Déjà Deadwood

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Welcome to Prairie BerryYou thought I was done with the Black Hills, didn’t you? Sorry, I really had been headed for the Prairie Berry Winery when I encountered Stone Faces. And it wasnt possible for me to pass up the opportunity to stop at TWO wineries in a single day and so I continued down the road to my original destination.

Yes, this is really South DakotaThe driveway went up a little hill and there was an an entrance through the patio. The room was spacious and modern. Not at all what someone would expect from a South Dakota winery. But then the folks at Prairie Berry have been at this for five generations when Anna and Josef Vojta set up a homestead in Mounds, South Dakota. Anna brought with her the tradition of wine making from Moravia (now the Czech Republic) and taught it to her daughter-in-law Frances, who passed it to her son, Frank, who passed it to his son, Ralph and finally to his daughter, Sandi. When asked about the source of the fruit, Anna would tell her family that her wine was made from the prairie berries. The winery has existed at its current location since 2004 and still uses the old family recipes that use local prairie fruits, grapes and honey.

Very tart

I tried to taste wines that were made with local grapes or fruit or were drier and so I started with:

The Phat Hogg Chardonnay which is unoaked with the flavors of banana and tropical fruit (though others might say mango citrus) and is lightly buttery.  Next was the Buffalo Berry Fusion which is a blend of local buffalo berries and Steuben grapes. The result is a tart, almost cranberry-like wine. Definitely a unique (and by that I mean pleasant) flavor. The Three Rednecks features a label with three pheasants in baseball hats and is a light, peppery Cabernet Sauvignon. Chambourcin from the Louis & Clark Vineyards are the source for the Phat Hogg Red. This is a great wine and I was amazed about how differently the Chambourcin was from others that I had in the past. It was definitely a smoother more well rounded wine than I expected. Finally, I tried the chokecherry medley. Why? Well, I don’t know what a choke cherry tasted like. And it turns out they are very tart. Not my favorite, but then not everything is, or should be.

Prairie Berry is a treasure in the Black Hills (or the Prairie, if you are a Little House fan).  Find them here:

Prairie Berry Winery

23837 Hwy 385, PO Box 8

Hill City, SD, 57745

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