Winery at Kirkwood Community College

For more than a decade Lucas McIntire has been a force in the Iowa wine industry working as winemaker for some of the most well-known wineries in Iowa. Within the past few years he joined Kirkwood Community College, as faculty and program lead, to put his passion and energy behind the viticulture and enology certificate program on the main campus in Cedar Rapids.

We met with Lucas last night to interview him, tour the Kirkwood vineyard and winery, and as a bonus we were able sample some of the best sparkling wines of the region, his new “La Madeliina” Sparkling Wine.

Kirk and I arrived at the Winery at Kirkwood around 6:45pm and Lucas welcomed us to the facilities and shortly thereafter we were in the vineyard. It quickly became apparent how well managed the vineyard is, with 20+ varietals (more in development), by the healthy condition of the vines and the bird netting covering the ripening berries. Lucas was a fountain of wine growing knowledge going into great depth, yet explaining the more technical aspects so it was easy for anyone to understand.

To the benefit of the Iowa wine industry, Lucas’ passion and enthusiasm for Iowa grapes and wine is contagious and the hour and a half we spent interviewing him in the vineyard just flew by. His personality and effervescence for the wines being made in Iowa made this filming especially enjoyable.

We were running late so by the time we returned to the Kirkwood Winery our time was limited; however, before we left Lucas demonstrated the process of “disgorgement” – the removal of the yeast capsule from a sparkling wine bottle – that would happen prior to bottling sparkling wine. We were in for a treat. Lucas poured us samples of his award winning “La Madeliina” Sparkling Wine, made in the traditional French Methode Champenoise, this wine is naturally fermented in its bottle. The wine was a delicious treat, a lovely and lively sparkling wine that could go head-to-head with most any bubbly wines I’ve enjoyed. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Thanks for your time, Lucas, and for what is obviously something you deeply care about. Enjoy of few of the snapshot from last night (and find the complete album on our Facebook page). Cheers!

LucasVineyard
Lucas, standing in front of the bird-netted La Crescent grapes, and explaining the growth habit and why it’s important to net the vines in Iowa.
Lucas showing Kirk the sparking wine he is about to disgorge.
Lucas showing Kirk the sparking wine he is about to disgorge.
Describing the wine we are about to enjoy.
Describing the wine we are about to enjoy.
Perks of filming a wine documentary.  Actually, this was the first time we've tasted wine since working on the project. Cheers to great Iowa wine!  Thanks, Lucas!!!
Perks of filming a wine documentary. Actually, this was the first time we’ve tasted wine since working on the project. Cheers to great Iowa wine! Thanks, Lucas!!!
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