NEAR WEST POINT, Neb. (KTIV) - Most people have their passports for traveling internationally… but over in Nebraska, they have a unique kind of passport to help promote local wineries and tasting rooms in the Cornhusker state.
Promoted through the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association or the NWGGA, the Wine Passport Program encourages people to get in their cars and visit different wineries across the state.
At each winery or tasting room on the map you visit, you get your passport stamped. You can win prizes and be entered in drawings depending on how many stamps you collect.
The program features 29 stops around the state with 21 wineries and 8 tasting rooms, giving a unique experience at each stop.
"Going to the winery and experiencing it yourself. You'll develop a relationship with that wine, not just be like oh I found it at the store. Instead, it's more of a memory. They're seeing a lot more traffic from the passport program. So, it's all-around great tourism for the state of Nebraska," said Andee Arnoldy, Passport Program Lead.
"The wine is just a whole unique taste," said Dale Doerneman, Native 32 Co-Owner.
For three years, Native 32 Winery near West Point, Nebraska has been a part of the Nebraska Wine Passport Program.
"It's been a great thing for us. People are finding us that didn't even know we existed. So, it's just been really helpful," said Doerneman.
The program, helping not only promote their own winery but others around the state as well.
"It makes everybody know like what's out there. Nebraska has so much to offer. And there's a lot more wineries out there than I thought there were!" said Doerneman.
The winery began with the planting of Aronia berry bushes, on land that's been in Co-Owner Dale Doerneman's family for nearly 100 years.
"We started getting more and more berries, and what are you going to do with them? Well, I always wanted to make wine! So, I started in my basement. Did that for five years, and we outgrew that, and we went bigger," said Doerneman.
Now, through the passport program, people are able to travel and experience firsthand the unique wine Native 32 has to offer.
"We have something different to offer, we have Aronia wine, it's not your grape. So, it's just something totally different and a totally different experience," said Doerneman.
Doerneman said it's always fun watching people visit the winery.
"It's just a good feeling to see, they walk in here the first time and go wow," said Doerneman
Promoting local wineries in the Cornhusker state one sip… and stamp at a time.
If you're interested in picking up a wine passport and exploring the different wineries and tasting rooms, you can pick one up at any of the 29 locations or request one online by clicking here.