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Gary and Diane Forristall on Tour of French Wine Regions

Some have said it takes a lot of beer to make good wine. For Gary and Diane Forristall, that saying may not be far off the mark. They were beer drinkers before they became wine drinkers. The couple had a farm in Iowa and there was a section of land where they could grow something. They attended a meeting in Iowa for farmers interested in growing grapes. They discovered that there was a lot of enthusiasm by other farmers at the meeting; so Gary and Diane started thinking about planting a small vineyard.

They took some classes and in 2001 planted the first vines. More grapes were planted in 2003. In Iowa, they were experimenting with the cold hardy grape varieties developed by the University of Minnesota. They now have 200 grapevines including Marquette and Le Crescent. In 2003, they also joined the International Wine and Food Society. The society has monthly get-togethers to pair wines and foods. Gary and Diane have learned a lot about wine going to this group’s meetings, and those meetings have advanced their wine tasting journey.

What do you do with a half acre of grapes? Make wine. Gary and Diane are making a few hundred gallons of wine for personal use. While touring French vineyards and wineries, they were observant and asked many questions. When not at a winery though, they could often be caught with a beer.


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