Yes! They DO grow grapes and make wine in Iowa. I was just as surprised as you probably are. In the past, I have mentioned that my family that lives in Iowa. It is a side of the family that knows how to eat, drink and be merry.

My aunt changed her career path in the past few years and opened up a boutique in Pella, Iowa. It was an instant hit thanks to her innate knack for merchandising. Her entrepreneurial spirit must have been stimulated because shortly thereafter she launched a gallery next door that carries art from Iowa artists. The final surprise was the addition of a wine room where they began peddling local wines.

This part of the story brings me to Steve, her husband. He is a special guy with a kind demeanor, the unending energy of a toddler, the fix-it skills of a master handyman, the auto know-how of a mechanic, a healthy appetite, a ready laugh and intense love for his town, his country and his family. He is a farm machinery engineer during the week and has become an Iowa sommelier on weekends. And while I am bragging about him, I might as well mention that today is his birthday. Happy Birthday Uncle Steve.

Back to these Iowa wines. The Gallerie of Pella carries three wines exclusively: Cedar Ridge from the Cedar Rapids/Swisher area, Snus Hill from Madrid and La Vida Loca from Indianola, IA. Should life bring you onto Highway 80 passing through Iowa, take a little jaunt down to Pella for a sip. You will find some crisp summer whites, creative infused wine (even jalapeno!), nice red table wines and port served in a dark chocolate cup. Cheers!