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How to Do the Nebraska Wine Passport in Five Weeks

When our friends, Ryan and Kelsey, invited us to their home in Louisville, NE, they mentioned grabbing drinks at a winery nearby first. We had no idea, like many others, that wineries existed in Nebraska. How could we be so oblivious? I have a feeling we’re not the only ones. 

So, we made the trip to Louisville, NE, to a beautiful winery for drinks and live music at Soaring Wings…and that’s how this whole ordeal got started! Not the passport program, just my obsession with the program. 

When grabbing our drink at the Soaring Wings counter, we saw the passports on the countertop and immediately asked about the program. 

Here’s a bit of what she said in fancier words from the website for better clarification: 

About the program: 

Hosted by the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association (NWGGA), they’re dedicated to “leading the industry toward economic viability and sustainability as well as helping wine lovers discover and embrace all that Nebraska Wines have to offer.” 

THE NWGGA created a passport that encourages Nebraskans to “take a journey of discovery” by visiting parts of Nebraska that you’ve never seen before, taste wines, and win prizes. And in 2020, we did just that (and in about 5 weeks, if I might add).

The title “How to Do the Nebraska in 5 Weeks” is click bait. I do not want you to do the passport in five weeks. We only did so because most of our summer plans were cancelled due to covid-19 restrictions and socially distancing.

If you’d like to knock out some of these wineries, I have compiled our itinerary for the weeks spent on the program and a few fun places in Nebraska to check out.

Enjoy!

Trip #1:

#13 Nissen Family Vineyards – Outline Trail Series: James Capone & Sam Bass

The family-owned and operated winery with approximately 12 acres of vineyards, produces 14 different types of grapes. They are all carefully selected and combined together to create the finest and most flavourful taste. That is why visitors to Nissen Family Vineyards can be sure that each sip that they take will be a truly outstanding experience on its own. Visit their Facebook or Website for more information. 

We loved learning about the history, they really do know their stuff. Schedule plenty of time to listen!

#12 Niobrara Valley Vineyard – Boss Cow & Sweet Pea 

Nestled in the beautiful region of Sandhills, Niobrara Valley Vineyard is definitely an off-the-beaten-path location. In these fields of grass and sand dunes, however, you will be able to truly immerse yourself into the history and meaning of the Nebraska wine-making processes. The winery is owned by a family, who has lived in the region for five generations, so they know all the secrets of the land and its soils. That is why it should be no surprise to you that every sip you take while visiting will be like no other! Visit their Facebook or Website for more information.

We enjoyed chasing cats around the barn, sipping wine and taking fun “Instagrams” as he’d say. While you’re in Northwest Nebraska, be sure to check out these fun Roadside Attractions:

Toadstool National Park
Carhendge (Alliance, NE)
Rest Area (Alliance, NE)

Be sure to read: 11 Homestead Highlights that Won’t Bore Your Boots Off

#14 Papa Moon Vineyards & Winery – Brianna with Bubbles

Located in Western Nebraska, Papa Moon Vineyards and Winery is a boutique location, which is not only perfect for a relaxing afternoon of wine tastings but also an ideal choice for luxurious events and weddings. Regardless of your wine preferences, the winery will not disappoint you with its unique craft wine selection. Make sure to give the cider a try as well, because the fresh and delicious flavours are second to none! Visit their Facebook or Website for more information. 

Scottsbluff! When will we ever see you again? Be sure to check out the trails before leaving town.

Back off, ladies! He’s all mine. 🙂

# 1 Broken Arrow Cellars & Hanging Horseshoe Brewing Co.

You might be attracted by the catchy and unusual name first, but the Broken Arrow Cellars and Hanging Horseshoe Brewing, Co. will impress you with their signature flight of 11 craft beers. If you are more old-fashioned and you are a fan of the retro design, the modern and simple style may not be your cup of tea. The wide selection of flavourful wines, however, can satisfy even the most pretentious critics as a real treat for your taste buds. Visit them on their Facebook: Broken Arrow Cellars

By the time we got to this winery, we really just wanted snacks. Hence, why I didn’t provide a recommendation. Also, Colorado is a short drive away from here.

While in the North Platte area, don’t miss Pal’s Brewing Company and Chimney Rock. Okay, Miss Chimney Rock. It’s boring.

#5 Feather River Vineyards -Rendevous 

With close to 40 acres of vineyards, The Feather River Vineyards is among the largest wineries in Nebraska. The grape varieties are endless, but each one is carefully chosen to demonstrate the region’s authentic character and history. Taking a stroll down the vines or just enjoying the warm sun rays on a summer day, should be definitely accompanied by a glass or two of their award winning wines. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#20 Three Brothers Vineyard & Winery – Three Brother’s Rose

The world-class selection of sweet whites and bold reds offered by Three Brother Vineyards and Winery is so divine and flavorful that you definitely need to plan a visit. Step outside and admire the picturesque vineyards, followed by an outstanding experience of trying some of the finest Nebraska’s wines in the beautifully decorated tasting room.  Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#9 Mac’s Creek Vineyards & Winery – Irish Jig

Situated at the heart of Nebraska, Mac’s Creek Vineyards and Winery will welcome you with an open heart and a glass of delicious wine. The owners believe in the sustainable process of creating finished products of the highest possible quality, so you can be sure to receive world-class experience. Despite being only focused on creating wine for over 20 years, in 2019 the winery also started crafting beer, so make sure to check some of their brews as well. Visit their website or Facebook or website for more information. 

We love that Mac’s does things sustainably!

Highly recommend eating and staying near Canyon Lakes when enjoying Mac’s Creek.

Trip #2

#27 Wostrel Family’s Union Orchard – Tasting Room, enjoyed more from Mac’s Creek

Widely known for its Farm Apple Market, Wostrel Family’s Union Orchard is a traditional farm with more than 100 years of history. Visitors can find a wide range of locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pumpkins, squash, etc. While you will definitely want to grab some unique jams and apple butter for home, do not forget to try the home-baked delicious donuts and pies. Combine these with a glass of refreshing cider or a semi-sweet white for an authentic taste of Nebraska! Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#22 Apple House Market – This wasn’t open due to Covid-19. They stamped us anyways.

#24 Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard

With approximately 100 years of history, Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard is not only a place to try, but also to experience and learn. The owners believe in the land’s richness and want to share their knowledge with each visitor. Start with a guided tour, followed by a walk along the nature trail or a hayrack ride through the orchard. After you have learnt about the products and processes, head to the Apple Barn Market for a treat – choose between the delicious apple pie or the warm and creamy apple donut, accompanied by a refreshing glass of cider. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#21 Whisky Run Creek Vineyard & Winery – Seyval 

As you can guess by its name, you can find more than just a fantastic selection of wines at Whisky Run Creek Vineyard and Winery. The winery opened its doors for the first time in 2002, however, its old-style retro atmosphere will make you feel like you have taken a step back in time. Besides the collection of dry reds, sweet whites and flavorful spirits, the winery features a 100-year-old barn and a hidden brick cave. All of this combined together can guarantee you a truly extraordinary experience. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#18 SchillingBridge Winery – Hell on Heels

If you are not a big fan of beer and wine, you should head to SchillingBridge Winery, which also offers a rich selection of signature cocktails. The brewery might be known for its drinks collection, however, the innovative meal items are also a must-try. Sitting on the patio and admiring the beautiful views, while treating your taste buds to an entire explosion of flavours is an experience worth having in SchillingBridge Winery. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#17 Safehouse Winery – Wise Guy  **Favorite atmosphere* 

It is a cold snowy winter day in Nebraska and you would love something to warm you up and cosy up to! Then you should definitely head to Safehouse Winery, which is known for its delicious hot mulled wine! What once started just as a hobby, is now a large lovely winery with a great wine selection decorated with retro pieces from the 19th century. Visit their Facebook or Website for more information. 

We loved the atmosphere of this tasting room and the speakeasy hidden in the back.

#16 Rich Harvest Vineyard & Winery – Tasting Room

Visitors stopping by Rich Harvest Vineyard and Winery will be first greeted by stunning scenery and warm welcoming. Quickly after that they will start immersing themselves into the unique relaxing atmosphere, while sipping on some divine deep red wines. The winery might be mainly popular for its fantastic wine selection, however, do not forget to try the refreshing cider as well!  Visit their Facebook or Website for more information. 

Trip #3:

#25 The Rose Colored Glass – Tasting Room

The Rose Colored Glass is a wine tasting room located in the heart of Stromsburg, Nebraska. With a wide selection of beverages from the local wineries across the state, visitors can choose between deep reds, semi-sweet whites or crafted beers. Cosy up by the warm golden flames of the fireplace and allow yourself to fully relax and unwind, while treating your taste buds to a delicious symphony of flavours. Visit their Facebook or website for more information.  

#10 Miletta Vista Winery – Solace 

Miletta Vista Winery is perfect if you are looking forward to trying not just the finest Nebraska’s wines, but also some delicious local food. While their lunch and evening menu is so rich and packed with entrees and appetizers to treat your taste buds to, the wine collection seems to be absolutely endless. From dry reds to sweet whites, there is a bit of everything for everyone! Visit their Facebook or Website for more information.

#15 Prairie Creek Vineyard & Winery – Afternoon Delight

Those looking for the more untraditional taste should definitely check Prairie Creek Vineyard and Winery. Visitors will find an interesting and unusual assortiment of semi-dry wines with touches of lemon, melon and grapefruit. While you will definitely be impressed by the wine collection, the rich and diverse food menu is also worth trying. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#23 George Spencer Tasting Room

Surrounded by the rural rugged natural beauty of Nebraska and 10 acres of rolling vineyards, George Spencer Tasting Room is a great place to relax and enjoy some delicious wines. Visitors can get lost in the rich wine and beer menu. Regardless of what you choose, though, you can be sure that it would be a delicious and flavorful treat, as every beverage is carefully picked from the 20 best wineries and 10 best breweries in Nebraska. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

I don’t remember where we camped, but it was nice.

#7 James Arthur Vineyards – Nebraska Red

If you head Northwest of Lincoln, you will find Nebraska’s biggest winery. Surrounded by hundreds of acres of beautiful vines, James Arthur Vineyards has been a popular destination ever since its opening in 1996. The friendly owners will welcome you to try their exquisite selection of wines, followed by a long stroll down the fields before you reach the hidden waterfall. If you are visiting during the snowy winter days, you can unwind by the crackling fireplace. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#8 Junto Wine – Frontenac 

Compared to a large number of the other Nebraska’s wineries, Junto Wine is a fairly new and modern location. Do not be quick to overlook it, though, as it will surprise you with its huge collection of fantastic wines. The drinks are accompanied by a platter of sides, while soft music is helping you to fully relax and enjoy the experience. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

# 2 Capital View Winery & Vineyard – 2017 Consensus 

As you can guess by its name, the Capital View Winery and Vineyard has more to offer than just the traditional wine tasting. While you are sipping on some of the finest wines in the region, you will be able to admire the stunning Lincoln’s skyline with its glittering lights. During the warm summer days, you can enjoy the sun on the outside patio, while the laid-back atmosphere inside is perfect to cosy up during the cold winter days. Visit their Capitol View Winery website or Facebook for more information.

#28 Whispering Winds Vineyard – Tasting Room

With new technology, don’t show up too tipsy! This little tasting room doubles as a coffee shop and has smart technology. You’ll need a card to access your tasting. 

#3 Cellar 426 Winery – Solei 

Not only does Cellar 426 Winery produce 426 delicious types of wine, but it also offers 360 degrees of stunningly beautiful scenery. The winery resembles a cute little lodge you can find hidden in between the deep green forests. Both the modern tasting room and the spacious patio are perfect for soaking up the views of the colourful sky as the sun is kissing the horizon goodnight. Visit their Facebook for more information. 

#4 Deer Springs Winery – StarGazer

The Deer Springs Winery is one of these places that can surprise you on every visit with its continuously changing selection of excellent wines. The atmosphere will allow you to immerse yourself into the authentic Nebraska life, as you are getting a real taste of some of the finest local wines. From fruity to spicy the selection of wine is absolutely divine, so no wonder that the owners are taking so much pride in their hard work. Visit their Facebook or Website for more information. 

#6 Glacial Till Vineyard – Prairie Star

From wine tastings to craft beers, the Glacial Till Vineyard will surprise you with its huge variety of experiences. The dry red may not be everyone’s favourite choice, but the winery’s specialties, such as the Marquette are not to be missed. Spend the afternoon diving into the rustic atmosphere of the tasting room, while sipping on the delicious selection of wines, accompanied by a plate of small appetizers and you will definitely want to come back for another visit! Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

Trip # 4: 

#19 Silver Hills Vineyards & Winery – Sister’s Blend

Silver Hills Vineyards and Winery is one of Nebraska’s smallest wineries. Do not be too quick to overlook it, though, because the owners will greet you with a warm smile, welcoming hospitality, rich wine selection and delicious meal items. The winery takes great pride in its hard work as they are only using locally produced ingredients from Nebraska. That is why, Silver Hills Vineyards and Winery will treat you to the most authentic and traditional taste of the region. Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

#11 Native 32 Winery – Majestic Sunset

Native 32 Winery is quite different compared to the other Nebraska’s wineries. The wine selection is quite small, however, all wines are made of Aronia berry. Not only are the berries considered one of the superfoods packed with nutrients, but they also have a very playful and flavourful taste. Most of their wines are semi-sweet and smooth with a one-of-a-kind taste. Visit their Facebook or Website for more information.

#26 Too Far North – Tasting Room

Too Far North is definitely not too far to be visited when in the Washington County of Nebraska. Despite being a relatively small place, the tasting room is among the best places to stop by for a glass of delicious wine or crafted beer when exploring the state. The retro facade will definitely provoke your interest, but the atmosphere combined with the unique flavors will be a memory you will cherish long after.  Visit their Facebook or website for more information. 

Must see: Alpine Inn — not pictured, the creepy raccoons that feed outside

Trip #5

#19 Soaring Wings Vineyard – Dragon’s Red

Soaring Wings Vineyard offers a wide selection of 12 dry wines, 10 sweet wines and 9 beers on tap. With this fantastic collection of beverages, the winery has won numerous awards, one of which “Best Wine East of the West Coast”. We think that this is a good enough reason why Soaring Wings Vineyard is one of the must-visit wineries in Nebraska. If you are still not convinced, though, we bet that the stunning scenery of rolling hills and the relaxing atmosphere will tempt you! Visit their Facebook or Website for more information.

For the last winery, we rented a bus and a driver (thanks, Dylan) and headed out to Soaring Wings with some of our favorite people for the “Last Stamp Harrah!”

Hey, Corbo!

We won free t-shirts for completing 15 or more wineries, and cannot wait to start again in 2021.

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