23837 Highway 385
Hill City South Dakota 57745United States
With a cheeky signature wine, extensive deli, gifts and outdoor courtyard, this is the Hills' most-visited winery.
You can't miss this winery just outside Hill City. With its modern architecture and brazen billboard advertising the popular rhubarb and raspberry blend with a PG-13 name, the Black Hills' busiest, best-established winery hums. About 70,000 visitors a year sample a variety of fruit and grape wines; shop for gifts; and grab soups, grilled ciabatta sandwiches such as braised buffalo, housemade pizzas, and appetizers such as tomatillo-poblano guacamole, olives, cheese spreads, buffalo salami and honey-smoked trout to eat on the patio draped with grapevines. The family promotes its long history with fruit wines, beginning with a Morovian great-great-grandma from Czechoslovakia who made wines from prairie berries near her Mound City homestead in the 1870s. Winemaker Sandi Vojta and her father, Ralph, took inspiration from those early recipes to start a commercial winery in 1998. Visitors are welcome to sample the dry reds and whites and sweeter variations often mixed with fruits such as chokecherry, cranberry, elderberry, buffalo berries, pears, crabapples and wild plums. The favorite remains the sweet yet tart blend of rhubarb and raspberries, a mistake that turned into their bestseller. Lunch and appetizers are served daily, along with Wednesday Bistro Evenings in the summer when four different wines are paired with the menu. We heard nothing but good things about the food (it all sounds wonderfully fresh and high-quality) but didn't get a chance to try it. There are lots of great vegetarian options, too. You can also grab a picnic kit and a variety of nibbles, such as gourmet cheese and crackers. They've been in Hill City since 2004 (moving from Rapid City) and have won more than 500 awards for 44 wines. Many of the medals greet visitors in a wall-length trophy case and the words "There's still gold in these hills." They don't do winery tours, but they do have a new Family Table Tasting experience that's $15/person for two to 12 people each day at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. You sit in a room above the showroom/winery area and learn about different wine glasses, wine making, family stories, etc. while drinking three wines and eating "small bites" such as bison salami, truffled Gouda and dark chocolate mousse.