BOW VALLEY — Tim and Dave Nissen were commended for their pioneer spirit during the July 4 groundbreaking ceremony for the soon to be constructed Nissen Winery and Outlaw Trail Center which will be located just south of the Hwy 57/12 intersection north of Hartington.
Chuck Hassebrook, Center for Rural Affairs, compared Tim and Dave Nissen’s business venture to the early pioneers who settled this land.
“It may seem odd that someone with a winery in corn and soybean country is part of the tradition of rural America,” Hassebrook said. “The early pioneers who moved across this land took risks much like the Nissens are doing. Creating new ideas goes back to the early settlers.”
Tim and Dave Nissen have an entrepreneurial spirit Hassebrook said.
Hassebrook expects the Nissens’ business venture to be a success.
“They will come. People will come to the Nissen Winery and Outlaw Trail Center,” he said. “They will love being able to spend a day in the country. They can sip a good glass of wine while learning about the outlaws who roamed the area at one time.”
According to Hassebrook, Nebraska needs to see more innovative ideas, such as the Nissen Winery, in order to keep agriculture as the backbone of the country.
“The Nissens have come up with an innovative way to make a living on the farm,” Hassebrook said.
In spite of Wednesday’s sizzling temperatures, which hovered around the 100-degree mark, dozens of visitors came out for the ground-breaking ceremony.
The Nissen Winery and Outlaw Trail Center will house a wine processing facility, a tasting room and will display historical information on the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway that stretches along Highway 12 from Valentine to South Sioux City.
The view from the hilltop where the Outlaw Trail Center will be located is beautiful. Acres of grapevines cover the hillside, a pergola can be seen on the north side of the property and a flower garden with splashes of yellow, pink and lavender is already in bloom.
Holy Family Parish pastor Fr. Eric Olson blessed the ground where the Center will be located.
Northeast Nebraska RC&D representative Gary Howey talked about the relationship between the Outlaw Trail and the Nissen Winery.
“I applaud all the work the Nissens have done and all of their accomplishments,” Howey said.
Chris Miller passed congratulations on from the Hartington Economic Development Corporation.
“I think this is a really big plus for Hartington and the surrounding community and for northeast Nebraska,” Miller said. “I look forward to your success.”
The Nissen Winery and Outlaw Trail Center will be the culmination of ten years of work for Tim and Dave Nissen.
It began with countless hours of research to determine the varieties of grapes that needed to be planted to complement the soil and climate in northeast Nebraska.
Tim thanked the Northeast Nebraska RC&D, Center for Rural Affairs, Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District and the Hartington Economic Development Corp., and others in the community for all of their “patience, support and for egging us on.”
“They had the connections. They were our mentors,” Tim said. “I give Carla Becker a lot of credit. She has been like a sparkplug to keep this rolling.”
The estimated cost for the event and tourist center is over $250,000. Cedar County signed on as a partner with the Nissens in an application for a Community Development Block Grant of $192,000. Approval has been received on the CDBG funds and the Hartington Community Development Corp. will also assist.
The Nissen brothers picked up the shovels and scooped up the dirt from the area where the Center will be built.
Visitors stayed on during the afternoon for the wine tasting and also enjoyed brats furnished by Wes and Julie Wortmann.
Vocal and guitar music provided by Rich Patton drifted across the vineyard.
Some of the visitors ventured over to the pergola to be closer to Patton’s music and do a little dancing.
Lisa Scheve, Director for the Yankton Convention and Visitor Center, celebrated the Fourth of July holiday by stopping in at the wine tasting event and ground breaking ceremony.
“I am excited. This will be a benefit to both sides of the River – Nebraska and South Dakota – by bringing in additional tourism,” Scheve said. “It provides another opportunity for visitors to stay longer and visit more frequently. People have an interest in cowboys. They like to feel, touch and see the history.”