Big Cottonwood Vineyards & Winery Review
Address: 2865 County Road I Tekamah,Nebraska 68061.
Phone Number: 402-374-2656
Tasting Hours: By appt.
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 7/6/2014
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
There’s nothing fancy about Big Cottonwood Vineyard and Winery. That said, if and when you find yourself in Omaha, it’s worth knowing that this little gem upon the prairie is less than an hour’s drive north. We recommend you plan to spend the afternoon.
There’s nothing fancy at all about Big Cottonwood Vineyard and Winery, and there really doesn’t need to be. Founded by Deb and Rick Barnett in 2008, the little aluminum building just off of their house, not far from the pond with pretty flowers planted in the front, is a place for the happy couple to craft their wine and serve it to their guests precisely what they wanted it to be. The day we visited, Deb was inside, working behind the counter. She happily stopped working to share her time and wine with us.
The Big Cottonwood tasting menu is broken into three categories: dry/semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet, with approximately an equal number of wines (4-5) in each category. Some of the wines are named for the grape from which they are made, e.g. Seyval and Frontenac. Others are named in one way or other for pelicans, the beautiful birds that frequent the nearby lakes and adorn the labels of their wine, e.g. “Saintly Pelican” and “Pelican Rouge.” The wines seemed appropriately categorized, and we think that Rick, the winemaker, is doing a nice job with his wines.
We took our time and covered most of the tasting menu. In particular, we liked the Frontenac, which was about as dry as any Frontenac we’ve had, and the Seyval, which was crisp and boasted a nice flavor profile that included minerals somewhat rare for the varietal in this region. The “Saintly Pelican” had nice spices, and the sweet wines were nice as well. In particular, the Blackberry wine and “Dazzle,” which is a pleasant blend of Seyval and Raspberry wine, were highlights. The fruit wines were good as well, and finding a wine made of blackberry around here was a rare treat. In addition, they offered meat and cheese, which we partook in. All in all, the wines were worth the trip, and we ended up taking a couple bottles home with us.
Aptly named for the immense, thickly-barked trees that grow tall all across the state, Big Cottonwood Vineyards and Winery is a quiet little haven amidst the rolling hills of northeastern Nebraska where a person can get away from the city, relax, and enjoy a nice glass of well and locally crafted wine. The definition of a “mom and pop” operation, we found Deb (the only one of the two we met on our visit) to be a delightful person who took pride in her work and the time to answer all of our questions.
You’re unlikely to find yourself in Oakland, Lyons, Decatur, or any of the other tiny towns nearby Big Cottonwood Vineyards and Winery. That said, if and when you find yourself in Omaha, it’s worth knowing that this little gem upon the prairie is less than an hour’s drive north. We recommend you plan to spend the afternoon.