There are no grapevines growing in a local vineyard. There are no tanks with fermenting grapes waiting to be siphoned into bottles.
But despite not having the obvious trappings of a winery, The Iron Horse Winery has come to Kenosha.
Michael and Vicki Luteran, former residents of western Pennsylvania, opened their winery at 5000 Seventh Ave., in the Harborside neighborhood.
Neighbors say the winery is in the right place because it is in a trendy area that is rapidly developing.
The recent retirees, who have a passion for creating craft wines, opened their business in late March, nearly six months after relocating here to be with relatives.
The couple had experimented with making wine in Pennsylvania, using grapes grown in vineyards near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border.
“We thought opening a winery might be a good idea,” Vicki said. “We were looking for something we could do together after retirement.”
They hope to bring southeastern Wisconsin a broader variety and some distinctly different craft wines.
The Iron Horse Winery currently serves a variety of reds and whites with railroad names such as Chicago Rock Island, Little Old and Slow, Nickle Plate, Milwaukee Road, Zephyr and All Hills and Curves and Bumps, a light-bodied cabernet with the taste of berries.
Zephyr is a crisp light pinot grigio with a grapefruit finish. Milwaukee Road is a semi-sweet concord.
Phoebe Snow, the only wine without a railroad theme, is one of Vicki’s favorites. It is a Fredonia sweet blend.
For now, the wines are produced in western Pennsylvania though a distribution arrangement. However, the Luterans expect to produce their own after obtaining the proper licenses.
A variety wines from other countries are also available.
Rustic and railroads
The railroad theme comes from Michael, a retired railroad welder.
He’s also a master carpenter, creating most of the benches and some of the other furniture in the large tasting room from rustic parts from old barns.
The room has railway artifacts, paintings created by family members and even a medieval toy soldier display.
While sipping wines, patrons can play chess and other board games, read books by the fireplace or sit at tables near the large storefront windows.
“It has sort of a general store effect,” Vicki said.
Patrons can purchase light snacks, including cheese, crackers and summer sausage. They hope to add pizza and other food items later.
They also plan to host events, including a fundraiser for the Kenosha Historical Society, Vicki said.