About

The Prairie Berry Story

The Prairie Berry story begins with our fifth generation winemaker Sandi Vojta’s great-great-grandmother, Anna Pesä. Before immigrating to the Dakota Territory in 1876, Anna made traditional European wines for our family in Moravia, Czechoslovakia.
Making Wine in Dakota Territory

Anna brought along a few essentials, including her winemaking supplies and the family’s Czech crystal wine glasses. But, when she arrived at her new home near Mound City, she found only prairie berries—chokecherries, buffaloberries, wild plums and currants—and had to adapt her winemaking traditions to match the landscape.

At that time, winemaking was a means of saving each summer’s bounty to enjoy during the long, cold winter. Life wasn’t always easy, but the family easily found joy in sipping wine from their Czech crystal glasses.

Brewing Beer in the Black Hills

Also in 1876, and just a short journey from Mound City, the Black Hills gold rush was in full swing. Most Black Hills settlers, including our Brewmaster Sandi Vojta’s family, were European immigrants who brought heritage and culture from the Old World.

Brewers were instrumental to the Black Hills mining community, making beer for the miners with special ingredients that were shipped from Europe.

Building our Family of Businesses

Today, through the Prairie Berry family of businesses, we pay homage to our family’s winemaking history and to the beer-making traditions of the region’s early settlers.

Prairie Berry Winery became South Dakota’s second commercial winery in 1998 and was named after those prairie berries that Anna found growing in Dakota Territory long ago. Sandi handcrafts each wine on-site in the winery’s production area, often using passed down family recipes.

We opened Miner Brewing Company in 2013 and chose that name to pay homage to the early Black Hills settlers, miners and brewers. The brewery was a natural fit and next step for us. In fact the company’s owners hatched the idea for Prairie Berry Winery while enjoying a few pints of chokecherry beer that they had brewed at home in Mobridge, South Dakota.

The Homestead, our Black Hills events venue, opened next door to the winery in 2014 and is an extension of Prairie Berry Winery’s authentic South Dakota experience. Prairie Berry East Bank launched in 2014 and marked the eastward expansion of Prairie Berry to Downtown Sioux Falls, SD. At Prairie Berry East Bank, our guests can sip, savor and enjoy all the flavors of Prairie Berry.

We also released our award-winning Anna Pesä wines in late 2014. These are handcrafted traditional European wines that connect the beauty and heritage of our family’s past with the possibilities of today.

Many things have changed since the Prairie Berry family first settled in Dakota Territory, but not everything. We’re still handcrafting wines and craft beers following passed-down family and regional recipes and we’re still taking time to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.