South Dakota Magazine spotlights state wineries

South Dakota Magazine spotlights state wineries The first thing Noah did after the flood was plant a vineyard. Now people are planting grapes and making wine across South Dakota.

Sioux Falls writer Lance Nixon tells their story in the January/February issue of South Dakota Magazine.

Eldon and Sherry Nygaard of Vermillion, who own Buffalo Run Winery in Vermillion, probably had no idea of starting a trend when they returned to Eldon's South Dakota roots in late 1992. Leaving Las Vegas to return to the family farm, they wondered what to do with the land.

"Having lived on the West Coast, I'd seen how valuable the property was that had vineyards on it," Eldon Nygaard said. "It was thousands of dollars an acre. I thought, 'Why couldn't we do that in South Dakota?'"

The Nygaards planted their first grapes in 1993, and two other wineries have since started up, Prairie Berry Winery of Rapid City, and most recently, Schade Vineyard of Volga. Other wineries are in the works.

The number of vine growers has grown too, from six farms in 1992 to nine in the 1997 agricultural census. Nygaard estimates there are now perhaps 15 "serious growers" in the state.

The more the merrier, as far as wine-makers are concerned. Nygaard � who produces 17 wines, but only three featuring fruits other than grapes � says Prairie Berry and Schade Vineyard likely will place a greater emphasis on other fruits, while he and his wife will continue to focus on grape wines.

"There's a market for fruit wines, there's a niche," Nygaard said. "All three of us are helping to grow the wine industry in South Dakota."

South Dakota Magazine is a statewide magazine, published bimonthly in Yankton.

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