S. Dakota


South Dakota Wine Overview

Heading north on Interstate 29 from Omaha, Nebraska, takes you into northwest Iowa, and just beyond, southeastern South Dakota. The route into South Dakota more or less follows the path of the Missouri River, and once you enter the state you’re in the heart of South Dakota wine country.

All along the Missouri River in the upper Midwest, lush valleys are home to vineyards growing hybrid grapes suitable for this climate. From Vermillion, located near the Iowa border, up to Sioux Falls, seven of South Dakota’s wineries create wine from local grapes. This area is where most of South Dakota’s grapes are grown, due to a longer growing season and less damaging winter conditions.

About 10 varieties of grapes thrive in South Dakota, and they’re similar to those grown in neighboring states such as Minnesota and Iowa. Red wine grapes typically include Marechal Foch, Frontenac and St. Croix. A white wine grape called St. Pepin is commonly grown here, and wine from this grape is similar to Riesling. Other white wine grapes that experience success in South Dakota include Seyval Blanc, LaCrescent and Frontenac Gris.

The yield from South Dakota vineyards is healthy and prolific, and winemakers take full advantage. Some excellent wines are being produced, and it’s not unusual to see local wines on the wine lists of area restaurants.

South Dakota’s wine industry continues to grow. From a small handful of wineries just a few years ago, the count has now increased to 15 with more on the way. We were also impressed with Sioux Falls, a friendly, small city in the southeast part of the state that’s a perfect launching point for a journey through South Dakota wine country.

A white wine grape called St. Pepin is commonly grown here, and wine from this grape is similar to Riesling. Other white wine grapes that experience success in South Dakota include Seyval Blanc, LaCrescent and Frontenac Gris.

South Dakota Wine Trail

You can find an updated list of all of South Dakota’s wineries at the South Dakota Winegrowers Association website. You’ll notice most of the wineries are near Vermillion and not far from Sioux Falls, which led to the creation of South Dakota’s wine trail, the aptly named Southeast South Dakota Winery Trail. The trail includes seven of the state’s wineries, so it’s a bit much to cover in one day but very doable in two. Getting around the trail is quite easy, as Interstate 29 allows you to cover a fair amount of ground quickly. This is a particularly scenic portion of South Dakota!

Travelogue: South Dakota: Undiscovered Wine Country

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