Thursday, July 28, 2011

NEW UPDATE - iPick...iStomp...iDrink - Harvest Opportunity!


Each year our fans ask if they can help us with harvest, stomp grapes, and then drink some wine.  So, in response we’re pleased to announce four Saturdays (grape ripening and weather dependent, of course) where you and your friends can come out to our vineyard (Brickyard Hill Vineyard, approximately 4 miles west of the winery) and join us for the harvest.

LAST HARVEST DATE: We now have 35 additional spaces open for the September 10th harvest date!  

The September 17th harvest date is cancelled due to earlier than anticipated ripening.  If you've already signed up for that date you can join us on Sept 10th. 

- NEW DATE - urgent need -- SUNDAY, August 21
August 27  (FULL)
September 3 - (FULL)
September 10 (OPEN) - Last Harvest Date of 2011
September 17 - CANCELLED

Where: Brickyard Hill Vineyard (Marengo, IA)
When: New times - 7:30am-noon (at the vineyard); then back to the winery for lunch
What: Join us from 7:30am to noon at the vineyard and help us harvest our 11+ acres of grapes.  Bring hat, gloves, sunscreen and snacks.  Afterwards (around noon) we’ll meet at the winery where we’ll provide you with a lunch, free bottle of wine (for those 21 or older), grape stomp, production tour (you can help us during the crush operations, if you’d like), and a 2011 "iPick iStomp iDrink" - harvest t-shirt.


Must be at least 15 years old to receive above; and 21 and older to receive the complementary bottle of wine.

What to Bring?  Its a good idea to wear a long sleeved t-shirt as you'll be fishing around the vines to find the berries (not required but suggested).  Check the weather reports before you leave - might want to have a jacket for the cool morning and shorts and t-shirts for later in the morning and later on for the STOMP.  Some people wear gloves.  Insect repellant.  Snacks.  Take a break when you need. Water.  

Directions to Brickyard Hill Vineyard:

Reference Start Point – Marengo, Iowa (US-6)

  1. US-6 – Drive WEST of Marengo (just out of town)
  2. Turn LEFT (South) on L Ave (County Hwy V-62), a gravel road.  (NOTE: there will be a grain CO-OP at the corner of US-6 and V-62. 
  3. Drive approximately 1 mile and take the first gravel road on your RIGHT ( 160th St .).  As you travel on 160th St. you’ll notice farm buildings and grain silos.  Continue on 160th for about ¼ mile.   
  4. Take the first turn to the LEFT (about ¼ mile from the last turn) on Kk Ave.   You’ll begin to climb a hill. 
  5.  Within about 400 yards you’ll notice a Vineyard on the hill.  Turn LEFT into the grass entrance to the vineyard
  6.  Follow the path up the hill and park on top.  There will be other cars and Fireside Winery staff there to direct.  
  7. IF YOU GET LOST – call Brad at 319-329-1509

REGISTER NOW: LIMITED SPACE -- Send a note to Brad Johnson at to save your spot.  Please identify the date(s) you’d like to attend and the number and names of those in your party.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Will Work For Wine? -- Fireside Wine Ambassador Program

NEXT TRAINING - Sept. 14th (6:30-9:00pm)

Our wine friends frequently tell us how they'd love to work behind the tasting bar or at a wine tasting event.  We've figured out a way to bring our most vocal supporters into the wine industry through an innovative volunteer program called, "Fireside Wine Ambassador Program".

Our hope is to find our most ardent fans and equip them (through wine education, training, and wine tasting supplies) to, a couple times a month, help us by conducting wine tastings on our behalf at a retail outlet near where you live.

You won't get rich by doing this, but you will have fun, meet nice and interesting people, and as our slogan goes you "will work for wine"! :)

Below is a more formal description of our program.  If you're interested, read on...share with other Fireside wine fans, and if you're ready to join us, contact us soon because training will begin shortly.

Fireside Wine Ambassadors

Volunteer Program

The Fireside Wine Ambassador Volunteer Program is designed to identify, train and ultimately staff off-site tastings and events with our most ardent supporters.  Volunteers will need to agree to serve wine at two events per month.

Fireside Wine Ambassadors Are…
  • ·         Vocal supporters of Fireside Winery
  • ·         Passionate about Fireside wines
  • ·         People who want to share their knowledge of wines
  • ·         Interested in learning more about wine, winemaking and the Fireside Story
  • ·         Fans who represent Fireside Winery during off-site tastings and events
Prior to your first solo off-site tasting/event each Ambassador will need to complete the following: 1) attend a Fireside Winery wine education program (includes: winery tour, wine 101, and basics of wine service); 2) assist during an off-site tasting/event with a trained Fireside employee.

There are several benefits to being a Fireside Wine Ambassador.  It’s fun!  Hosting a wine tasting at a local retailer, pouring samples and describing Fireside wines is just plain fun!  In addition to being our vocal advocate in the community, you’ll gain a new level of appreciation and understanding for the wine industry in general and Fireside Winery in particular. 

One of the benefits of serving as a Fireside Wine Ambassador is the opportunity to access our wine industry training program, via Today’s Wine Professional.  This 15 hour online Winery Tasting Room Service Training is organized to take you through basic wine production information (e.g., how red wine production differs from white wine production), sparkling wine production, wine sensory analysis, health benefits and history of the wine industry, and finally how to properly serve wine to customers.  The online format, using YouTube video instruction and online assessment ensure you have every opportunity to learn as much as you can about the world of wine. 

At Fireside you’ll be treated like family – employee discount prices on wine purchases, use of wine glasses during our special events, and other ambassador benefits.  Moreover, each year we will host a Wine Ambassadors Night during the summer season to show you our appreciation.

Fireside Winery Wine Ambassadors are volunteer off-site tasting representatives.  In addition to the benefits described above, as a Wine Ambassador you’ll receive the following volunteer compensation:
  • One complimentary Fireside bottle of wine for each 2-3 hour event you volunteer
  • Complimentary Fireside Winery “I Work for Wine” t-shirt
  • Fireside Winery Name badge
  • Two  free passes to Fireside Winery special events (e.g., Tropical Iowan Night)
  • Earn special bonuses for your annual Wine Ambassador service:
    • After 5 events – Complimentary appetizer and two glasses of wine at Fireside
    • After 10 events – Friday Night Live: free catered dinner for two and bottle of wine
    • Additional bonuses to come…

FINALLY...If you are interested in learning more or would like to attend an upcoming training session, please contact Brad Johnson at


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Around Fireside...happenings

Summer is here at last...and before you know it we'll be in the vineyard harvesting our grapes and making wine again!  This is just a brief note to catch you up with the happenings around Fireside Winery.

In the Cellar:  Zach, our winemaker, is in the process of bottling all of our 2010 wines in order to make room for the 2011 grapes that will need space.  We're continually working to improve our wine quality through education and top-of-the-line winery equipment.  We've recently upgraded our wine filtration system, a machine we use to make sure the wine is clear; and have added 3,000 gallon-worth of new stainless steel tanks. 

These behind-the-scene changes reflect our commitment to quality wine and our goal of continual improvement.  

KCRG A-List: Earlier this Spring we asked you to show your support by voting for Fireside Winery as your favorite "wine shop" in the KCRG A-List.  Because of your efforts we were awarded the 2011 Winner "Best Wine Shop" in Eastern Iowa!  

Thank you for your vote...and your show of support!

Excellent Entertainment: our line-up of high quality local musicians make a trip to Fireside even more enjoyable.  Each Friday (arrive by 6pm) we have lively music (bring your dancing shoes), delicious catered food of P.H.A.T. Daddy's Restaurant, and all of our wines.

Every Sunday (open noon-5pm) we offer a more casual mix of live music, appetizers, and wine-by-the glass (or bottle) and a lovely environment to relax with your friends.

Special Events: Every so often we produce an extra-special event for our winery friends.  Here are a couple of our upcoming events:  July 16th - Tropical Iowan Night featuring the musical performance of the Cedar Island Band, delicious tropical foods prepared by P.H.A.T Daddy's; and on September 24th we'll be rockin' country style during our Harvest Festival (and Hog Roast) with Chris Brooks and the Silver City Boys.

...That's all for now!  Stop out and see us, but if you can't, please support our local retailers: