When most people think of Louisiana, they think about Mardi Gras, seafood, and beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, but this southern state also features a number of notable wineries—with several gaining recognition for their high-quality wines that incorporate produce from the robust local agriculture industry.
Check out the following list of the four best wineries to visit in Louisiana.
NOLA Tropical Winery
A grape-free winery, NOLA Tropical Winery continues the southern tradition of making fruit wines. In making its 100-percent natural wines, NOLA Tropical Winery uses berries and a diverse array of citrus and tropic fruits, from watermelon and passion fruit to tangerine and pink grapefruit. The winery features 40 wines, including dessert wines, port, and sherry, as well as muscadine, the unofficial First Wine of the South.
At NOLA Tropical Winery’s main location in the heart of New Orleans, visitors can sample the diverse menu of fruit wines at the marble bar, where the winery’s staff members offer an individual taste profile analysis as well as advice on food pairings. One of the winery’s unique creations is the fruit wine smoothie, which guests can enjoy at the bar or take out onto the streets in one of the winery’s unique shatter-proof to-go cups.
NOLA Tropical Winery has become so popular that the owners decided to open a second location, called Beyond the Grape, in Pensacola, Florida.
Located in West Monroe, Landry Vineyards was originally located in Folsom but
moved north after Hurricane Katrina. Visitors can tour the 20-acre site, which features not only a beautiful vineyard but also a winery and tasting room. Landry produces a diverse selection of wines that pair well with Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cuisine.
Standout wines at Landry Vineyards include a Malbec aged in French oak barrels and a buttery Chardonnay with hints of apple, honey, and pear. The vineyard is also known for several Muscadines, including the Sweet Dixie White Muscadine, which is named after the Landry family’s Labrador Retriever, and the Peach Muscadine Wine. Also offering fruit wines, Landry Vineyards makes both blueberry and blackberry Merlot wines.
More than just a wine estate, Landry Vineyards hosts outdoor concerts where guests can enjoy the music of local artists while sitting on a blanket and sipping Landry wines. To accompany its wines, the winery sells cheese trays and Louisiana-inspired food, including jambalaya.
Located in Bush, outside of New Orleans, Pontchartrain Vineyards has been growing grapes since the 1990s. The estate benefits from well-drained soils at its unique location 20 miles north of Lake Pontchartrain in the hills above southern Louisiana’s flat coastal plain.
The winery produces some 2,500 cases of wine per year, including the Port of New Orleans, a Tawny Port made with North Coast Zinfandel. Red wine lovers can also find Grenache and Syrah, while white wine enthusiasts should sample the Blanc du Bois and the Chardonnay. Moreover, Pontchartrain stands out as the only winery in Louisiana to make table wine exclusively from bunch/wine grapes.
In addition to offering tastings at its beautiful tasting room overlooking the vineyard, Pontchartrain Vineyards hosts the “Jazz’n the Vines” concert series. Started in 2000, this premier Northshore-area music event includes fall and spring concerts with local musicians playing a variety of New Orleans styles of music.
On Cloud Wine
Founded in 2009, this Shreveport-based winery makes all of its wines in its onsite stainless-steel tanks. On Cloud Wine’s selection includes both sweet and dry wines, such as the Bon Temps, which is made from the Symphony grape and features a mango flavor and a grapefruit finish. The winery’s dry reds include the Red River Ripple and the Bullfrog Beau. The Red River Ripple is made from the Tempranillo grape native to Spain and has a unique tobacco and vanilla finish, while the Bullfrog Beau is a somewhat spicy Shiraz.
On Cloud Wine’s sweet wines include both reds and whites, such as the BlueBerry Moon, a Pinot Noir with a hint of blueberry. Wine lovers looking for sweet wines can try the Bourbon Street Jazz, which is a White Zinfandel featuring notes of strawberry and plum. Visitors can taste these and other wines at On Cloud Wine’s quaint country-style bar or on the deck overlooking the estate’s pond.
The above four wineries are a great start to your foray into Louisiana wine culture. As you explore this state’s unique wineries, you’ll notice the winemakers incorporate fresh local produce into their recipes, which gives Louisiana wines a unique character difficult to find in other wine regions. Also, be sure to sample the wines along with one of the state’s diverse seafood and Cajun- and Creole-style dishes, offering a food-and-wine pairing found only in this beautiful Gulf Coast state.