Visit Louisiana Wineries for a "Stay-Cation"

Dora Ann Hatch is the Agritourism Coordinator for the LSU AgCenter.

This article originally ran in the Ruston Daily Leader on July 12, 2011.

It’s summertime and people are making plans for vacation. Many travelers throughout America will choose a vacation that involves agriculture and fun. With those criteria in mind, traveling to wine country might be just the trip for you and your family. Learning how grapes are grown and processed into wine is a great way to experience the bounty of agriculture.

With gasoline prices still over $3 a gallon a stay-cation might be the right choice for some families. Louisiana has six wineries listed on Louisiana MarketMaker, a new website that links producer to consumer.

One winery is located in North Louisiana, with the remainder of the wineries in South Louisiana.

Travel to one winery or travel to all four and experience what Louisiana has to offer. Learn from the wine makers about how the grapes are grown, harvested and then processed into wine. You will be surprised at the quality and variety of wines offered in Louisiana. So, let’s begin our wine tour in North Louisiana with Landry Vineyards and Winery.

Landry Vineyards and Winery relocated to West Monroe following Katrina. Owners Jeff and Libby Landry operate their family winery and vineyard in the hill country of Ouachita Parish. Their newly completed tasting room overlooks the winery’s nine acres. People book this picturesque setting for business meetings and parties. Throughout the year, the Landrys offer live music and a chance to sit outside in a festival-like atmosphere while mixing with people who enjoy wine and music.

Wine types sold at Landry Vineyards and Winery include: Blush, Red Blend, Du Bois Semi-Sweet, Blanc Du Bois Dry, Muscadine, Merlot Dry, Envie Rouge Dry Red, Blueberry Merlot Semi-Sweet and Blackberry Merlot Semi-Sweet. In addition they sell wine jelly baskets and other gift items.

Becnel Plantation, LLC, is located in Vacherie in the heart of plantation country. Donald Becnel, owner and wine maker, has received numerous industry awards for his fine wines. Tours are available upon request and Becnel Plantation has a wine tasting room where people can come and enjoy samplings of Blackberry, Currant and Raspberry wines.

Mac Cazedessus, wine maker and vineyard manager at Casa De Sue Winery in Clinton, produces 11 wines from organically grown grapes. He also produces two blueberry wines and sells pints of organically grown blueberries and muscadine grapes to retail stores when in season.

The seven-acre vineyard offers the following wine types: Blush, Red Blend, Rose, White Blend, Muscadine and Blueberry wines. For tours, call ahead. They are open dusk to dawn and provide a tasting room for sipping.

Amato's Winery is located in Independence. This family owned and operated business is open for tours and tastings by appointment only.

Wine maker Henry Amato offers the following wine types: Blackberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Peach, Strawberry, Red Muscadine, White Muscadine, Dry Strawberry, Sweet Strawberry and Semi-Sweet Strawberry.

To learn more about these vineyards and wineries log onto the MarketMaker website. This service is free to producers.

For more information on MarketMaker, contact me.

7/12/2011 12:30:57 AM
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