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Monday, April 21, 2008

Wine and Weddings

There’s a place in Nebraska not too far from where I grew up, called James Arthur Vineyards. They claim to be the largest winery in Nebraska. Apparently before Prohibition, wine grapes were prosperous in Nebraska. Who knew? James Arthur’s brother in law Jim Ballard did. When James Arthur Jeffers retired in 1987 from owning a company called Quality Pork International, he thought he’d take it easy for a while. He got bored though, so he purchased 20 acres of land northwest of Lincoln five years later. Ballard convinced Jeffers to plant some grapes. These grapes took three years to grow. In 1997, they corked their first bottle of wine. The vineyard produces 18 varieties of wine, which are sold in over 200 places in Nebraska. They also have weddings on the property nearly every week, and host a Renaissance Festival annually. Additionally, they host wine pairing classes, music performances, and Murder Mystery dinners. Lots of fun they all seem to be having in their “retirement”.