La Vida Loca Winery – Special Guest – Slideshow

The dictionary defines La Vida Loca as Spanish for “the crazy life” and means doing wild and crazy things that make you cool.  Well, we went La Vida Loca! this Labor Day weekend.

The morning greeted me with a note on the counter from Jake that said “gone grape pickin.”  I knew what it meant as he had told me the day before that he had been asked to go help harvest grapes.  Thinking this might be something that would interest our readers I connected with owner Ron to see about coming out to learn more about their process.

Jared and I ventured our way out there about 2:30 in the afternoon and the ride out there was La Vida Loca for us!  Though this wild and crazy didn’t make us cool!  Jared drove, which was his second time to drive since getting his permit the day before.  As we were turning off the highway on the gravel road that leads to the vineyard, well he didn’t slow down enough for the corner and we about rolled the Chevy!  We ended up sideways in the road!  Jared looked at me and said, “Sorry Mom even I was scared!!!!”  Lesson learned and thankfully we only had to laugh our way through it!

Things were much calmer as we arrived at La Vida Loca Winery.  They had been picking since 9:00 o’clock that morning.  We were able to get some shots of the last grapes being harvested.  As Ron worked, he and I talked about this season’s grapes.  He mentioned that typically they are not harvesting grapes until the end of September but things were ahead of schedule this year due to the warm spring followed by hot summer.  The grapes looked really great but due to the lack of rain they were smaller than usual.  At 3:00pm we were back at the vineyard where Ron showed us how the crushing/de-stemming machine works.  Amazing!  What took all day to harvest took just fifteen minutes to remove the stems and crush all the grapes.  It took all hands to get the job done, even Jared’s.  A lot of heavy lifting and fast action.

We have included a short slide show of the process.

La Vida Loca winery is located 30 minutes south of Des Moines off Highway 92 between Martensdale and Indianola, IA.  It is not only a family owned business but like so many other family owned businesses, the family works in the business.  When I asked Ron if they built their business, he said, “We built it!  Not only from the ground up, but from below ground up!”

The grapes were planted in 2000 and they began making wine in 2002.  Ron and his partner Tony shared that their method of making wine is a traditional method in keeping with the way they were shown to make wine by their fathers and grandfathers.  It was clear to me that they take great pride in their business and in making quality wine.

The quality of their wine has not gone unnoticed as in the recent Mid-American Wine Competition held at Des Moines Area Community College La Vida Loca Winery received a silver medal for their wine La Vida Loca Red. The competition was open only to the wines of the Midwest. Over 560 wines were entered by 88 different wineries. Professional wine judges from throughout the United States awarded 41 gold medals, 105 silver medals, and 203 bronze medals.

Their website features a sampling of great recipes showcasing their outstanding wines.  La Vida Loca Winery has a picturesque landscape which plays host to several types of events and weddings.  In fact there was a wedding taking place while we were there!  If you live in Des Moines, I encourage you to make a short trip south and check out La Vida Loca Winery for yourself.  While they are closed on Mondays they are open Tuesday through Saturday 10am-5pm and Sundays from 12pm-5pm.  Each day they provide free samples of a selection of their wines.

Be sure to check back with us as Ron is going to continue to keep me in the loop on how this batch of grapes makes its way to the bottle!

Now what else does a Mom do to reward the men in her life for working hard but make a nice dinner!  So I made New York Strips with rough mashed potatoes (from the garden), green beans (from the garden) and dipping bread.  The boys said it hit the spot and the steak was perfectly seasoned.  Job well done by me too then I guess!

Here’s to La Vida Loca!



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