In 1962 Dr. Ken Groninga received a degree in veterinary medicine from Iowa State University and following that he practiced food animal or large animal medicine for over 30 years, primarily in northwest Iowa.
In 1994 he retired from practice and began working as a consulting veterinarian for a veterinary biologic company from that time until the present.
In 1991 Ken and his wife Carolyn bought an acreage in a wooded area along side the Iowa River near Ackley, Iowa (Ken's hometown). Between 1850 and the turn of the century a small village, centered around a gristmill (flouring mill) and sawmill, existed in this area. The village was called Eagle City.
The year after they moved to the area Ken began making wine from the various wild fruits and berries that grew on and around their acreage such as elderberries, raspberries, mulberries, chokecherries and wild plums. He began entering wine competitions in 1995 such as the Iowa State Fair, Clay County Fair in Iowa and the Steele County Fair in Minnesota. Ken did quite well in these competitions including the Best of Show for a non-grape wine at the Iowa Sate Fair in 1998.
Ken enjoyed making wine and after doing well in competition, he and his wife Carolyn decided that operating a small vineyard and winery during their retirement years would be something that they would both enjoy. So in 1996 they began planting a small vineyard and started making plans for the construction of a winery and tasting room.
The Eagle City Winery was completed in June of 2000 and obtained state and federal Class A wine permits as well as label approval for 5 varieties of wine. These are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Cranberry wine. They started selling wine, both retail and wholesale in mid-December of 2000.
The Eagle City Winery is a small operation and is currently producing 15 wines with a volume of about 3000 gallons per year.
If you are ever in the area please give them a call and they will be more than happy to give you a tour of their vineyard, winery and tasting room.