We continue this week with another visit to an Iowa winery - but wait! It's also a distillery! This - is Cedar Ridge Vineyards Winery & Distillery in Swisher, Iowa.
Located just off I-380 at the Swisher/Shueyville exit, you'll find Cedar Ridge at 1441 Marak Road in Swisher, IA. You can't miss the big building that sits up on a knoll, and you'll definitely want to stop in if you're in the area.
It's a big space inside, chock full of fun gifts, lots of seating, a very nice tasting area, plus an additional area for events (there was a wedding going on when we were there). Besides the usual tastings, Cedar Ridge hosts a variety of events - from murder mysteries and gourmet four course dinners, to comedians and concerts - there's always something going on at this place.
I loved these great wine/alcohol signs - I have a bunch of these in my house - I could have added several more!
Grant headed right over to the tasting area! With your complimentary tasting you can taste up to 5 wines and 3 spirits during your visit - and with so many products, it's tough to choose! They have 22 wines, several award winning spirits, brandy, even fruit liqueurs!
Everything available for tasting is listed on these menus, along with the prices for purchase. Great descriptions of each product make it easy to find the wine or spirit you might like to taste.
I especially enjoyed this dark rum - barrel-aged in charred oak whiskey barrels for 3 years, it is smooth and mellow. It's the perfect rum to have on the rocks, just to sip. Highly recommend if you love rum, like me.
We enjoyed our tasting and had a hard time deciding which of all of their excellent products to purchase. There are so many good things!
Even more tantalizing spirits - Grant ended up bringing home a bottle of the Griff's Cowboy Whiskey. Following the tradition of the frontier saloons, this whiskey is distilled in small batches. He also snagged a bottle of the always good Clearheart Vodka.
Here's a selection of their wonderful fruit brandies.
And then there is wine - so much wine!
And one of the best features at Cedar Ridge is their food! You can order from their menu of small plates, wood-fired pizza, and prime rib (Wednesday - Friday only) right from the bar. You'll find things like an Iowa Butcher Platter, Bruschetta, Smoked Salmon, Meatballs, Seasonal Salads, and more. They have several unique pizzas, too - how about Proscuitto or Sausage & Peppers?
They have lots of space for dining, and a great patio so you can eat outside during the warmer months.
We ordered a bottle of the fruit forward La Crescent, with a nice grapefruit finish, to enjoy with lunch.
We started with the 3-item Iowa Butcher Platter - we chose Aged Gouda, Prairie Breeze Aged Cheddar, and La Quercia proscuitto - the baguette was excellent, the chutney was awesome, too. Everything was fresh and so very tasty.
We also enjoyed a wood-fired Margherita pizza with homemade red sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil oil. The crust was perfect, with lots of great crunchy pieces. The homemade sauce really made this pizza - so flavorful.
We so enjoyed our visit to Cedar Ridge Vineyards Winery & Distillery that we're already planning a return visit. We hope to enjoy one of their summer concerts, and maybe Sunday Brunch - it would even be fun to just sit out on the patio with a nice bottle of wine. So if you find yourself in Swisher, Iowa (c'mon! it's so close to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City!), make a point to stop in and support this great locally owned business producing so many awesome Iowa products. You won't be disappointed.
Cedar Ridge Vineyards Winery & Distillery
1441 Marak Rd
Swisher, IA 52338