Jill M. Rohrbach
Atop St. Mary’s Mountain, the Wiederkehr family tradition of winemaking began in 1880 when Johann Andreas Wiederkehr and his family emigrated from Switzerland to America. The original hand-dug wine cellar, now the site of the absolutely fabulous Weinkeller Restaurant featuring Swiss and Continental cuisine, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Vintage 1880 Wine Shoppe sells wine, gourmet items, and wine-related gifts from corkscrews and wine stoppers to wine glasses and T-shirts. Wiederkehr also accommodates groups in its banquet hall and travelers in its RV park. Its annual Wiederkehr Village Weinfest takes place in mid-September.
Wiederkehr serves an array of award-winning wines, from classic French varieties and dessert wines to sparkling wines and alcohol-free wines.
The winery and restaurant are open daily (except major holidays). Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner on Monday-Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Tours of the winery are offered every 45 minutes from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gift shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Wiederkehr Village is five miles south of Interstate 40, exit 41, on Ark. 186. Wiederkehr’s new store, located on I-40 at exit 41 is the Swiss Family Bistro, Gift Shop, & Liquor Store. The bistro serves Swiss specialties and American favorites cooked to order. It houses what Wiederkehr calls the “Wines of the World Tasting Room,” where visitors can taste wines from across the globe as well as Arkansas wines. The gift shop offers wine accessories and gifts, and the liquor store sells wine, beer and liquor. The bistro, gift shop, and liquor store are open seven days a week, and have free wireless internet access.
Find out more about Wiederkehr Wine Cellars at www.wiederkehrwines.com or phone 800-622-WINE. Better yet – go there! From Interstate 40, take exit 41 onto Ark. 186 south. Follow the signs to Wiederkehr Wine Cellars, about 4 miles.