HARTINGTON — The July 4 ground breaking ceremony for the new Nissen Winery and Outlaw Trail Center will be a lively event with live music and brats, along with a free wine tasting.
The Nissen Winery and Outlaw Trail Center will be located along the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway that follows Hwy. 12 across the northern portion of the state.
The Outlaw Trail, and now the Center, are named after the outlaws, such as Jesse James and Doc Middleton, who crossed the rolling hills in northern Cedar and Knox counties in the late 1800s.
The July 4 event will start off with a “Wine in the Vines” wine tasting, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Nissen Vineyard, which was developed by Dave and Tim Nissen, eight miles north of Hartington.
The groundbreaking at noon will include words of congratulations from representatives from Hartington Economic Development and Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District.
Brats, furnished by Wes and Julie Wortmann, will be hot off the grill and ready for visitors from noon until 3 p.m.
Live music in the pergola on the hillside of the vineyard will entertain guests from 1-3 p.m. according to Tim.
“We will have rock and roll and some blues,” Tim said. “People can bring a lawn chair along and sit and enjoy the music.”
Nissen Winery and Outlaw Trail Center, which is expected to be open by next spring, will be constructed on the hill south of the Vineyard which sits close to the Hwy. 57/12 junction.
Each level of the new building will have 2,300 sq. ft., according to Tim.
A processing center will be set up in the basement.
The main floor will include a tasting room, which will hold around 125 guests, and an area for interpretive displays and pictures of the famous outlaws who roamed the rolling hills in this area.
Guests can sample wine, while learning about the history surrounding the Nebraska Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway 12 where outlaws, cowboys and Indians and pioneers traveled.
“It is a forgotten piece of history,” Tim said.
The tasting room and the adjoining patio will be an area where meetings, showers and family events can be held.
The Outlaw Trail wines that have been developed by Nissen Wines include Jesse James, Doc Middleton, Kid Wade and Sam Bass.
Each bottle of wine includes a short story about the outlaw on the label.
Nissen Wines are available in many retail outlets and tasting rooms across Nebraska and South Dakota.
An on-line wine shop has also been created. Nissen Wines are even being enjoyed overseas.
“We have received e-mails from people telling us they like our wine,” Tim said. “Our wine has even made it over to Europe.”
Dave and Tim’s venture into the wine business came about for several reasons.
Dave, who went to school for horticulture, has worked in the garden center industry for over 20 years and was ready to has worked in the garden center industry for over 20 years and was ready to try something new.
Tim had the ground to use and he was looking for something that would stimulate the economic growth in the community.
Countless hours were spent on research and experiments to determine which varieties complement the calcium rich, rocky soils, along with the climate in northeast Nebraska.
Nissen Wine grows 12 acres of wine grapes plus a few acres of stone fruits planted on the family farm.
The rows of grapevines are 10 feet apart with eight feet in between each plant. There are 548 plants on one acre.
The Nissen brothers currently have 16 varieties of grapes.
The first commercial wine grapes were plated in the spring of 2003. The first harvest occurred in 2006.
Nissen Wine employs hand-harvesting methods to guarantee the highest quality fruit possible reaches the winery.
The warm, sunny days of this region, followed by cool nights, allow for the maturation of superior fruits that produce robust and intensely flavored wine.