At some companies, enjoying your job is not a realistic prospect. But not here! When you work at Prairie Berry Winery we encourage you to be yourself, laugh, and have fun while you are working because everyone wants to love where they work.
Carol Drietz, a Tasting Room Associate, enjoys her job “because I like to work with people and meet people. I get to meet people from all over and from other countries. The people are always happy who come to Prairie Berry Winery. The atmosphere here is very calm, friendly, and it is nice to be a part of.”
“I enjoy working in the Black Hills because it is a beautiful and wonderful area,” says Sous Chef Sam Poppen. “I also love the creativity of the entire company. They have unique wines and we are able to expand upon those with our food and Prairie Berry Made products. I have the ability to be part of that process.”
Taking pleasure in your job is not just about showing up for work, but knowing that you will be part of the company by the contributions you make. Our staff has a voice and has the ability to put their mark on our products.
Join our team and be part of the Prairie Berry family! Click here to see a full list of career opportunities with Prairie Berry.
The 2016 Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition is a two-day event held is Kansas City, Mo. that features the country’s best wineries from 27 states. Prairie Berry Winery brought home 8 awards for various wines, including a gold medal for Peach Mead and silver medals for Razzy Apple and Anna Pesä Symphony 2015.
View a full list of all of our 930+ awards here.
By Kate Hayes, Sr. Associate for Product Education
IPA has become a staple in taprooms across the US. It has also recently come to be a ruler by which a brewery is measured. We have always considered ourselves “think outside the box” people, so, Sandi, our brewmaster, did just that.
Our Cuvée IPA brings in elements of winemaking, brewing, and sour brewing. The primary fermentation was a combination of malt, wine grapes, and wine yeast followed by dry hopping with Hallertau hops. Sandi finished the brew with a secondary fermentation compliments of brettanomyces, followed by conditioning on locally grown Louise Swenson grapes. Yeah…it was totally intense.
The resulting brew is complex: tart citrus notes move to rich passion fruit, with earthy, bitter hop in the finish. A beautifully balanced brew, Cuvée IPA showcases the rich interplay between wine-making and brewing.
By Colby Smith, Sr. Events Associate
If you are planning a wedding, or have friends inviting you to attend theirs, you may be noticing the growing trend of weekday weddings. We have done some investigating to see what is causing this variation from the conventional weekend celebrations, and here’s what we’ve found.
One of the biggest reasons for the shift is due to pricing. When planning a wedding on a budget, you’ll often see discounted rates during the week as compared to weekend rates. This is true not only of venues, but of most wedding vendors. These discounted rates often apply to Fridays and Sundays, in addition to Monday-Thursday.
Another factor facing brides is the limited availability of venues and vendors for popularly preferred weekend dates. Saturdays tend to book quickly, so if you are open to a weekday wedding, you’re likely to book a date sooner rather than later! We’ve also seen a similar situation where the desired wedding date holds a special meaning to the couple, but it falls on a weekday. Rather than waiting a few years for that date to land on a weekend, why not book it this year during the week!
Having a weekday wedding can be a fun change of pace for everyone. It breaks up the daily work grind for your guests, giving them an exciting reason to celebrate mid-week. This can also work well for intimate events, where out-of-town guests can extend the trip and have it double as a vacation. For example, a Friday wedding is an opportunity to have cocktails on Thursday evening and wedding festivities on Friday, leaving the entire weekend for enjoying local adventures and relaxing with friends and family.
Of course, the weekday wedding trend is not for everyone. For couples with a large guest count, traveling guests, or a traditional vision, Saturdays are still a fantastic option for celebrating the beginning of your married life together!
By Kate Hayes, Sr. Associate for Product Education
Why does Prairie Berry Winery choose Stelvin (screw caps) closures as opposed to cork? We want every bottle you open to taste as great as it did in our Tasting Room. Screw caps ensure that the wine you drink at home will taste the way the winemaker, in our case Sandi, intends it to taste. How does a screw cap accomplish all this and more? Let’s talk cork.
Natural cork comes from tree bark and Mother Nature did not create all trees equally! As the demand for wine has increased exponentially over the past two decades, the cork supply has remained limited. That means that wineries are having to use cork that would have been passed over for quality reasons in the past. Cork taint (TCA or trichloroanisole) is a bacteria that can live in cork tree bark. If a cork is not fully processed and cleaned, this bacteria can live in the cork and spread to the bottle of wine it seals.
Many wine consumers have worried about the switch from cork to alternative closures. The biggest question on wine lovers’ minds: will the wine age properly? For years, wine has relied on the porous nature of cork to provide a small amount of air for the wine to age. And while some wines are meant to age, a whopping 96% of the wines produced today are created to be enjoyed within the first 36 months of bottling. Why risk TCA when a screw cap does a better job of keeping your wine in good shape?
So, we love our screw cap closures. They keep Prairie Berry’s wine healthy, happy, and ready to drink. Also…it doesn’t matter if you remembered to bring a corkscrew!
David is the newest member of the Gen5 Wine Club team! David is no stranger and recently transferred over from Miner Brewing Company. Now he’ll be taking care of our Prairie Berry Winery members.
Because we love getting to know the people we work with, we quizzed our newest loyalty team member, and now we’re sharing what we learned with you:
- What is your favorite wine? My favorite has got to be the Anna Pesä Meritage 2013. I especially enjoy the vanilla finish. If I am feeling like something sweet, I really enjoy the Peach Mead. There really is nothing like it!
- What is your favorite beer? It so hard to pick just one, so I’ll narrow it down to two. I have to go with the Blue IPA. It is such a well done IPA, that any IPA lover would appreciate this one. With Sandi adding her personal touch to it with just the slightest finish of blueberries, it’s my top pick! A very close second is the Wassup Rhubarb?!. Growing up, we had a lot of Strawberry Rhubarb jam, pie, cobbler, etc. So this one hits close to home for me, yet is still so very unique. I can’t wait to try more of Sandi’s Sour Beer creations!
- What are you most excited about with Gen5? I am excited to get to know and work with our members, as well as getting to be involved in Wine Club events.
- What is the best part about working at Prairie Berry? Getting to be a part of the Prairie Berry team is something special. There is a balance of professionalism and fun unlike anywhere I’ve been before. Getting to know our customers and their stories has been the highlight for me so far.
By Kate Hayes, Sr. Associate for Product Education
Mead is one of the oldest fermented beverages in the world. It has been a part of celebrations all over the world from Northern Europe to Italy, France, and Spain. How did this dynamic beverage fall out of favor with modern drinkers? What sparked its recent rise in popularity?
First things first: what is Mead? Mead is a beverage made with honey, water, hops or fruit. The fruit based versions tend to taste like wine and the hop based versions attract beer drinkers.
Historically, Mead, along with wine and beer, was a regional beverage. The honey, fruit, water, and hops used in the finished product were locally sourced.
There wasn’t mass transportation to ship raw materials between regions and refrigeration was centuries down the line. Mead was a distinct expression of a region’s fruit and honey, different in each place it was available.
As it became possible to source raw materials from a distance, Mead became incredibly homogenized. Large companies produced Mead with very little flavor or regional expression. Companies also started to use cheaper, industrialized ingredients. The quality of the finished product dropped as the quality of raw materials dropped.
As with many products over the past ten years, Mead has seen a boom of interest as locally made and sourced food gains recognition. Enthusiasts from all walks of life have a renewed love for this ancient beverage. Regional meaderies have popped up all over the United States with a commitment to quality ingredients and to showcase the local fruit and honey.
Prairie Berry Winery has been using South Dakota honey in our products for years and jumped at the opportunity that renewed interest has provided. Enjoy a glass of this historic beverage with a Prairie Berry twist!
By Franny Myers, Gen5 Wine Club Associate
Summer is ending and fall is right around the corner. For me that means breaking out my flannel shirts, pouring myself a spiced ale, and traipsing into the woods to satisfy that instinctual desire to chop a tree down.
For our production team this time of the year means something very different. Harvest and crush are that time of year when our production team receives and processes all the grapes they will use that year. It is high energy, long days, and longer nights.
Before the grapes make their journey our way, the team has a pretty extensive checklist. Being a rural winery can pose some problems if we are not prepared. We must be certain all of our equipment is in perfect working order.
As soon as the trucks are in sight, our team springs into action. With all of the equipment checked and double-checked, all that’s left is to process the grapes. Once the grapes are here there is no turning back, no matter the time of day or night. The production team will gladly tell you stories of the countless days processing the grapes in a downpour, the makeshift shelters for the forklift that never really work, and how much they laugh about those days now.
Once the juice from the fruit and grapes are on their way to become wine, we are left with the used grain and grape skins. While the wild turkeys around us would prefer we left it all for them, the left over’s make their way to some local farmers and ranchers in the region, so they can treat their cows.
Made with 100% Concord grapes, Calamity Jane took home the top Sweepstakes award and a Gold for best sweet red wine at the 2016 Mid-American Wine Competition. With a total of 11 wins, that makes our total award count 908.
As one of our top 3 selling wines, Lawrence Elk took home a silver award along with Wild Bill, Anna Pesä Symphony, LaCrescent, Frontenac, Strawberry Moscato Fusion, and Pomegranate Riesling Fusion. Other winners included Phat Hogg Red and Anna Pesä Chenin Blanc.
Browse all of our awards here.
The Rapid City Journal recently highlighted our commitment to educating staff about wine, food, and our company’s stories and valued.