Our grapes are of the Northern variety all bred in Minnesota to withstand the harsh winters. But because of this, they also have a high acid content. There are a number of things we do to reduce the acid. One of which is to leave the grapes on the vine as long as possible. But with a late harvest, we always run the risk of an early snow. It’s a balancing game. Once in the production room, we can further reduce the acid by yeast selection, malolactic bacteria fermentation, and bicarbonate addition if necessary.
Northern grapes are also known for their fruity flavor as are ours. We are experimenting with different yeasts and techniques to bring out and retain that characteristic.
The soil is one of the most important aspects of growing grapes and producing wine. The field was a pasture for many years before we converted it into a vineyard. It had a good nutrient start for the plants but the soil profile was lacking.
We are rebuilding that profile so that the vines are more resistant to disease and the minerals and nutrients are replenished.
That is why the vineyard may look messy to you but it is the healthiest for the plant. We are growing grass between the rows and Dutch white clover between the plants. This helps to reduce the heat, choke out weeds and add nitrogen back into the soil.
It also rebuilds the profile by increasing worms, smaller ground insects, good bacteria, and humus.
We produce compost and use it around the plants in the spring. The stems and what is left after pressing the grapes, is added to the compost along with other yard and garden waste.
This further builds up the soil profile.
Site Specific Characteristics
"Our style is about allowing each varietal to shine."
– James Musil, Founder and Owner
The state covers just over 77,000 square miles (200,000 sq km) and stretches between the latitudes of 42°N and 45°N. South Dakota shares these latitudes with some of the most famous wine-producing areas in the world, including Bordeaux and Italy’s Tuscany region, but other climatic factors come into play in this landlocked state. Dry summers and Arctic winds in winter do not suit viticulture, and during the growing season, hailstorms and frost are a constant danger for growers. (© Proprietary Content, Wine-Searcher.)
Despite the harsh Midwestern climate, viticulture in South Dakota dates back as far as the mid-1800s, when early settlers established vineyards in the Black Hills region of the state (home to the famous Mount Rushmore monument). Now, the state is home to a small handful of wineries, mostly clustered around the city of Sioux Falls and in the Black Hills. The industry has been growing steadily since the passing of the Farm Winery Act in 1996, relying mostly on custom from locals and out-of-state tourists.
We keep spraying to a minimum. Since it was a horse pasture for many years, weeds are a constant problem. We pull and cut constantly to control them. We only use herbicides around the perimeter. We do however use a fungicide during the early and mid-growing season due to our humid summers.
We do not spray for insects. We encourage birds and good insects to do that for us. We have a variety of birds that include starlings, wrens, orioles and others. Our favorite insect is the lady bug. But this also creates a problem when the grapes are ripe. Robins, flickers, and, to a lesser extent, orchard orioles are our biggest competitors. So, we use bird netting and add it when we see the first grape turn color. The Sphinx moth caterpillars will get their share of leaves before the birds find them but eventually, they do find them.
Uncork & Unwind
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