Miletta Vista winery opened to the public, December 2007 and has been growing ever since. The 2,000 sq ft tasting room has 84 feet of covered deck on the south and east. The building had a 1,000 of winery where all the wines were made and stored, now this area serves as the wine warehouse. In 2010 the owners added 3,000 sq ft to the north which now serves as the winery/office and wine lab. The owners live on site in the lower level, walk-out apartment.
Grape vines take nearly five years to mature before a full crop can be harvested and will produce for 30-80 years when properly cared for. Approximately 15-20% of the grapes needed to produce the nearly 10,000 gallons of wine are grown here on the estate. The rest of the grapes needed are purchased from growers around St.Paul and Gibbon, Heartwell, Brainard, Alma, Nebraska City and York.
Grape harvest begins every year around the 10th of August with Edelweiss. Edelweiss like all the grape varieties are closely monitored for changes in sugar content and juice pH the last two weeks before harvest. Once the proper balance of flavor, sugars and pH are reached, harvest occurs.
The grapes are all handpicked, brought to the winery, weighed, de-stemmed and the juices pressed out. The juices are then pumped into refrigerated wine tanks and chilled to 35 degrees for 24 hours before the fermentation begins. Fermentation of the sweet wines and all white wines occurs around controlled temperature of about 60-65 degrees and takes approximately 3-4 weeks. Then the wine is again chilled to 32 degrees to stop fermentation. Once fermentation is stopped the wine is allowed to settle for a week or two, then filtration begins and continues for several weeks. During this process, wines are also heat stabilized and cold stabilized. Heat stability is done to remove proteins that can make wines cloudy if exposed to temperatures of 80 degrees or more for a significant period of time, like leaving wine in your car during a hot summer’s day. Cold stability removes excess tartaric acid from wines which can crystallize upon refrigeration. Unstable tartaric acids form at the bottom of the bottle, what some call wine diamonds. These acids precipitate and look much like grains of sand if not removed, through cold stabilization. Both of these conditions are harmless, but unsightly to consumers.
Wines are bottled when ready and sometimes this can be done in 60-90 days, if we are running low on a specific wine. However, with nearly 14 different wines to filter, stabilize and finish most years bottling wine occurs well into spring and early summer.
Miletta Vista wines are in over 130 outlets throughout Nebraska and over 8,000 people visit the winery per year. Since opening, visitors have come from over 220 Nebraska towns and 14 foreign countries. Meals are served every Friday and Saturday and the tasting room is open five days per week, year round.