah has made the decision to move to Knoxville, Tennessee to finish her master's degree. She's not moving until August, so she has made an "Arkansas Bucket List" of things to do before she leaves the state. Sarah and I were excited to help her check off the first item on her list: winery tours and wine-tasting in Altus!
We began the afternoon at Post Familie Vineyards, the largest winery in Arkansas.
"Since 1880, five generations of Posts have cultivated and harvested their grapes to make Post Familie wines. The founder of our wine heritage and Altus viticulture was Jacob Post, a German who arrived in America in 1872. From his cellar, he sold the first Altus wines to passengers on the Iron Mountain Railroad, when the train stopped by his farm for fuel and water."
We began with a little wine-tasting with Barbie--she was really fantastic! We were given a list of all their wines and were allowed 5 samples to try, but Barbie was really nice and let us try one extra : )
I ended up getting 3 bottles. My favorites were their Moscato, Sherry, and Blue Parachute (one of their new ones).
Our wonderful guide Sherri led us on a tour of the winery. It was a lot to take in......
|Standing in front of the "Crusher." Step 1 of the wine-making process.|
We just so happened to show up on a lucky day--the Moscato (I believed Sherri called it "Moscat" because the carbonation hadn't been added....or something like that) was ready. And we got to be some of the first to taste it! From the "giant keg," no less. People who actually know some things about how wine is made may know the official name, but I shall refer to these as "giant kegs."
I don't have to say much about the Wiederkehr Winery. The staff members were obviously not thrilled about working that day. They weren't friendly, and they left us waiting for the tour....and then forgot to take us. They also charge $3 for tasting 5 wine samples. You can taste 3 of their standard wines for free. I already knew how their Chardonnay and Beau Noir tasted, so I opted for the Blush Niagra. I really liked it and ended up buying a bottle of it, even if their customer service was not up to par.
We finished the afternoon with a traditional Swiss dinner at Wiederkehr's Weinkeller Restaurant. Adam and I came here two Christmases ago and shared their Swiss fondu. Love love love it! The subdued atmosphere of this restaurant makes it perfect for date nights. Or an afternoon with the girls. We each had the German Feast: your choice of two sausages, sauerkraut, and potatoes. Nom nom nom!
Sarah B. told us about Free the Grapes. Arkansas is just one of many states that prohibit wineries from shipping....they can't even ship directly to customers in Arkansas. Visit the Free the Grape website to learn more about this petition and write your local representatives. You can also like Free the Grapes on Facebook. Check it out!