The Heartland of Wine

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Dreaming about the Heartland may bring images of rolling hills, scenic settings and friendly people. It’s also a region that offers some of the most unexpected wineries in the United States. Wine tours geared for couples and small groups make discovering award-winning wines a memorable experience, and it will take just a little bit of investigation to find the ones that suit you best.

Wineries situated in the beautiful foothills of Ohio produce Zanon Red wine, a blend of French-hybrid reds that will please any palate. The Zanon white wines are tangy without sweetness and complement any shrimp or pasta dish. The Catawba, Niagara and Concord grapes grown in this region and their various blends produce fruity and tart wines as well. Many wineries offer facilities for family reunions, private parties and picnics. You’ll want to check out their selections of homemade breads, arts and crafts from bakers and artists in the local communities.

The Amish countryside is home to numerous award-winning wines made from fresh fruits, grapes and berries. Visitors can enjoy a winery tour throughout the summer that features handcrafted wines that are sure to please. Is anyone up for tasting some dandelion wine? There is something for everyone in Ohio, including locally made Swiss cheese, gourmet mustards, hickory-smoked meats, jams, sauces and salad dressings.

Minnesota offers a diverse group of wineries situated in the far west of the state, the region of glacial lakes and rolling river valleys. The wine industry is expanding in Minnesota, where the grapes are grown locally and have been developed to be cold-hardy, disease-resistant and early-ripening, qualities essential for the area’s climate. Each winery has its own way of tending to and processing their grapes. A few varieties developed through the University of Minnesota’s grape breeding program are Frontenac, Frontenac gris, LaCrescent and Marquette. The heartland of Minnesota is a beautiful place to explore and offers some of the most flavorful wines that are as rich as the region is in scenery.

Traveling through southwestern Illinois will lead you to some extraordinary flavors in wine, from sophisticated dry reds to some sweet wines that are quite popular. The Heartland Rivers Wine Trail offers an endless adventure that features the traditions of the early settlers who brought the winemaking skills and expertise from Europe. Each winery offers unique handcrafted wines that range from a very dry red to a white wine that is as sweet as dessert.

Every week of the year the wineries of central Pennsylvania offer tours and tastings of their excellent wines. You can visit with the winemakers, take photos in the vineyards or enjoy a picnic in this picturesque part of the world. Spend a weekend or enjoy a day of relaxation on your own route and bring home memories and some delicious wine that will remind you of your visit. Each winery offers special events and wine tastings that are sure to please your palate.

Several wineries in Pennsylvania offer wine tastings paired with food, entertainment and grand prize drawings for fine dining or nights at a local bed and breakfast. The Susquehanna Heartland Wine Trail makes their wine tastings a true adventure with a scavenger hunt for information about the wine and wineries. The best part is the tasting of the wine as you experience the beautiful scenery of the area.

When you think of wine, most don’t think of Iowa. However, at one time Iowa was the sixth-largest grape producer in the nation. Wineries are popping up all over the state and the Heart of Iowa Wine Trail is the perfect way to spend time learning about the state’s rich heritage while sampling some of their delicious wines. From north to south, you will find wineries owned by local Iowans working together to spread the word about their wine industry. Iowa is a beautiful state with friendly folks who are eager to serve quality wine. Most of the wineries offer unique gifts, entertainment and other events that take wine tasting to an entirely new level.

Spend a day or plan a weekend to take advantage of all the wineries these various wine trails have to offer. Whichever state you choose, the locally-grown grapes in the Heartland are hand-harvested, carefully fermented and bottled to capture the taste of the area. There are riding vineyard tours, winery tours, wine tastings performed with or without food, gift shops, indoor and outdoor events, and wine for sale by the glass or the bottle. Combine all of that with some of the best scenery in the country and you will create an unforgettable weekend or day trip.
Explore the distinct, high quality wines found in these areas and enjoy learning about the expanding wine industry of this wonderful and friendly section of the U.S.