seems something of an overstatement but I realized the need to suspend my Northwest wine country expectations as we set out on this adventure. We chose the Memorial Day weekend to begin our first-ever exploration of Arkansas wine country. Did you know wineries in Arkansas were creating wine before Oregon was even a state? Neither did I. I was surprised and impressed by that little factoid. In fact, direct from the Arkansas.com website, a bit of history:
Back in 1880, two European families settled in the Arkansas River Valley, attracted by its fertile sandy soil and moderate climate. The two pioneers of the American wine industry were Jacob Post, who came to America in 1872, and Johann Wiederkehr, who immigrated to Altus from Switzerland in 1880. Area conditions reminded them so much of the fine wine-making regions of Germany and Switzerland that they each established vineyards, which was the beginning of a wine heritage and viticulture in Arkansas.
We headed north and west from Little Rock, stopping first in Morrilton, AR. There we were to find Movie House Winery in the recently restored Petit Jean Theatre. Alas, they were closed for the holiday weekend (really? Apparently Memorial Day weekend is nothing in the Arkansas wine world.) but we did have the opportunity to look around charming little Morrilton. Best find in Morrilton?