Arkansas has been producing quality wines since the late 1800s, when Johann Wiederkehr and Jacob Post immigrated here and planted their first vineyards. Today, descendants of both of their families continue to create delectable wines, which include Cynthiana, Niagara, Merlot and Chardonnay. Arkansas is the largest and oldest wine producing state in the South, and is home to the Altus American Viticultural Area (AVA), which creates some of the best of these Arkansas wines. Located above the Arkansas River and below the Boston Mountains, the Altus AVA has five wineries that produce one million gallons of wine each year. The Altus AVA was the first approved wine region in Arkansas (1984.) For information on some of the best vineyards, wineries and wines of this Arkansas wine region, see below.
Post Familie Vineyards & Winery. Founded by Jacob Post in 1880, the first Altus wines were sold from Jacob’s cellar to passengers on the railroads that stopped by his Arkansas farm for fuel and water. This Altus winery is still producing its outstanding and award-winning wines today. To sample some of Arkansas’ best wines, try their Cabernet Sauvignon, a velvety wine with aromas of black cherry and plums, followed by flavors that include licorice and vanilla. This Arkansas winery also produces a lovely Merlot, which has aromas of strawberries and currants, and flavors of caramel and plum. For more information on this Altus vineyards and its wines, click here.
Wiederkehr Cellars and Vineyards. Johann Wiederkehr emigrated to America in 1880, and the wine cellar he carved from an Altus hillside in his new homeland still exists today. Wiederkehr Wine Cellars is US Bonded Winery Number 8, a clear indication of just how much this family has contributed to pioneering the American wine industry. Be sure to try their Johannisberg Riesling, a dry white wine with aromas of peach and apricot, followed by flavors of apple and pear. Their Merlot is also an outstanding choice, a wonderful red wine with aromas of violet and black cherry, and flavors that include vanilla and oak. For more information on this Altus winery and its wines, click here.
Chateau Aux Arc Vineyards & Winery. The first vineyards of this Altus winery consisted of 20 acres purchased from the Wiederkehr family, which included the first ten acres of Chardonnay vines planted in Arkansas. Today this Altus vineyard has over 36 acres planted with varietals that include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah and Cynthiana. Try their 2006 Altus Cynthiana, a wonderfully dry red wine with aromas of raspberry and spice, and flavors of blackberry and oak. For another outstanding Arkansas wine, sample their 2003 American Syrah, which has aromas that include black currant and licorice, followed by flavors of cedar and black pepper. For more information on this Altus vineyard and its wines, click here.