Iowa is blessed with the ideal combination of geology and climate for wine production, so it’s no surprise that the state also boasts a number of exceptional vineyards that are well worth a visit.
If you’re a wine-lover planning a trip there – or even if you’re a local wondering what’s available in your area – here’s our guide to the best wineries in Iowa so you’ll know where to head.
Best Wineries in Iowa
1. Stone Cliff Winery
The story of Stone Cliff Winery began in 1996 when owners Nan and Bob Smith moved to Dubuque to raise their daughters. They bought a farm, and quickly realized the potential for growing grapes, and by 2000, they planted their first vines.
In 2007, they moved their operation to the current location, and since then, they haven’t looked back.
When visiting, you can enjoy wines from the winery in the tasting room, along with delicious food items from their weekday lunch menu that includes fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps and flatbread pizzas.
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, they have live music and entertainment, making it a fun and laid-back place to sit and sip a glass of wine in good company while overlooking the Mississippi river.
This winery is also available for hosting weddings and other events – check the website for further details.
Address: 600 Star Brewery Drive, Dubuque, IA 52001
Email: Contact via website
2. Ackerman Winery
The Ackerman Winery claims to be the one with the longest history in the whole state of Iowa, tracing its origins right back to 1956 when founders Harry and Louisa Ackerman began making fruit wine in their basement in South Amana.
In time, they passed the operation onto their son Les and his wife Linda, who increased the range of wines to over 20 different types.
In 2001, the winery moved from South Amana to Amana, and in 2015, it was taken over by new owners Bill and Rona Wyant.
Since then, under their guidance, Ackerman Winery has continued to make fruit and grape wines, many of which have picked up various awards.
They focus on making wine that “tastes good”, so it’s just the kind of thing people who love wine but not the pretentions will appreciate.
A visit to the winery offers the opportunity to taste their produce, including some of the more original fruit wines they make. The site is small, so it has a personal feel to it, and it’s a great place to stop for a chat, a glass or two of wine and a bite to eat.
They also sell a range of interesting wine-related products and souvenirs, many of which would make ideal gifts for your wine-loving friends.
Address: 4406 220th Trail, Amana, IA 52203
3. Eagles Landing Winery
A small family-run winery that prides itself on its friendly welcome, Eagles Landing has been producing wine since 2003 – some of which has gone on to win prestigious awards.
The winery boasts a stunning location, ensconced in the picturesque hills along the Mississippi river, not far from the Pikes Peak State Park.
This is another unassuming and unpretentious winery, and if you visit, they’ll even give you some complimentary samples to taste.
Having tried them, you’re under no obligation to buy – although if you love good wine, you’re unlikely to leave without at least a couple of bottles. They produce over 30 different wines from dry to sweet, so you’re sure to find something you like.
The winery also puts on special events with live music on weekends – check their website for a detailed list of acts.
Address: 127 North St, Marquette, IA 52158
Email: Contact via the website
4. Bodega Victoriana Winery & Wedding Barn
Bodega Victoriana has strong Spanish influences, both in the wines they produce and the food on their menu, all of which comes from the time founder Doug and his family spent living in Spain.
The first vines were planted in 2005, and the winery now produces a range of wines with intriguing names such as Bull’s Blood, Drunken Sailor and Walk of Shame, which you can drop in and sample in the on-site tasting room.
They serve a range of snacks designed to pair perfectly with what’s in your glass, and on Sundays, they also offer flatbread pizzas.
As you can guess from the name, the winery is also a popular venue for weddings, providing a stunning backdrop for the big day. Full details concerning the services they offer can be found on their website.
Address: 60397 Kidd Rd, Glenwood, IA 51534
Email: Contact via the website
5. Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery
Cedar Ridge originally made its name as a distillery rather than as a winery, so if you’re partial to a drop of whiskey, this is a place you’ll love. Their bourbon is made from Iowa corn and is aged for a minimum of three years, making it, as they say, “the Midwest in a bottle”.
However, for those who enjoy their wines, there’s more than enough to keep you interested.
They produce three categories of wine, “house”, “estate” and “premiere”, and you can enjoy a glass or a bottle among friends in their excellent restaurant along with some of the irresistible food prepared there.
In short, this is a place that’s worth the trip simply for a great meal and a glass or two of wine to wash it down – but if you’re interested in whiskey or other spirits too, there’s even more reason to head on over.
Address: 1441 Marak Rd NW, Swisher, IA 52338
6. Tycoga Vineyard & Winery
Tycoga is a wonderful winery to visit – and one that has a few original touches to keep things interesting. For example, during the winter months, they offer “igloos” to rent, heated bubbles that allow you to sit and enjoy your wine outside without feeling the cold.
During the warmer parts of the year, you can simply sit outside and enjoy the beautiful vineyard scenery and the idyllic rural setting, the perfect backdrop for sampling their produce.
The story of this vineyard and winery is interesting too. Originally, the owners only planted a few vines to grow grapes to be sold as fruit.
However, one day they were visited by someone who noticed the quality of their grapes and recommended they switch to using them for winemaking – and the rest is history.
They now produce a full range of styles, from sweet dessert wines to big, bold, dry reds.
They have entered their wines into the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition every year since 2015 – and have never come away empty-handed, winning bronze, silver and gold medals.
Along with the wines, the winery also serves food to accompany what you’re drinking – including some delicious wood-fired pizza.
The winery is also available for events such as weddings. Information can be found on their website.
Address: 2585 195th St, DeWitt, IA 52742
7. Penoach Vineyard and Winery
Penoach is an unassuming and welcoming winery based around a repurposed barn that was originally built in 1917. It boasts a cozy tasting room and a covered patio, and the owners strive to create a fun and inviting atmosphere where you can sample and enjoy their wines.
The different wines they make are all produced from the vines of their own vineyard. Visitors are also permitted to stroll around the property to see where the grapes are grown, all while enjoying the exquisite rural surroundings.
The owners are extremely knowledgeable about their craft and are always keen to talk to visitors about what they do and the wines they make.
Furthermore, the winery organizes events such as music nights, buffet nights and more – details can be found on their website.
It’s also possible to hold events such as weddings there, and again, more information is available on the website.
Address: 26759 N Avenue, Adel, IA 50003
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – or contact via the website
8. Summerset Winery
From humble beginnings, this winery grew into a relatively large-scale operation with 12-acres of vines. However, it has never lost the charm of the small family-owned business it was when it started, making it a real pleasure to visit.
While there, you can enjoy the outdoor terraces and decks at the same time as sampling the wine made there and appreciating the lovely Iowa scenery.
This winery even offers free tasting to give you an idea of the kind of wine that’s on offer to help you decide which bottles you’d like to take home with you.
The large purpose-built barn now houses a cellar, a wine tasting room, an events hall, a meeting room, a gift shop and a grand banquet hall, so whether you want to visit as a small group or hold a large event there, the winery will be able to accommodate you.
Address: 15101 Fairfax St, Indianola, IA 50125
Email: Contact via the website
9. Jasper Winery
The story of Jasper Winery started in 2000 when the Groben family planted their first vines. The original operation involved a small winery building in Newton, but the business soon outgrew those premises, and by 2009, a new winery had opened at the current location.
Visitors to the winery are treated to up to five free samples of the wine produced there, and as well as wine, the bar also serves beer, sangria, cider and soda. They also serve snack food to accompany your drinks – although they don’t offer meals.
During the warmer months, you can enjoy drinks outside on the patio, and they also organize the Summer Concert Series every Thursday throughout the summer.
These events are free and open to all – you can bring a picnic, but food is also available from food trucks on-site.
The winery can also be booked for weddings and other private events – check the website for more information.
Address: 2400 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50321
10. Fireside Winery
This winery is owned by the same Wyant family that now also runs the Ackerman Winery, but this one was their original foray into the winemaking business.
The name of the winery comes from the idea of cozy fireside chats, an intimate moment to share with family and close friends – and the winery boasts three outdoor firepits, allowing you to enjoy a glass or two of their excellent wine as you do just that.
There’s also a tasting room where you can sample a selection of the wines they produce. Tasting isn’t free, but the prices are reasonable, making this the ideal way to learn more about their wines – and the knowledgeable staff are always on hand to answer any questions.
Note that larger groups are currently not accepted as walk-ins – but for groups of eight or more, you can book a private tasting with a guide for an even more memorable experience.
Address: 1755 P Ave, Marengo, IA 52301
11. Madison County Winery
Another family-owned and run business, Madison County Winery began planting vines in 2001, with the first wine being produced in 2005.
Since then, the operation has continued to grow, and in 2010, they opened a dedicated tasting room to allow visitors to stop by and sample their produce.
Nowadays, they offer a selection of five wines to taste for a very reasonable low price, and they also serve either cheese and meat platters or chocolate, all specially selected to pair perfectly with the wines you’re drinking.
When the weather is fine, you can also sit outside to enjoy food and drinks – and since they serve craft beer too, it’s worth a visit just for the atmosphere and the locale, even if you’re not a wine drinker.
Madison County Winery is also available for weddings and other events. Check the website to learn more.
Address: 3021 St Charles Rd, St Charles, IA 50240
Many great wineries to see – and plenty of wines to taste
Whether it’s small, family-run operations or larger wineries surrounded by extensive vineyards, Iowa has a great selection of places to choose from. In fact, for many people, the hardest part will be deciding which to visit first.