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The Cellar Winery at White Oak and Wines of Iowa

The Story of The Cellar

When they realized opportunity was knocking, Barb and John decided that it was time to "answer the door" and take the giant leap of faith!

Over the years of their relationship, they had always had a special passion for wine. Many dates and trips were related to the various wines in which they were in pursuit. "When our interests in wines, grapes, and vineyards began to escalate, we discovered a nearby vineyard that was planned to be bulldozed into the ground. We introduced ourselves to the owners and made a deal to manage and revitalize the vineyards for the beautiful aesthetics as well as to harvest and sell the grapes. With the help of the vineyard owners and many of our friends, we brought the vineyard back to life and began our first vineyard management business at Arbor Creek Vineyards near Farrar, Iowa." The official business name was established as Ottawa Vineyards, LLC. The name “Ottawa” was chosen because the current location of John and Barb's house sits on the same geographical section of land that was the town of "Ottawa". "Ottawa" was eventually renamed “Elkhart” and moved two miles west in 1902.

That first chapter of their new adventure started in 2011. In the spring of 2012, mostly due to their love for dry red wines, John and Barb planted 103 Marquette vines on their property, with the intention of just being back yard wine makers. Of those grapes, in 2013, approximately 2 car-boys (or 10 gallons) of wine was produced. That was enough juice for a couple cases of wine. In 2014, the vines were in full production, and their backyard operation increased, with a harvest of approximately 1.5 tons of grapes. About 150 gallons of wine was pressed from the grapes and they gave away several cases of this wine to friends and relatives over the year.

The Cellar Winery at White Oak was established in March 2015, when the opportunity once again arose to take over the vineyards and wine producing operation at White Oak. The timing was right this time and they decided to jump in with both feet! It took over a year to get the grape production revitalized and transitioned into wine, but the wines have been bottled and into retail distribution since May 2016.

At The Cellar, we invite you to stop in and taste the wines. Enjoy a bottle at your own table, or outside if the weather is permitting. We welcome you join us at any of our events and let us know what you think. We want you to be comfortable, relaxed, and have an enjoyable experience. Then we would like to see you again!

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