Garden Winery & Vineyard is a small family owned business by Bill and Cindy Bush. Both Bill and Cindy have agriculture back ground, management experience, with a strong background in retail and sales,
In the year of 2004 is when we started to get interested in growing grapes and possible become a Winery in the future. We started attending seminars and field days that were provided by Iowa State University or the Iowa State University Extension offices. We wanted to learn about what grape cultivars that was especially for Northern climates that would survive our winters, our soil type which is more alkaline in their area, what kind of additives to the soil and fertilization that would be needed, chemical sprays such as fungicides and how herbicides would affect the grapes.
We started commercial selling wine in 2009, in Gowrie, this is where the vineyard is, owned by Dave and Ruth Hanson, which we manage for them. We moved the tasting room to Fort Dodge in 2010. We have spent the first three years traveling to Farmer’s Market, Craft and Vendor shows, Mall’s and community special events selling and promoting our wines. Our wines are sold in our tasting room, wine shops, liquor stores, gift shops, grocery stores, restaurants and direct mail. In our gift shop you will find products that are wine related. We carry sixty-eight different kinds of wine bottle holders, from animals, Chefs, etc. and cork cages. We also feature gift baskets, and wedding accessories.
We focus on making wines only from grapes cultivars that grow here in Iowa. The wines that we feature are just a few styles of dry, a red and white, semi-dry, a red and white, mostly semi-sweet in the range of different levels of sweetness in reds and whites, and Blushes, and Rose’. Many of the wines have received gold, silver and bronze medals. We entered the 2012 Mid-American Wine Competition and won the “Dr. Dick Peterson Best Iowa Appellation Award” for our Frontenac Rose’ one of the top awards a Winery can earn.
Now in 2013 we have more exciting news, we have found our permanent home for our Winery, “we bought a school” for our next expansion, we purchased the Prairie Valley Elementary School Building in Callender, which has been closed for three years. It will give an economic boost to Callender, we plan to revitalize and maintain the historical background of the school and community.
The school sits on ten acres which will allow for expansion for a vineyard. Our intent is to preserve the building and the “Children’s Forest”, it’s a garden area that past elementary students help plant and we want to expand on what is already there to make a nice area for photos, weddings and garden area for just relaxing.
Phase I was building the Winery Business, the new expansion of phase II will allow us to have banquet rooms available for seating from 12 to 500 people. A facility that will accommodate any size of wedding reception, provide accommodation for the Corporate Clients in the region for meetings and activities, and educational opportunities as well. A larger tasting room and gift shop that will be focusing on Iowa made products, certified kitchen, with a large outdoor event area and in late 2014 the expansion of Phase III with the addition of a Bed & Breakfast.