HILL CITY, SD – South Dakota has received another feather in its cap, due to Prairie Berry Winery’s Frontenac wine which received a Platinum Award at a new competition in San Diego, Calif., recently. Even the person running the competition was surprised at the outstanding results for a relatively unknown wine state.
At the Winemaker Challenge inaugural competition, a group of 18 notable winemakers came together to evaluate nearly 800 wines from around the world. It was the first international wine competition of its kind, where judges collaborated as members of three-person teams to scrutinize and debate each wine before votes were tallied and medals awarded.
Syndicated wine writer and competition organizer, Robert Whitley, blogged an entry entitled, “Platinum and Gold Nuggets” for www.winereviewonline.com, covering that no matter how much he’s learned, there’s still a lot more to discover.
“Take Prairie Berry, for example. It’s a winery in South Dakota. Uh huh, South Dakota. On the wine map, it might as well be Siberia. So imagine my surprise when we rolled out the wines nominated for best of show in their class and Prairie Berry is among them.
“Out of 796 wines entered, 39 were nominated for best of show. That’s a platinum honor at the Winemaker Challenge. That’s Prairie Berry. The wine was a 2008 Frontenac from the Lewis & Clark Vineyard, of all places. It will set you back $21.50 at full retail. And it was delicious; a clean, well balanced dessert wine deserving of its seat at the table. Didn’t win (a 2008 Inniskillin Riesling Icewine from the Niagara Peninsula, $80 per 375ml took the category) but it was certainly in the game.”
Frontenac wine is made from South Dakota grown grapes of the same name. Greg Stach of Lewis & Clark Vineyard near Yankton is Prairie Berry’s grape grower and works closely with winemaker, Sandi Vojta, to produce the type of harvest that will yield such a high quality wine.
In addition to the award for Frontenac, Prairie Berry received a silver medal each for their dry red, Phat Hogg Red, and their semi-dry blush wine, Pink Slip.
The family behind Prairie Berry Winery, located just outside of Hill City, S.D., has been crafting wines from South Dakota fruit since 1876. They have received 413 awards for 43 different wines since they first started entering competitions in 2001. Prairie Berry’s Tasting Room is open to the public daily, year-round.