Wide River Winery visitors can view the Mississippi River, hike in the woods or picnic on the deck. And how about learning about organic grape growing? How about tasting award winning wine? Sounds like a good plan for wine lovers in Clinton, Iowa.

Dorothy O’Brien’s third career sprung from her love of wine, food and nurturing all that grows when she opened the winery on the bluffs in 2005. Today Dorothy produces award-winning wines with playful law-themed names. She looks forward to releasing her first wine from organically-grown grapes soon.

“I began making wine in 2001 as a hobby and spent time hanging around winemakers and going to trade shows,” says Dorothy. “Before long I was hooked, attending Dr. Murli’s seminars and reading everything I could on the art and science of winemaking.” (Dr. Murli Dharmadikari is enologist and director of Iowa State University’s Midwest Grape and Wine Industry.)

Using Midwest grapes, Dorothy produced 900 gallons of wine in 2005 and today production exceeds 7,000 gallons. As a viticulturist she grows seven varieties of certified organic grapes on six acres. These vines are maturing and will soon be at full production.

“The winery is a labor of love and a going family business,” Dorothy explains. Daughter Ann Pelton handles retail sales and marketing while son-in-law Paul Quinn has jump-started a wholesale division. Dorothy’s other children pitch in on web page development, grape picking and wine tasting.

Wide River Winery is the newest member of The Iowa Wine Trail and will be participating in the trail’s Wine and Food event April 25 and 26, 2009.