Warm sun, blue sky, gentle breeze and a wine glass in your hand. Did you picture yourself in Napa Valley or in Des Moines? Grab your lawn chair. It’s time to learn about one of Des Moines’ favorites: Jasper Winery.
Jasper Winery is about five minutes south of Downtown Des Moines but hides behind Waterworks Park off of Fleur Drive. The area is woodsy as you’re driving up. Around the bend are the rows of grapes and there sits a very sleek building. Yes, this is in Des Moines: a chic yet countryside vibe that is perfect for a day of tasting at Jasper Winery.
Jasper Winery is family-owned and -operated. Like some other small businesses, the family somewhat stumbled into the business without intention. The Groben family, “being avid gardeners and enjoying all aspects of ‘the good life,’ first planted grape vines in the year 2000,” located in Newton, which is Jasper County. (Did you catch that?)
The Groben family’s eldest son, Mason, quickly grew to understand and developed a passion for the family business. Mason graduated from the University of California with a degree in viticulture and enology (grape-growing and wine science). After college he came back to Iowa establishing a reputation for producing excellent quality wine, including positive reviews in The New York Times and Wine Spectator. Mason continued to develop his understanding of the wine industry while touring New Zealand and France.
In 2009, the Groben family built the new facility in the southern Downtown District of Des Moines, across from the beautiful Grays Lake. Today, Jasper Winery has not only impeccable talent but produces some of the finest wine in Central Iowa. Currently, the family business is operated by Mason, the winemaker, with two other full-time employees and the winery pup, Penny.
All of the wine that is distributed and sold by Jasper Winery is produced on site (except for the beer). Jasper Winery specializes in a variety of wines, so there is always something for everyone.
Slide up to the main bar. Each day, you can taste up to five different types of wine. The “All Night Wine” is the sweetest wine available, with flavors of freshly picked Iowa-grown grapes and honeysuckle. The “Front Porch” wine is right in the middle of the sweet to semi-sweet lineup. It’s described as a semi-sweet rosé with fresh aromas of strawberry and red cherry, made to drink on the front porch. The slightest sweet white wine, “La Crescent,” includes floral aromas with grapefruit and pineapple flavors.
Are you more into the dry wines? Try the “Seyval Blanc,” “Behind The Shed Red” or the “Chancellor,” each incredibly unique to the dry category. The “Seyval Blanc” provides aromas of toast, lemon and apple; very rich and creamy. The “Behind The Shed Red” is Jasper Winery’s signature dry red blend, with blackberry and raspberry flavors, concluding with a smooth taste. Finally, the “Chancellor” is a medium-bodied dry red wine with flavors of cedar and plum.
Jasper Winery has a few surprises that many are not aware of, such as its canned wines. Like, best-in-the-country wine sangria, which is canned. This popular wine sangria is made with real fruit, like blackberry, raspberry and blood oranges, with a semi-sweet finish. (This was our favorite, hands-down!) The other canned wines are the JW White (Sauvignon Blanc base), JW Red (California Cabernet Sauvignon base), and JW Rosé (New York Catawba base)–all very delicious.
Don’t like wine? That’s OK! Jasper Winery has two local and two domestic beers on tap so everyone can enjoy something.
The building consists of the production area with large glass windows so customers and guests can watch production while enjoying a glass of wine. The other half of the building is set up for public or private events with three beautiful spaces: the barrel room, main hall and outdoor patio area.
On weekends or for happy hour, Jasper Winery has a buzz of regulars, locals or business meetings standing at the main bar, sitting in the main hall near the wood fireplace or outside on the patio during the summer.
Jasper Winery is widely known for its Summer Concert Series on Thursday nights. The events highlight a variety of local bands, are free and open to the public. Of course, Jasper Wine, beer and sangria are available to purchase, with local food trucks on-site for food. Talk about a fun evening for the family or a summer night out with friends!
The beautiful lawn and on-site vineyard on a warm sunny day creates the perfect setting for all weddings or gatherings up to 300 guests. The indoor space is ideal for receptions or rehearsal dinners and can accommodate up to 200 guests. Jasper Winery hosts weddings almost every weekend from May through October.
Jasper Winery recently released its JW Club, which includes exclusive member perks, discounts and quarterly wine shipments that can be sent anywhere within the United States. Check out the opportunities and everything that is included on Jasper Winery’s JW Club Website.
To learn more about Jasper Winery, visit www.jasperwinery.com.