Julien's Journal January 2017 (Volume 42, Number 1) - Page 41



WINE & SPIRITS WINE & SPIRITS by John Donovan by John B . Donovan
John is always up for a glass of wine , especially when shared with friends . He is also known to enjoy good craft beer on a fairly regular basis . He is the executive director for the Dubuque Mercy Health Foundation .

There is nothing like wine for conjuring up feelings of contentment and goodwill . It is less of a drink than an experience , an evocation , a spirit . It produces sensations that defy description .

– Thomas Conklin

This month finishes the last drop of the first four years of writing for Julien ’ s Journal . With February ’ s edition a new bottle is opened , complete with a variety of bouquets and palate senses to experience .

The first “ Wine & Spirits ” article was about John Burns and what he was doing at Barrel Head Winery . In 2013 , John had a few wine award medals to his name , but since then he has more hardware than can be displayed . One in particular that he won in 2013 was a gold medal for his Dry Noiret , which was also a Sweepstakes Nominee . At the same competition , Barrel Head ’ s The Wild One Dessert Wine also took home a gold medal . Barrel Head took a double gold in the 2014 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition for his Dry Cuvee Cougar methode champenoise ( in the method of champagne ). The 2012 vintage of this wine took gold in the Mid-America competition . In 2015 at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition Barrel Head took two silver medals , one for his Dry Concord and another for the Dry Apple wine . He also garnered four Bronze medals for his Sweet Blush , Sweet Cranberry , Dry La Crescent , and Dry Tom Cat Champonese . The Barrel Head Sweet Blush and Dry Marechal Foch both took silver medals in the 2015 Mid-America Wine Competition . These are just a selection of medals for John Burns and Barrel Head Winery . Several other wineries in the areas , including Heritage Winery , Tabor Home , and Park Farm , have also earned medals in competitions .


Back in 2008 , Iowa boasted over 80 wineries statewide , but since then the Iowa wine industry has seen rapid growth and currently boasts more than 100 wineries and nearly 300 vineyards , covering 1,250 + acres . Just last year , Wine Diamonds , a film about the flourishing wine industry in the Midwest , was shown at a special screening during the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival . It tells the story and details of several of the area wineries that are producing regional , national , and international award-winning wines . Grapes being grown in the Midwest are relatively new in comparison to Noble Grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay that have been around for hundred if not thousands of years . The fact that Iowa and Midwest grapes and wines are beginning to catch the eye of wine enthusiasts around the world is a harbinger of things to come .
Speaking of local wineries , it is worth your time to check out the wineries just over Iowa ’ s borders . North of us in Minnesota , they are making some very nice , awardwinning wine and the same goes for many creative people in Wisconsin . If you are traveling north toward the Twin Cities , head over to Kasota , MN and visit Chankaska Creek Winery . Or , just north of Lacrosse in Trempealeau , WI , visit Elmaro Winery . Both of these will show you a number of different quality wines being produced in our region . And don ’ t forget the wineries in Illinois , especially those of Galena Cellars Winery headed by the Lawlor family . Chris and her brother Scott have been pioneers in the industry and have helped many a winemaker get started . Mark Wenzell of August
Outside patio at Chankaska Creek Winery in Kasota , MN . August Hill tasting room . Contributed photo . Julien s Journal