Silver Hills Vineyards & Winery Review
Address: 3130 County Road M Tekamah,Nebraska 68061.
Phone Number: 402-374-1602
Tasting Hours: Fri-Sat 10:00-6:00, Sun 1:00-5:00 and by appt.
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 7/6/2014
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Forty-five miles north of Omaha, amidst the rolling hills planted primarily with corn and soybeans, a winery rests “just off the beaten path,” as they write in their brochures. Silver Hills Vineyards and Winery, located not far from Tekameh, Nebraska, is one of the many small wineries to pop up in Nebraska’s famous farmland in the past fifteen years or so. The brainchild and dream realized of Phil and June Simpson, it’s the sort of place you’d like to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon. So we did just that.
When asked how he started making wine, Phil smiled slightly. “Started drinking it,” he said casually, and went on to explain that as he began to enjoy wine, he wanted to make his own. The evidence of his passion for viticulture can be found in his technique; every bottle is different. While it’s not uncommon for Midwestern wineries to experiment with oak, the flavor comes through more intensely in the big dry reds of Silver Hills than they do in many others. In addition, the balance and the blending is something you don’t often see. While many winemakers are producing wines that are 100% this grape or that one, we noted a greater degree of creativity on Phil’s part, and the result was an array of really nice wines.
The reds range from sweet (Ray’s Red) to quite dry (Silver Fox and Silver Fox Special Reserve) with plenty in between for those who don’t go to such extremes. The whites never quite got dry enough for our liking, ranging from very sweet (Sweet Samson) to semi-dry (Seyval and Prairie Star both still fairly sweet), but on a hot Nebraska afternoon, they certainly fit the bill. Silver Hills also makes a semi-dry rose, and a semi-sweet rose, also likely to be just right on a hot summer afternoon.
We sat at the small bar inside, possibly large enough to seat half a dozen people, while others took to the large, oak high-top tables. The highlight of the tasting room, however, is certainly the outdoor patio. Surrounded in vegetation, immense and covered in enough seating to host a very large group, it seemed the perfect place. Sitting out there and drinking a glass of the Silver Fox Special Reserve, it would be easy to forget that you weren’t in California.
Open primarily on weekends (or by appointment), Phil and June Simpson appear to take great pleasure in hosting guests at their winery. It was certainly busy the afternoon we visited a good sign, we would say. Though he was kind enough to take the time to talk to us, Phil spent a lot of his afternoon grilling food for visitors to pair with the wine they were drinking. Though we didn’t eat, the smells wafting over from the grill made us want to return with empty stomachs on another peaceful Sunday afternoon.