Out along the dirt roads of the hilly Southern Platte Valley sits the kitschy and welcoming Feather River Vineyards. Built in 2006, wine enthusiasts, locals and adventurers alike make it a frequent out-of-the-way stop for it’s picturesque views and hospitality.
Passionate vintners Jeff and Connie Brittan, with Kurt and Jeanne Pieper own and operate a tasting room on-site. They began pouring their award winning wines in 2007 and enjoy meeting visitors and educating them on the nuances of Nebraska wines. A key unique element of their winery is the viewing windows providing an insider peek into their wine production room, which includes vats and barrels. Elements of wine making speckle the room, including tables fashioned out of barrels, hand crafted wine racks and bowls; all available for a modest price.
Their impressive stretch of 35-acres makes Feather River one of the largest vineyards in Nebraska. Their mineral rich soil stems from the river sediment and strong Nebraska winds and imparts a depth to their wines indicative of the terroir. They have over 18,000 vines planted as early as 2001. The white varieties they cultivate are Seyval, LaCrosse, Riesling, Edelwiess, and St Pipen. The red varietals they grow are Marechal Foch, Frontanec, St. Croix, and Marguette; all known for their hardiness and specific development for cold climates.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped. They have a plenty of outdoor space to enjoy such as their small patio covered by a pergola, deck with umbrella tables, front porch rockers, private bistro tables, and open green space perfect for picnics; all with a gorgeous vista view of the vineyard. They also provide space for special events such as weddings.
Sweet and dry whites are their personal favorites but they also offer reds and blushes. They offer several blends and a particularly well-liked 2010 Seyval Blanc. Many of their varieties have medaled in International competitions. Most recently their 2013 Edelweiss won double gold at the 2014 International Cold Climate Wine Competition. They currently offer 20 different vintages. This includes a limited edition commemorative vintage called “Rail Time Red” to honor the heritage of the railroad workers in the area. Wine enthusiasts can sample all of their wines for a meager $5 tasting fee.
Their bottles typically cost $12, making this a prime winery to not only enjoy a peaceful rock on the porch but also return home with a quality case of wine and maybe a souvenir or two. They also offer private parties and group tours.