It's all very fun and entertaining ... to everyone but our kids. They're not the biggest fans of tagging along on our wine adventures, and have put together a very solid business plan on how we should transition The Wijn House from wine shop to a pet store.
They are, however, excited to go back to Fox Ridge Winery near Traer, Iowa - because they have a dog! Siva is the name of the very friendly pooch that entertained our kids while we tasted. They ran laps around each other while we loaded cases into the car and played fetch with a tennis ball, though it was hard to figure out if the dog or the kids did more of the fetching.
Fox Ridge features warm-climate dry reds including a nice Pinot Noir & a very popular Malbec. Their "Little bit cRAZy" is semi-sweet raspberry white wine that sold out VERY quickly the first time we tasted them and we're sure it will again. For those with a sweet tooth they offer a sweet Riesling with hints of peach and tropical flavors, as well as a sweet red Concord named "Deti-Vino" that is dedicated to their grandchildren.
Come try Fox Ridge Winery at The Wijn House this week!
The tulips are just starting to poke through the ground and that has us thinking Tulip Time! For the uninitiated Tulip Time (May 3rd - May 5th) is Pella's annual celebration of it's Dutch heritage. It's a huge event that brings over 100,000 people to our little town. There are two parades each day, food vendors offering everything from pizza to poffertjes, a huge art and craft fair, dutch dancers and of course thousands of tulips!
We have big plans at The Wijn House for Tulip Time! Last year we tasted 56 Iowa wines over the 3-day celebration and we're planning on breaking that record this year! We have 12 of your favorite wineries signed up to provide tastings (see the list here) as well as the wines we'll be tasting at the bar. Each day we'll have two wineries before the 2:30 parade and two different ones afterward - if you plan your days accordingly you can try them all ;)
And new this year: Wine Slushies! or is it Wine Slushys? However you spell it they're delicious and we now have a slushy machine ready to serve up some delicious treats.
We have a few more Tulip Time surprises planned as well, so keep your eyes open in the next few weeks for more fun announcements and see you the first weekend in May!
:We're taking a mini-family vacation this week so we will be closed on Tuesday, March 13. But we'll be back in full force on Wednesday to taste Ardon Creek Winery from tiny Letts, Iowa. Ardon Creek Winery was established on a 160-year-old family farm with rich a Irish heritage, so they're the natural fit for St Patrick's Day week! They have a variety of popular wines from the sweet and fruit blackberry "Old Brick Road" to smooth and rich dry red "Commission Man Red". New this week is their reserve wine: "Vintners Blend". A reserve wine is typically one that is produced in small quantities and is generally of a higher quality in the winemaker's opinion. If you're a fan of premium reds this is one you'll not want to miss. So what are we doing on vacation? Stopping at wineries every 50 miles to annoy our children of course! We also went roller skating today and Tara found out she doesn't bounce quite as well as the kids do! :) See you this week for Ardon Creek Winery at The Wijn House!
This week one of our featured wineries is Glyn Mawr Winery of Olin, Iowa. Olin is one of those little Midwest towns that is always described by what bigger town is nearby: "in between Mt Vernon & Anamosa" we tell customers. If they continue to have a blank stare we describe it as "east-ish of Cedar Rapids a ways". Glyn Mawr Winery is a small family operation that produces wines from only "estate" grapes, meaning those grown on their farm. They produce familiar Midwest varietals like Marquette, Frontenac, Brianna & Frontenac Gris, as well as several blends. Their Marquette & the wine punch they make with the Gris are especially popular in our store. Glyn Mawr also has big plans! Recently they announced they'll soon have a tasting room in the Mt Vernon downtown. The photo to the right shows the remodel still has a ways to go, but we're sure it's going to turn out wonderfully. Follow their FB page to watch their progress, and in the meantime come to The Wijn House to taste the wines of Glyn Mawr Winery all this week!
This week at The Wijn House we are tasting wines produced by five of the seven Iowa wineries that were nominated for the Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) "Winemaker of the Year" award, including this year's winner: Anne Zwink of Soldier Creek Winery
Anne holds multiple degrees from Purdue University including a masters in Wine Sensory. She is also very active in the IWGA apprenticeship program which works to establish the next generation of winemakers in the state of Iowa.
Soldier Creek opened it's doors to the public in 2014 and has since produced a full lineup of award winning wines including two on this week's tasting list:
Rubra: A flavorful and smooth red blend with aromas of chocolate, butterscotch & vanilla
Paragon Pink: A full-bodied sweet rose' wine with flavors of strawberry and grape jam
Other nominees included: Madison County, Fireside, Dubuque Heritage, Wide River, Cedar Ridge and Backcountry wineries.
Try wines from the best of the best all this week at The Wijn House!
L to R: Anne Zwink of Soldier Creek: Winemaker of the Year Tara Kohlhaas of The Wijn House: Retail Partner of the Year, Cassie Bott of Fireside Winery: Presidential Term Recognition Award
We did it! This weekend we attended the Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) annual conference and awards banquet and were so excited to receive the "2018 Retail Partner of the Year" award. Since opening our little all-Iowa wine shop we've met some pretty amazing people in the industry. From winemakers to sales reps, from tasting room managers to the great staff at the Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute there are so many wonderful people throughout the state that make our job to represent Iowa wines so much easier. Thank you to everyone that nominated and voted for us, we are so appreciative of this award and are looking forward to working with you again this year and beyond!