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Prairie Berry Winery – Hill City, SD Ep.7 Pt. 1

 

Welcome to The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast. I’m your host Forrest Kelly from the seed to the glass. Wine has a past. Our aim at The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all grape minds think alike. Let’s start the adventure.

Our featured winery is: We venture to Hill City, South Dakota. The oldest existing city in Pennington County. A 15-minute mule ride from Mount Rushmore. And about 70 miles from Belle Fourche, South Dakota, which is the geographic center of the United States. Hi, this is Angela from Prairie Berry Winery. I am the director of sales and marketing. Hello, Angela. I’ve heard of a Rocky Mountain oyster, but what is a prairie berry? It came from our winemaker, Sandy Vojta as a family heritage, actually in the late eighteen hundreds, her family, who came making wine in Europe, emigrated to the plains of South Dakota when they got here. There wasn’t much to make wine from. Obviously no grapes, things of that nature. So her great great grandmother. Her name was Anna Pesä. She started picking berries and chokecherries and buffalo berries, anything that she could find on the prairie of South Dakota. And she would refer to them as prairie berries. That story has been passed down for five generations and the winemaking tradition. And so when Sandy and her father and husband decided to start this business, it was easy to decide on the name. Prairie Berry Winery. And Anna Pesä comes here from Europe. What time frame in American history are we talking about? 1876. That was about the time in South Dakota with Deadwood was coming up in Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. And they happened to immigrate to the northern north-central plains of South Dakota, near Mobridge. Today’s what some Mobridge, South Dakota, not far from there. So 1876, Was she doing this for commercial reasons or just doing it because of what they did in her heritage to do it for themselves? Certainly, it was the tradition the women in the family would make the wine, course in the cold plains of South Dakota. That’s probably something they wanted to do to continue. Her husband would go down to the banks of the Missouri River and cut down oak trees, actually, and make her wine barrels so that she could continue producing wine just for the family. So your winemakers Sandy is a fifth-generation winemaker and she picked it up from her father, Ralph. Tell me about that. So he was making wine in his basement in Mobridge, South Dakota, long before the winery started. And she was a young girl learning, learning the ways. And it just became a passion for her and her and her husband, Matt, and Ralph. Her dad decided in the late 1990s it was time to make it real and start an wine actual business with it. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary as a winery. Last year, 1999 was our first vintage and so to speak, of wine. Now, 20 years later, we are one of the most award-winning wineries in the region. So we’ve won over a thousand international awards for our wine. That concludes part one of our interview with Angela from Prairie Brewery Winery. In our next episode, we’ll learn about how a mistake can accidentally turn into an award-winning product. Will, somebody answer that phone? Well, it’s time Boys and Girls for our listener voicemail. Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m calling from Coon Rapids, Minnesota. I am interested in wineries in the United States. And I am curious how many female-owned wineries are there? There’s a lot of different variables that go into that question. What is ownership, 51 percent or 50 percent? Is it all based on monetary reasons or knowledge? I reached out to Amy Bess Cook of wowsonoma.com, an organization that focuses on women-owned wineries. And she told me that nearly 600 out of the 10000 wineries here in the United States are female-led. Thank you for listening. I’m Forrest Kelly. This episode of the Best 5 Minute Wine podcast was produced by IHSYM. If you like the show tell your friends and pets and subscribe. Until next time, pour the wine and ponder your next adventure.

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