Vermillion is namesake for new wine Eldon Nygaard, owner and operator of Valiant Vineyards, presents a bottle of Vermillion Red, his new table wine, to Mayor Bill Radigan. Ten cases of the 800 bottles of the wine produced this year have already been sold. by David Lias The city of Vermillion�s name may soon become a part of the vocabularies of people who enjoy a glass of wine now and then.
Valiant Vineyards, owned and operated by Eldon Nygaard of Vermillion, recently produced a limited quantity of new red wine.
Nygaard has named it, appropriately, Vermillion Red.
Only 800 bottles of the wine were produced this year. Ten cases of the wine have already been purchased.
People interested in buying a bottle of the table wine may find it at the Vermillion Liquor Store and at Regal Liquor in Yankton.
Nygaard celebrated the introduction of the new wine to consumers Tuesday by presenting a bottle to Vermillion Mayor Bill Radigan.
�I think it�s wonderful that Al thought of naming one of his wines after Vermillion. That will identify it, of course, wherever it goes, and that can mean nothing but good for Vermillion,� Radigan said. �I think everybody in town, including myself, sincerely wishes Al and his associates all of the success in the world, because it�s wonderful to have this wine produced here.�
Nygaard said Vermillion Red is made from St. Croix grapes grown at his Valiant Vineyards near Viborg.
�It�s a French-American hybrid grape, it grows well in this area, and we�re planting more of it,� he said. �The interesting thing is that the wine comes out much like the red zinfandel that California is so famous for. It has that same peppercorn aroma, and we bottle it semi-sweet to try to accommodate more South Dakota palates. Our wines range from totally dry all the way up to dessert wines, and this one is more in the middle of the spectrum.�
People will be able to identify the wine by more than its aroma and taste. Nygaard commissioned Chuck Weidemann, a Vermillion artist, to design the labels for each bottle of Vermillion Red.
Nygaard, who is employed by The University of South Dakota, chose not to include a scene from the USD campus on the label. This unique product of the community is identified, instead, by Weidemann�s artistic rendering of the city�s older water tower located near Bloomingdale Street.
�Admittedly, I�m certainly a product of the university and I work at the university and I love the university, but I wanted to identify Vermillion, the community, the city, which encompasses also the university,� Nygaard said. �That�s why I was very precise when I picked out something (for the label).�
He feels Weidemann�s drawing of the old-style, cylindrical water tower, complete with the word Vermillion stenciled on it in bold capital letters, is quite appropriate for the wine�s label.
�This old cylindrical water tower is special to the Midwest,� he said.
Weidemann and his wife have lived in Vermillion for nearly three years since his retirement. He has worked as a chemical engineer and an equipment salesman, and in his spare time, had to pursue his interests in art as a sideline for the past 40 years.
Now that he is retired, Weidemann can devote more time and energy to his art. That likely will mean more of his creations will adorn the labels of Nygaard�s many varieties of wines.
�We�re going to do this every year,� Nygaard said. �We�ll come up with an original piece of art that people will identify our wine with.�
Nygaard, who currently is constructing his Buffalo Run Winery just beyond the city�s western edge, views his wine as more than just a product for consumption. It is a product, he said, that can help more and more people learn about Vermillion.
�We want to try to promote everything we can, from our artistry, to our culture, to the Shrine to Music Museum, to the W.H. Over Museum,� Nygaard said. �I think we can bring people into this area and start to bring things to life a little bit.�
He added that Vermillion�s progressive nature is compelling.
�The Vermillion Chamber of Commerce, the Vermillion Development Company and the city�s merchants are excited about attracting new business and cultural institutions to the community,� he said. �People are going to choose Vermillion because we�re doing something. I don�t care if its my winery or our employment here or the university. We�re on the move and that�s what�s important.�
Radigan said Nygaard�s wine represents a new dimension for Vermillion. He noted that for five decades now, Vermillion�s only home-produced items have been the superb brushes still being manufactured here by Douglas Rose at the Vermillion Paint Brush Corporation.
Valiant Vineyards, South Dakota�s first winery, adds a new consumer item to Vermillion�s list of home-grown products.
�This is what we need,� Radigan said. �This is a third dimension. We need to get into something that actually is produced as a consumer good, with the intent of being used.�