Welcome to Odessa Vineyards’ monthly blog! We are excited to finally be able to bring this new addition to you via the blog page on our website. Each month we will provide information about vineyard management, the winemaking process, and special events and promotions.
Who We Are
Odessa Vineyards is a small vineyard and winery located in southeast Iowa just east of Wapello off of Highway 99. We are family owned and operated. Winemaking is one of our greatest passions, therefore, our goal is to provide customers with a variety of wonderfully pleasant wines to satisfy your particular tastes. We grow our own grapes on 2 acres of vineyard, which we use to make our wines in-house. We also buy some grapes from surrounding local vineyards. Supporting other local businesses is important to us! We offer free tastings of our spectacular Iowa wines, winery and vineyard tours, summer concerts, and a cozy, friendly atmosphere. We would love for you to visit!
Getting to Gnome Us
Winemaking is an ancient art. Its origins predate written record and the enjoyment of wine has spanned over centuries and continents. It requires an unequivocal passion as the creation of good wine involves highly tedious and precise processes as well as the ability to be creative. Cultures across the globe enjoy wine through religious, ceremonial, and other meaningful traditions. Wine has made its place abundantly important in our hearts and homes over time. As we at Odessa Vineyards make our wine, we imagine the stories, laughter, and love that will poured out of each bottle as our wine is shared amongst family and friends.
Due to the fact that wine is so ancient, the origin of wine is unknown. It is speculated that the making of wine occurred completely on accident. Theorists believe gatherers would find berries and leave them in a standard place, where the berries would eventually break down, warm up, and create a fermented juice. This theory doesn’t seem unlikely, but for the fact that the winemaking process is such a precise art. We can’t help but wonder whether something, whose origins also predate written record, may have helped a bit in the process. As we at Odessa Vineyards have discovered, there are creatures who exist, who could.
When we first moved to our humble acreage between the mighty Mississippi and the winding Iowa River there was a feeling of enchantment all around. The fresh country air, rolling streams, scenic bluffs and mystical nooks and crannies of the woods inspired a sensation of magic that beckoned to us - we knew something extraordinary had to be done with the land - as if something unknown was calling to us.
Our vineyard has been steadily growing for 10 years and now has provided us with more than 7,000 gallons of juice which we use to make the majority of our wines. Currently we have 24 varieties of wine to suit every palate (yes, even beer drinkers can give us a try). We’ve had good vintages as well as years when the weather didn’t allow for as large a yield of grapes. However, especially in the most difficult years, we have felt as if someone has been lending us a hand. It started with small holes around the yard. At this point we assumed we had an influx of moles, yet we were puzzled when there appeared to be small doors leading to these underground tunnels. Additionally, we noticed that the bases of the grapevines were nicely pruned. The soil was rich and the roots were flourishing. Finally, we began to notice tiny footprints leading from the vineyard to the winery and back. As a means of keeping our winery clean, we left a small pair of shoes for our strange visitor and asked kindly that he or she wear them indoors. Not long after, this visitor revealed himself with a note. “Thanks for the shoes, and the wine, vines look great this year.” We now know we have a helper in the vineyard. A helper whose expertise in vineyard management and wine making go back to the dawn of man. A helper who proves that wine is the choice beverage of creatures not only all over the world, but from all realms. A helper known as…a vineyard gnome.
Now, before you laugh, scoff, and decide we have lost our marbles, let us provide you with a brief history of gnomes and the vineyard.
Traditionally thought of as fantasy folk, (we know better now) gnomes are described as diminutive creatures known for their expertise in magic and alchemy. Alchemy, simply put, is a mix of philosophy and of hard and soft science, or in terms of gnomes, a mix of magic and science. The goal of an alchemist is to purify, mature, and perfect certain goods. In this case, wine. Our gnome, is a genus of gnome called gnomus vinea (Latin), literally translated as vineyard earth dweller. Gnomes live in underground tunnels and caverns, this is where they guard their treasure. Vineyard gnomes in particular hide treasures of particularly fine local wines. Although gnomes can be mischievous, they are completely harmless. Furthermore, they are often very hard to spot as they are secretive and disappear quickly. In ancient lore, gnomes are renowned for their abundant knowledge. Vineyard gnomes share with us a love of cultivating the land and making exceptional wines. The gnomus vinea have been winemakers and caretakers of vineyards for thousands of years.
A typical gnome is quite secretive; only coming out at night, hiding from human sight and never interacting with a human. However, our gnome is distinctive from his larger community in that he has agreed to be the ambassador between the colony of gnomes whom reside beneath our vineyard and us, the winemakers. He has begun to leave us notes about his observations and suggestions and has appeared on occasion to help us with certain tasks. As you will see below, we have been lucky enough to catch a few snap shots of him helping us out!
Our gnome, unfortunately, has no name that we as humans can accurately pronounce. Therefore, from April to May we will be asking our customers to help us Name the Gnome! With every purchase of wine, you will be able to make a suggestion for our gnome’s name. Come on in and get creative! A special prize will be presented to the customer whose name is chosen!
Furthermore, we have found our gnome to be quite articulate, and therefore, he has been awarded the opportunity to write our blog every month. Here, for the first time, we present Gnome Notes. Written by our very own vineyard gnome.