Cedar Hills Vineyard Review
Address: 48970 375th Rd Ravenna,Nebraska 68869.
Phone Number: 308-452-3181
Tasting Hours: Fri-Sat 1:00-9:00, Sun 1:00-6:00 and by appt.
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 12/28/2014
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Clay and Heidi Schultz had been wanting to open their own winery for a while when a small, established one came on the market in 2014. Pooling their resources, they took a leap of faith and purchased Cedar Hills Vineyard and Gardens, a tiny boutique winery known largely for their fruit wines outside the rural Nebraska town of Ravenna, about a half hour from Grand Island.
Pulling into their gravel parking lot, it isnt difficult to see what appealed to the Schultzs about the place. On top of a hill overlooking the South Loup River and surrounded by trees, the small tasting room is clean and quaint, and neatly decorated. The wooden floor and racks give it something of a log cabin feel, with a bar in the corner where they pour tastes and tables spread out to accommodate, at most, thirty people. In addition to the tasting room, a small, separate living quarters is available for rental for those guests who may wish to stay a bit longer, or wake up to the abundant wildlife and scenic views.
Tastings were $5 for five wines, but we didnt have anywhere to be, so we ordered three tastings and tried fifteen of the sixteen wines they had to offer (by the end, they threw in number sixteen on the house). The reds were fairly typical Nebraska varietals: Dechaunac and blends made from French hybrids common to the area. The whites were similar in that the varietals would be familiar to a consumer of Nebraska wines Brianna, Edelweiss, Catawba, all erring a bit on the sweet side. The fruit wines were impressive, in particular those made for dessert consumption. Though not fortified, they were high in ABV and had the feel of a port wine. We took home a .375 of the Raspberry passion.
In addition to the view and the wines, Cedar Hills Vineyard and Gardens offered a fair charcuterie plate, which we gobbled up, and friendly, knowledgeable service. While Heidi and Clay may be new to the industry, theyre clearly quick learners and passionate about what theyre doing. The wines we were drinking had been made by their predecessors, but they were already thinking about their own upcoming vintages and finding ways to put their own personal stamp on the place.
A bit out of the way? Absolutely. But Cedar Hills is not only an excellent place to visit for a tasting, but also a beautiful place to stay. Wine is a tough industry to survive in, but the Schultzs are making a go of it. If you find yourself on a pilgrimage through rural, central Nebraska, stop in and support the newest family to enter into Nebraskas growing oenological industry.