Growing great wine grapes is part romance and part science for Dan and Lindsey Fiebelkorn.
The dream home they bought in Gregory, South Dakota, just so happened to have a vineyard on the property. And while they had no prior experience growing grapes, Lindsey grew up on a farm and Dan’s parents raised him planting trees and tending to a large garden, so the concept was not completely new to them.
In the first two years, they were constantly learning, and a lot of extra work went into getting things right. Neighbors and friends from nearby towns were instrumental in their early success teaching the couple everything from proper pruning technique(s), driving a tractor between the rows to spray, knowing when to spray, placing and securing the nets, and testing for sugar/pH, etc. They both really enjoyed it and after the initial learning curve, growing grapes has really become something that they both truly love to do.
The cold hardy grapes they grow (Marquette, Frontenac, and Petit Pearl) are very unique in that anyone who grows them is a really a pioneer of that product. While there is a certain amount of romance surrounding tending a vineyard and making wine, taking great care of the biology involved (soil samples, treating vineyard diseases, etc.) cannot be denied. This is why they are such a great team. Lindsey never fails to romanticize the process and Dan has no problem tending to the scientific aspect of that process.
“We are truly looking forward to what the future of growing grapes in South Dakota holds, and we believe it holds every bit of potential as other great growing appellations. The excitement of that, and the fact that we are a family run vineyard, keep us coming back to grow and enjoy the process.” – Dan Fiebelkorn