Thursday, August 23, 2012
Wine lovers, rejoice. While there are no official vineyards in Alaska, we DO make wine in the Last Frontier! While any grape-based wines produced in our state are made with imported grapes or contain a grape-concentrate base mixed with local berries, our state's wineries also feature wines based on rhubarb, dandelion, wildflowers, and other natural flavors of the area. Three wineries in our state offer tastings, so plan your wine-tasting getaway to the northernmost state today!
Alaskan Wilderness Winery
498 Shearwater Way in Woodland Acres approximately 10 minutes from downtown Kodiak
Steve and Lisa Thomsen started this winery on a wing and a prayer, and are thrilled that their wines are so well received! Back when he was a logger, work opportunities for Steve were seasonal, scarce, and demanded that he be away from home when they came. The owners wanted to start a business that could keep their family together. With no wine-making experience, the duo set off to Napa, CA for pointers and ideas. Then they moved from Port Lions to Kodiak where wine-making is welcome. The rest, as they say is history. While Steve and Lisa both have "day jobs," their love of wine-making keeps them excited for the day that they can devote all of their time to it!
The Thomsen family proudly welcomes you to try their select wine offerings, each and every one a small-batch, award and medal winning vintages including: Salmonberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Black Currant, Wild Rose Mead, and Fireweed Mead (all ingredients are hand-picked). Complimentary wine tastings are available by appointment.
Alaska Denali Winery
1301 East Dowling Rd, Suite 107, Anchorage
Owners Mike and Cathy are new winery owners who are thoroughly enjoying this new endeavor. Their love of creativity makes wine-making a perfect match for them! Look for some of Mike's wood-turned wine stoppers when you visit!
The unique thing about this winery is that they don't make large batches of pre-determined wines. While Mike and Cathy do offer a large selection of traditional, imported grape-based wines, along with agave-based margarita wine, a hard lemonade, sherrys, ports, and ice wine, things are done a little differently: wines are 'micro-brewed' for each customer that orders. When visitors attend a tasting, they select which wines they want, and then the creation process begins! Once the wine is made, the customer is invited back to help with bottling, corking, and capping, if they wish, allowing for a very personal experience (if you can not attend this portion or pick up wines, shipping may be available to some states in the US). Wines can be labeled specifically for an event, occasion, or even specifically for an establishment.
Denali Winery is open for tastings on Tuesday-Thursday, 12pm - 8pm, and Friday-Sunday, 12pm - 10pm. A tasting flight of 10 wines (4 red, 4 white, and 2 dessert) is $20 per person. Tasters are encouraged to bring food to enjoy with the tasting (cheese trays, pizza, fruit, meat, bread, crackers, whatever!), as the winery does not have a license to serve food. Please note that no one under 21 is allowed in the winery after 3pm, and be sure to have your ID when you come to taste!
Bear Creek Winery
60203 Bear Creek Drive, Homer
Bear Creek is a B&B member of the BBAA, meaning that when you stay with them, you don't even need to drive to your wine-tasting destination!
What started as a hobby for co-owner Bill Fry has evolved into a living for both him and his wife Dorothy. Bill began making wines after tasting a friend's homemade Rhubarb Wine, and quickly evolved out of the main house and into the garage, experimenting with fruits, flowers, and more. Once his friends got a taste of his labors and raved, the hobby became a winery business, coupled with a B&B. The wine awards came, and they quickly grew out of their residence, opting to build their current facility and romantic inn. the Frys are also proud to hold Alaska's Green Star Award, showing commitment to their community and the environment by collecting used wine bottles to re-use, cleaning and sanitizing them to bottle their wines.
Bear Creek offers a wide variety of berry- and fruit-based wines (raspberry, black raspberry, strawberry, shirazzberry, gooseberry, blueberry, black currant, pomegranite, rhubarb), and a traditional Port wine. Specialty and seasonal wines include Meads & Melomels, Kiwi-Pear, Peach-Apricot, Chocolate Raspberry Port, Holiday Spice, and Apple wine offerings. Complimentary tastings are available from May through September from 10pm-6pm daily; and from October through April from 12pm-6pm Monday-Saturday and 12pm-4pm on Sunday. The B&B is open for guests year-round.
With these three award-winning wineries, a wine-tasting holiday is a great reason to stay at a member BBAA inn. Let us show you true hospitality and help you have a perfect visit!