In: Gen5 Wine Club

Comments Off on What’s Old is New: The History of Meads

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.

Sparkling Peach Mead_2

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!


In: Gen5 Wine Club

Comments Off on Harvest Season Returns

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.


In: Awards

Comments Off on Calamity Jane Wins Big

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.


In: News

Comments Off on Prairie Berry Winery Highlighted for Commitment to Staff Education

The Rapid City Journal recently highlighted our commitment to educating staff about wine, food, and our company’s stories and valued.

Click here to read the full article.


In: Wine

Comments Off on Saving Your Wine from Summer’s Side Effects

By Franny Myers, Gen5 Wine Club Associate

There is no better place to be in the summer than the Black Hills, the sunshine, the smell of the pine and the heat! But, that heat isn’t always such a good thing.

While those hot, hot days are perfect weather for a day at the lake, incessant warmth is not kind to traveling wine. Whether you are shipping it home or taking it with you on the rest of your vacation, here are some things to keep in mind before you enjoy your wine.

  • Wine makes a great souvenir. Just remember that leaving your wine in a hot vehicle for an extended period of time can damage it. Take your wine inside as soon as possible. If Prairie Berry is just the first of many stops, sticking your wine in a cooler will help protect it from the heat and the light. We want you to enjoy your wine at home as much as you enjoyed it with us.
  • No room in your car for your case of wine? Let us ship it for you, and we can worry about the heat. Our Shipping department checks the temperature both in the Black Hills and wherever its final destination is. We will hold the package until it is safe to ship (below 90). Of course, if you have any questions about your wine shipment you can always give us a call. 605.574.9636. Once your wine arrives safely on your doorstep, make sure you store it in a cool, dark place, like a basement or a closet.

Wine can be a little delicate, it doesn’t like to be too hot, or too cold, but it is worth that extra bit of protection to enjoy a glass in the peace and quiet of your own home.


In: News

Comments Off on Prairie Berry Supports New Black Hills Works Program

Prairie Berry, LLC helped mark a milestone in a new program developed by Black Hills Works on June 13.

Gregson’s Gardens, which is where much of our local produce comes from for us in our Kitchen and Prairie Berry Made products, has been assisting Shad in building a hydroponic garden and caring for his plants. Shad began growing rhubarb last year, and this morning co-founder Matt Keck purchased Shad’s first crop.

Matt, Shad, and Todd

Matt Keck, Shad, and Todd Gregson outside Shad’s Rhubarb Patch.

Black Hills Works received a grant to launch the Hydro Greenhouse in October 2015. The purpose is to grow chemical- and pesticide-free produce and to supply it to local consumers while employing, training and mentoring people with disabilities. Black Hills Works’ goal is to eventually employ 10-25 people in the greenhouse.

Shad watering his rhubarb with an adaptive watering device.

Shad watering his rhubarb with an adaptive watering device.

For more on this story, check out articles from these media outlets:

For more information about Black Hills Works’ Hydroponic Gardening program, click here.


In: Awards

Comments Off on Prairie Berry Brings Home 17 Medals

Summer is off to a great start here at the winery. We were recently notified that 17 of our wines earned medals at the 2016 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition.

One of our newest wines, Black Raspberry Merlot Fusion, and our LaCrescent 2015, made with South Dakota-grown grapes, were both named Double Gold award winners, the highest award possible in this competition.

2016 Fusions with Medals_2

Two of our Fusion wines, Pomegranate Riesling and Strawberry Moscato Fusion, as well as our Frontenac 2015 earned Gold medals. Also bringing home awards are Blue Suede Shoes, Lawrence Elk, Gold Digger, Wild Bill, Anna Pesä Muscat Blanc 2015, Anna Pesä Chenin Blanc 2015, Phat Hogg Red, Red Ass Rhubarb, Crab Apple, Brianna, Anna Pesä Symphony 2015, and Calamity Jane.

This latest round of awards brings our grand total since 2001 to 897. Browse all of our awards here.


In: Gen5 Wine Club

Comments Off on How to Choose Wine for your Dinner Party

By Franny Myers, Gen5 Wine Club Associate

I love a good dinner party. I come from a long line of amazing hostesses–my mother took home a purple ribbon at the South Dakota State Fair for her table setting demonstration in 1972. Despite my impressive lineage, when it comes to dinner parties, my ambition far outweighs my skill.

So, I turned to Kate Hayes, Prairie Berry’s Wholesale Manager and Employee Educator for some advice.

Question: Dinner party day is upon us. I’ve braved the grocery store, I’ve cleaned the house, I’ve paced the living room wondering if I should call the whole thing off. What’s next?

Answer: You’ve done the hardest part! The wine and food are the FUN part of planning a dinner party…as long as you feel prepared. So, here we go!

How many bottles of wine should I have on hand for a party of six?

There are four standard (6 oz) pours in a 750ml bottle of wine. Consider what part the wine will play in the dinner party. Is it for the appetizer/salad course? If so, there’s a lot more wine to come. Plan on 1 to 1.5 glasses per guest (two bottles).

As you proceed through the planning, consider that your guests will most likely linger over dinner and enjoy two full glasses per person (three bottles). Dessert wines can be poured in much smaller amounts; think 3oz per guest. Stick to one bottle and some great coffee for your dessert course.

How many kinds of wine should I purchase?

I would stick to three in the scenario listed above. A fun, refreshing wine to welcome your guests and enjoy appetizers/salad, a well matched wine for the main course, and a fun dessert wine.

People will drink the wine you offer them, so don’t plan on having six different wines for six different guests. They will love what you’ve chosen to pair with your food.

For dessert, should it be a wine float?

Ha! That would be interesting to say the least! If you would like to actually incorporate wine into your dessert, consider making a wine slush or sorbet with Prairie Berry Made Frost Bite.

If you would like wine to go with something you’ve prepared, stick with this simple rule: your wine should be sweeter than your dessert so that your wine isn’t lost in translation. Having a dark chocolate torte? Consider a rich, fortified wine. Strawberry shortcake? Consider Prairie Berry’s Strawberry Moscato Fusion for a perfect pairing.

Don’t forget! Have sparkling water or soda on hand for guests who may be driving.

Thank you, Kate! With the food ready and the wine set, the only thing left to do is host. Purple ribbon, here I come!


In: Gen5 Wine Club

Comments Off on If you like this Wine, Try this Craft Beer

By Franny Myers, Gen5 Wine Club Associate

This is Franny, one of Prairie Berry Winery's Gen5 Wine Club associates.As a dedicated wine drinker, my knowledge of beer begins with Super Bowl commercials and ends with Clydesdales. Thankfully, working at Prairie Berry has its perks. Kate Hayes, Prairie Berry’s Wholesale Manager and Employee Educator, decided to help me tiptoe into the world of craft beer.

Selection can be determined by how a craft beer, like a wine, feels in your mouth. This is a characteristic known as mouth feel, says Kate. The weight of the wine and the bitterness can also translate into the world of beer.

If, like me, you’re an experienced wine drinker but want to learn more about craft beer, the following tips are for you. Kate has rounded up several popular Prairie Berry wines and paired them with similar craft beers from our brewery, Miner Brewing Company.


If you like this wine:

Anna Pesä Chardonnay
Characteristics: Fresh, light and bright flavor with a burst of green apple. Lightly oaked, dry and mellow acidity. Then you might like this beer:

Pouring Gose

Sea salt and citrus give Gose its refreshing, dry and lightly sour profile. A hint of sweetness, light salt and minerality on the nose with a bright, delicately sour finish.

Food pairings: Goat cheese. The light, refreshing bodies Anna Pesä Chardonnay and Miner Gose are great matches for a young, creamy cheese.

If you like this wine:

Anna Pesä Meritage
Characteristics: A traditional blended wine of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, which softens the wine. This is a heavier wine on the palate, similar to a heavier beer. Then you might like this beer:


MINER Dr. Valentine
This Imperial Red IPA is deep amber to dark copper in the glass and offers light hop citrus and toasted malts on the nose. Fresh hop bitterness and malts are well-balanced and smooth with a lingering bitter finish. Dr. Valentine has a dry feel and is packed with flavor. With hints of caramel and a bitter hop finish, it’s similar to characteristics exhibited by dry red wines.

Food pairings: Young, sharp cheddar with crusty bread pairs great with both the Anna Pesä Meritage and Miner Dr. Valentine

If you like this wine:

Red Ass Rhubarb
Characteristics: Prairie Berry Winery’s best-selling and most award-winning wine has a raspberry flavor up front that fades to earthy rhubarb and offers an intense balance of fruity and tart. Then you might like this beer:

Fruit Side Dish - Glamour_1

MINER Fruit Side Dish
Brilliant amber rose in the glass with notes of tart cranberry, sweet raspberry and bright green apple on the nose and palate. Light and refreshing with fine carbonation and a dry finish.

Food pairings: A spicy nut mix, a young cheese board with goat cheese and our Kick Ass Compote.

Ready to dive into the world of craft beer? Enjoy these and other Miner craft beers at Miner Brewing Company in Hill City and at Prairie Berry East Bank in Sioux Falls. And remember, whether sampled from a growler or in a pint glass, there’s no wrong way to enjoy new beer. Explore, ask questions and repeat.


In: Awards

Comments Off on Gold Digger Wins Double Gold at 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

We kicked off the New Year on a high note, bringing home four awards from the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Recognized as the largest competition of American wines in the world, this year’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition received more than 7,100 entries from 28 states across the country. It was the highest number of entries ever received for the competition.

We were delighted to have been among the exclusive few to earn awards.

The star among our entries was our popular Gold Digger pear wine, winning a Double Gold medal. Gold Digger also won Best of Class among the entered fruit wines at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle. The latest Double Gold medal brought the grand total awards for Gold Digger to date to 37.

Our popular Crab Apple wine won a Gold medal, bringing that wine’s grand total awards to 36. Our Lawrence Elk and Anna Pesä Chenin Blanc 2015 wines also won awards.

This latest round of awards brought our grand total since 2001 to 880. Browse all of our awards here.