It is obvious that the Amana Colonies are a tourist destination. Why else would a town like Amana, Iowa, with a population around 500 residents, be able to support multiple wineries. Fortunately for us, this made for the perfect chance to create a walking Amana Wine Trail tour. Now it is highly possible that this will become an actual tour in the future, so if it does perhaps they will name it the “Our Changing Lives Wine Trail”. One can always hope. All of the wineries in this article are located in the main town of Amana, which also holds most of the restaurants and shops. Being within close proximity certainly adds to the charm, when doing a walking wine trail.
#1 – Ackerman Winery
We started our walking tour after we left the Amana Heritage Museum, which is located on the West end of the town. The whole tour covers a walk of about 1/2 mile, and has nice sidewalks along the way. Our first stop was at Ackerman Winery, which is the oldest operating winery in the state of Iowa. It began in 1956, and has continued ever since. They offer a good variety of fruit and grape wines, and even have a few exotics. Have you ever sampled rhubarb wine or how about dandelion? Well you can at Ackerman. For those more classic wine lovers, they also carry a nice selection of traditional wines. Many of these have won prestigious awards from around the country.
#2 – Sandstone Winery
This small, and unassuming winery had the distinction of being adjacent to a 150 year old sandstone house. They carry a smaller number of varieties, but focus on delivering the best flavor from each. Here we found more fruit wines, which ended up being a theme in Amana. We had a hard time choosing our favorite, but finally decided it was the cherry based wine. You will not want to miss this place, so keep your eyes peeled for the sign. The entrance is actually down a driveway, which was quite unique.
#3 – The Village Winery
If we were giving awards for the most unusual wineries in Amana, it would certainly go to The Village Winery. This is another place that focuses on fruit based wines, and also throws in some exotics. Here we sampled elderberry, pineapple, and cranberry based wines. They offer 15 varieties, and all of their wines are produced on site, just as it has been done for three generations. After we finished sampling (and purchasing), we moved into the Four Seasons portion of the shop. Here we found a wide variety of home decor and various trinkets. It certainly offers a short diversion from all of the tastings.
#4 – White Cross Cellars
Our final stop was at White Cross Cellars, which offers a more traditional approach to wine making. Here we found a nice variety of white and red wines, which are produced with many similarities to German and French wines. The owner explained that many of the grapes are grown locally, but they also ship in some varieties from outside the region. This allows them to create wines that would not usually be bottled in the area. After tasting a few, we found a lot of similarities to California wines. This place certainly has set itself apart from the fruit based wines offered in the other wineries in town.
By the time we finished, we had sampled many fine wines from the region. What we discovered was that each winery had its strong points, and by visiting them all, we had a more complete understanding of the wine making history in the Amana Colonies. It was certainly an eye opening, and palate pleasing experience. We hope that you too will make a trip to Amana, Iowa to sample the delicious wines that can be found in this quaint tourist town. Let us know which are your favorites, and we will see how it stacks up to our choices. Thanks.