The Winery and Vineyard
Blackhawk Winery was established in 2011 as a result of an epiphany of "why not open a winery?" It is really just a hobby that has gotten out of control. We realized we had a 5-acre field being leased out for soybeans that could produce a reasonable amount of grapes to support a small winery. We also had a large pole barn that we could partition off and renovate a 2500 sq ft area for wine production and a tasting bar. Plus, there is the wide array of critters running around to make it interesting and memorable for potential visitors!
We had the opportunity to purchase the land on the north side of our property in 2016 which we did so we could expand our vineyard. This will give us a larger variety of estate-grown grapes plus some land for events.
The winery&vineyard owners are John and Deb Miller. John is a recovering electrical engineer, having worked in the semiconductor industry. If you've used an Intel CPU in your computer, John has probably been involved to some degree with its manufacturing process. He had been a hobby winemaker for years, starting out with kit wines before expanding to buying grapes and eventually working as Blackhawk Winery's winemaker. Deb is a veterinarian who is busy tending to our herd of "baby doll" sheep we bought in hopes of managing weeds in the vineyard. She has the critical role for the winery as the official wine taster. Sorry for her, but someone has to do the job!
Our Approach to Wine Making and Wine Enjoyment
I was going to call this our "philosophy for wine" but that sounds too academic. Wine is simply meant to be enjoyed. Period. There shouldn't be anything stuffy about wine or wine drinking. We've visited wineries where they felt their wine belonged on a marble pillar rather than your table. We role our eyes with some of the over-the-top descriptions portrayed with some wines and feel the numerical scales used for grading wines tend to be arbitrary at best and misleading at worst.
Our goal is to produce quality wines with locally grown fruit. Sorry, it is too cold for Cab Sauv and Moscato grapes to grow in the midwest. And while this limits us to using hybrid and American grape varieties, it allows us to make unique blends and wines that you simply can't find on the typical grocery store shelf.
Having come from the west coast, our tastes in wine run drier than the typical midwest pallet. This means that our wines will not be as sweet as is often found in the area. We will only sweeten a wine to achieve balance in flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. We make wine, not syrup!