Adel Barn Accents Penoach Winery in Iowa
It started as a dairy barn in the 1920s on a farm north of Adel. By the mid-1990s, the farm was gone but the barn remained part of an acreage surrounded by new housing developments. In 2006, the barn became the hub of Penoach Winery and remains a big draw at this central Iowa destination.
“I like the fact that the barn is rustic and has lasted all these years,” said Joanie Olson, who runs Penoach Winery with her husband, Stan. “Our customers also love the old barn.”
The clay-tile barn was built on the H.B. Kinnick farm north of Adel to house dairy cattle. It was likely constructed with clay-tile blocks made in Adel. Olson recently met an 89-year-old gentleman from Arizona who is related to the Kinnick family and grew up on the farm.
“His father lost the farm during the Great Depression of the 1930s,” Olson said. “This man recalled sitting on the back porch and crying during the farm auction.”
In 1960, Olson’s parents, Paul and Mildred Hufferd, purchased the 240-acre farm, where they raised crops, cattle and hogs. Olson moved back to her family’s farm around 1980-81 with her husband, Stan, who had grown up on a farm near Lake Mills. The couple farmed for about 15 years. “My dad raised pigs in the barn, and then Stan did, too,” Olson said.
Although Stan began selling insurance after he quit farming, he never lost his passion for agriculture. “Stan missed growing things, so he planted 50 grape plants in 1999,” Olson said. In 2000, the Olsons started a grape nursery to supply grape vines to wineries that were taking root across Iowa.
Within a few years, the Olsons decided to start their own vineyard and winery. Penoach Winery, which reflects Adel’s original name, opened in 2006. Today, the operation includes 4 acres of grapes behind the barn, not far from areas once covered by cornfields and a hog lot.
“The barn was in pretty good shape when we started remodeling it for the winery,” Olson said. “We worked from top to bottom, starting with cleaning out the hay and pressure washing the barn.”
The transformation also included new floors, electrical wiring, plumbing, windows, doors and a covered patio on the south side of the barn. “Stan did most of the work,” Olson added.
While couple installed their wine-making equipment in the back of the barn, the space wasn’t quite large enough. About four years ago, the couple moved this equipment to a nearby shed and transformed the back room of the barn into a gathering space, complete with comfortable chairs. In the adjoining room, guests can browse the gift shop, which showcases 18 varieties of wine made at Penoach Winery.
“We enjoy meeting lots of people who visit our winery,” Olson said. “We’re glad we can share our barn with them.”
Want more Iowa culture and history? The barn at Penoach Winery will be featured in my upcoming book, Dallas County, a pictorial history from Arcadia Publishing, which will be released in the summer of 2017. In the meantime, check out my top-selling “Calhoun County” book, which showcases the history of small-town and rural Iowa, as well as my “Culinary History of Iowa” book from The History Press. Order your signed copy today!
P.S. Thanks for joining me. I’m glad you’re here.
@Copyright 2017 Darcy Maulsby & Co.
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