Screen Time

December is always a crazy month. Holidays are hectic and exciting, but they’re also a lot of work. Since online shopping is at an all-time high, you might be spending more time than usual in front of a screen, clicking all the buttons to find all the perfect presents.

Triple Hot Chocolate with toasted marshmallows in our fireplace room

Triple Hot Chocolate with toasted marshmallows in our fireplace room

 At NightHawk, we totally get it and we’d like to invite you to spend more time in front of a screen-- our fireplace screen. We are your special country place to get away from the glare of your computer and enjoy the soft glow of our twinkling holiday lights.

We're open Saturdays until 10 PM

We're open Saturdays until 10 PM

We’ll take the heat off of your quest for the perfect gifts when you sip mulled wine by our warm fire pit. Come out for a break from the bright, tiny screen you hold in your hands and instead, just look up at all the stars in the big winter sky.

Farm Fusion food is truly gourmet... the best in the county

Farm Fusion food is truly gourmet... the best in the county

Don’t worry about making food for your crew; bring them to NightHawk and let Farm Fusion pamper you with real plates, real silverware, and the absolute tastiest food you’ve ever had in the middle of the country on a starry, friend-filled night.

Our fire pit is huge... December is a great time at the winery!

Our fire pit is huge... December is a great time at the winery!

**To say thanks for taking time to read this and learn more about us, throughout December 2017 we are offering a first-time-ever, secret, special discount of 20% OFF CASES when you mention BLOG20. Thank you for caring about local agriculture and small business!

You + Wine = Perfect Pairing

Besides everything, what goes good with wine? The answer – everything.

Our guests often ask which foods pair well with our wines because they’re scared of making a mistake or “doing it wrong” when it comes to entertaining. In a future blog post, we’ll talk about more tips for specific food pairings, but the actual truth of the matter is that in America most of us are eating one (or more!) main dishes with at least 3 or more sides… all on one plate!

There’s really no way to thoughtfully pair just one wine with all the things we eat at the holidays: Can you imagine one perfect wine to go with cheese and crackers, veggies and ranch, roast beef, turkey, ham, green beans, latkes, cranberry sauce, cookies and pies and whatever else your own traditions bring to the table? 

Now, if you wanted to have an adventure in dining, you could thoughtfully separate the courses and enjoy each with a different wine offering, taking your time as you move through the menu. Think of all the fun you could have choosing wines that either complement or contrast with the food’s flavors. We could pair a creamy, savory green bean casserole with a bright citrusy white (like our Vignoles) to add balance. You might proudly serve our Reserve Red to bring out the flavor in your roast, or you could top off your guest's glasses with a sweet Moon Dance to complement your even sweeter dessert. Can you imagine the fun and the conversations you’d have over a 3-hour meal full of wine and food? You’d probably do a lot less cooking, too.

But alas-- since most gatherings today move at a quicker pace, your best bet is to simply buy a bunch of different wines** and let everyone taste a few to see which they prefer. There’s not going to be a perfect pairing with so many flavors at once, so you can really just let yourself off the hook. (Score one for the host- Yeah!) 

If you never remember anything else about wine, just know that good friends make the best pairing - everything tastes better when you're sharing it with the ones you love. 

Buy a case, open some bottles, make sure there are plenty of available glasses and let your guests have fun exploring some local wine. Our extended Saturday hours in December are from 11 am - 10 pm so that you can make a special evening out of shopping and tasting. Enjoy!

NightHawk is cozy in December and open until 10 PM on Saturdays

NightHawk is cozy in December and open until 10 PM on Saturdays

**Because you are taking time to read this and learn more about NightHawk Winery, now through December 2017 we are offering a first-time-ever, secret, special discount of 20% off a case when you mention BLOG20. Thank you for caring about local agriculture and small business!

Warming hands, hearts, glasses

NightHawk fans, you did it! WOW! We were blown away by the huge success of the inaugural Tuscan Pig Roast last weekend! To all of you who came out to laugh, drink, and feast in the cold rain – THANK YOU! Wasn’t that incredible? We couldn’t believe how much fun it was to get together in the worst weather of the month. 

Chef Josh 


The parking lot was full, bellies were satisfied, and the wine was flowing, making good times and treasured memories for all the hearty wine-lovers who attended. It’s hard to imagine a better day at the winery. Chef Josh’s creations were more than something special… they warmed our hearts. 

Cozy up in our transformed sun porch

Cozy up in our transformed sun porch

Speaking of warming, now is the perfect season to cozy up with a glass of wine in two areas of our property that transform into something magical this time of year. We open our fireplace room to guests so that people can enjoy a bottle together in a comfy space with a rustic feel. We also wrap our sun porch in protective sheeting and bring out the warmers so that you don’t have to sit by the fire pit outside (even though that’s really great too!) 

It's warm inside our fireplace room

It's warm inside our fireplace room

Thanks to your turnout, Chef Josh will be making an encore appearance this weekend, Saturday November 18. Mark your calendars and come out for his inspired farm-to-fork food! 

This is also the last weekend of the season for live music. Laura Lisbeth plays original, heartfelt folk-pop at 2 pm. There should be a lot of her fans out in attendance. It's going to be a great weekend in the country-- music, food, friends and wine! 

Guests love NightHawk in every season

Guests love NightHawk in every season

We warm you inside and out with a special treat -- our seasonal offering of German Glö-wine in the tasting room. Buy a glass from us, (love it!) and then take home a bottle of our wine to create your own batch for friends and family! This drink makes the season great and it’s also a great excuse to use an umlaut (those little dots over the ‘o’.)

Enjoy the recipe, and don’t forget that wine is always cheaper by the case. Prosit!  

NightHawk Glö-wine (German Glühwein)

4 cups apple cider
1 bottle red or white wine
1/4 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
3 whole star anise
4 oranges, peeled (optional garnish)

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except garnish. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add orange peel to each (optional) and serve.
 

A unique celebration!

When was the last time you were invited to a pig roast? Seriously, when? Maybe you've been to Hawaii for a luau and had roast pork, tasty drinks and live music. Well, we aren't quite Hawaii, but we can still eat, drink, and dance to celebrate the season. We want to make unique memories with you! Do something different and join us at the inaugural NightHawk Tuscan Pig Roast on Saturday, November 11th from 12-6 pm.

It takes a lot of work to build a giant roasting pit. Chef Josh and Don put blocks into place for the big event. 

It takes a lot of work to build a giant roasting pit. Chef Josh and Don put blocks into place for the big event. 

Think of the experience-- Chef Josh slowly roasts two of his pasture-raised whole pigs on an open fire of crackling hardwoods, apricot wood, and Chambourcin grapevines. The woodsmoke is in the air and you're drinking wine with friends.

This gourmet meal ($25) also includes side dishes; a portion of savory fire-roasted whole pumpkin, wild rice goat cheese and herbs, a tasty side salad, and the best Black Forest brownie you've ever had. Wine is sold separately and we recommend our autumn favorite Baco Noir dry red, Firefly, or Osage white to perfectly complement this very special meal. 

Our cozy indoor spot 

Our cozy indoor spot 

We'll feature live music by No Fly Zone to keep the good vibes and the good times flowing. If you’re worried about chilly air, please don’t let that stop you. We will have our fire pit ablaze and an indoor fireplace with space for 30 to cozy up to. Bring a blanket -- we're all friends here! Weather happens but the good times must go on!

Friends enjoying our fire pit

Friends enjoying our fire pit

We're excited to offer you a chance to come out to the country for a day of amazing memories. Reservations aren't specifically required, but please reserve your spot just to make sure we know you're coming.

Be a part of the first NightHawk event of its kind! Spread the word to your friends and family—let them know there’s something special to do on November 11th. The best part about NightHawk is meeting great people... we hope to see all of you here (even if it's not Hawaii). 
 

An adventure in every glass

At the tasting room counter we often hear, “Can I taste a Pinot Grigio?” Or, “What do you have that’s exactly like a Cabernet Sauvignon?” These are fair questions, and to some the answers may be shocking:

No, you can’t taste a Pinot Grigio.
And nothing we have is exactly like a Cabernet Sauvignon.
— Honest NightHawk

A little lesson in wine history

If you’re used to drinking wines available at every big box store from Florida to Idaho, you are drinking wines made from what are called vinifera grapes. Vitis vinifera is the Latin name for a grape species with some very famous members; Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling, Merlot, and Pinot Noir are a few examples.

Vinifera grapes have been around for thousands of years so naturally the techniques used to plant, cultivate, and turn them into wine have been thoroughly refined. These Old World grapes are perfectly suited for the climates and soils of Europe and other places where temperatures are mild, like California.

But Kansas is not California

Kansas’ climate is fantastic for producing wheat, soybeans, corn, basketball champs and sorghum but it is not good for producing Old World grapes. In fact, if the temperature in the vineyard ever dips below 10 degrees Fahrenheit -- ever -- vinifera grapes usually won’t survive. If you’ve been through a Midwestern winter, you can see how this would be a problem. A Pinot Grigio grape will not grow here. A Cabernet Sauvignon grape will not grow here. You only have to whisper “Kansas in January" to a Chardonnay grape and it will instantly die.*

We still love wine and want to make it locally, so what do we do?

Hybrid grapes are the answer!  

French-American hybrids are descendants of vinifera grapes that have been bred with species native to America that can grow in our colder weather. It takes years (sometimes 25 or more) to breed grapes that are disease, cold and pest tolerant, and still taste wonderful. We’re not talking about GMO – we are talking about actually mating different grape species. NightHawk wines are made with hybrids so that we can grow our wine and drink it too:

Some of our varieties:

Seyval Blanc – a flavorful white with notes of hay, grapefruit and melon. We have two Seyval wines to taste and compare.

Vidal Blanc -- a light, lovely white with just a kiss of oak

Baco Noir – a bold and spicy red (would be great at this season’s last Fire Pit Friday)

Frontenac – one of the grapes in our Sunrise Blush. Try it with different pairings to explore how food transforms the flavors of this blend.

These are only a few of the grapes we use to produce delicious, thoughtful, local products. Come out to the winery and try over a dozen of our wines. Savor the moments with friends and fresh farm-to-table fare from Chef Josh before he’s gone for the season. You can even buy some honey made from our own bees.

We are a local Kansas City area vineyard and winery

We are not the big box guys. If there’s a wine you like, buy it and buy enough (case discounts). What you’re drinking is the direct result of this season’s weather and it will never be the same again. You’re drinking a moment in time, a fleeting memory. 

When you come with friends to NightHawk, you’re not tasting the same old White Zinfandel you can get at any gas station in America. You’re on an adventure-- tasting the unique flavor of ever-changing Kansas skies and summers. When you drink NightHawk wine, you’re tasting the Heartland. Drink an adventure!

 *not scientifically proven, but possible

Fire pit Fridays and a 5K

October means that we are open every Friday until 7:30. If you haven’t stayed for an incredible Fire Pit Friday with Chef Josh’s farm-to-table menu, sunset views and a crackling fire, please don’t miss out. We hear glowing reviews from everyone who’s experienced one and there are only 3 Fire Pit Fridays left this year. Seize the s’mores!

Over 250 participants raised money for cancer patients.

Over 250 participants raised money for cancer patients.

Besides, is there a better time for drinking wine outside than October? The air is so clean and the sun is purer under turning leaves of gold and orange. It’s a time for taste buds to cozy up to our Reserve Red or indulge in our Norton or Chambourcin wines. And if reds aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy a tasty Moon Dance or Seyval Blanc. You won’t even need an ice bucket. 

Chuck Kellerstrass took home 2nd place in his division. Can't spell WINNER without W-I-N-E!

Chuck Kellerstrass took home 2nd place in his division. Can't spell WINNER without W-I-N-E!

The past weekend was a first for us at NightHawk. October 7 was the inaugural Miami County Cancer Foundation No One Fights Alone 5K sponsored by us! We hosted over 260 race participants plus volunteers and had a blast for a great cause, even in the morning mud.

The Fontana Fire Department helped a few cars out of the mud. Unfortunately, they couldn't stay for the wine!

The Fontana Fire Department helped a few cars out of the mud. Unfortunately, they couldn't stay for the wine!

The Miami County Cancer Foundation’s mission is to support county residents diagnosed with cancer. They provide valuable resources like gas cards to help with trips to treatment, grocery cards for food, homemade chemo hats, and loans of medical equipment such as hospital beds, canes, wheelchairs and walkers. They also wrap each cancer patient in love – by giving each and every one a handmade quilt from the Miami County Quilters’ Guild.

Julie Bussen got 1st place in her division and her brother Steven took home 2nd in his. Way to go, super sibs! 

Julie Bussen got 1st place in her division and her brother Steven took home 2nd in his. Way to go, super sibs! 

Cathy Leaver and Michelle Bridges are two dynamic forces behind the foundation, working hard to raise money to help others. The cancer foundation is 100% run by volunteers-- every penny donated goes directly to helping people with cancer.

Cathy Leaver, one of the founders of the MCCF, with her brother Doug Hewitt and his wife Alice. 

Cathy Leaver, one of the founders of the MCCF, with her brother Doug Hewitt and his wife Alice. 

All participants got t-shirts and a custom wine glass, lots of them staying to enjoy a morning tasting (either indoors in our tasting room or outside in our rustic corn crib) followed by an early gourmet lunch from Chef Josh. All in all it was another example of how people come together at NightHawk to help others and have fun while doing it.

Making good wine and doing good things… sounds pretty good to us.

Fundraiser for Betsy

Betsy Hasselquist has been a longtime friend of NightHawk-- you could even say she’s been a friend of the winery since before there was a winery. In 1992 she and her husband, Peter, met Don and Cathy and took pity on the crazy dreamers who were building a straw bale house by hand. They helped with numerous tasks related to construction and in 1994, when the home was finally finished, Peter’s band - the Blue Moon All-Stars - rocked out at the house-raising party. Sadly, Peter passed away in 2000. And even though the band members have all gone on to other projects, they reunite to honor him (usually just once a year) at the Paola Roots Festival.

So, although it was a hot summer Sunday on August 20, 2017, Betsy could think of no better place to celebrate her Aunt’s birthday than NightHawk Winery. They enjoyed our handmade wines, the shade of our walnut trees, the fluttering butterflies in the garden, and raised their glasses to another year well-lived.  

Unfortunately, August 21-22 was not as relaxing. Flash floods in Miami County dumped about 10 inches of water in a very short time, creating a disastrous and significant weather event that took everyone by surprise. The creek rose rapidly and in a matter of moments, Betsy's life changed. She was rescued via boat from her rooftop with only her dog, Digger, in her arms. When she was able to return to the house, it was ruined and so were most of her possessions. The only thing the flood didn’t destroy was her unstoppable spirit. 

So when Susan, Betsy’s sister, asked for our help with a fundraiser we didn’t hesitate. We gathered on October 1 under a brilliant sky to support our friend and have some fun along the way. Friends, neighbors, (and even winery visitors who just wanted to know what the heck was going on) gave money, drank delicious wine, had some tasty food and enjoyed the music.

Peter’s band reunited just for the occasion and it was magical to find everyone dancing on the patio, surrounding Betsy with love, support, and some really great blues! Our day of honoring Betsy bumped the amount raised for her home repair fund to over $27,750. Isn’t it amazing what people can do when they work together? And, if you want to donate there’s still time, even if you weren’t able to come celebrate with us. 

Last Saturday’s event reinforced our belief in the healing powers of great wine, live music, real food, and good people. Life can change in just one day, so take time to savor every moment. 
 

betsy-fundraiser-band.jpg

Certified Butterfly Gardens planted at NightHawk

We have long had a monarch and Swallowtail trail through the property for the last 20 years. The addition of larval and food plants will assist in increasing populations of butterflies in the future. Our 40 acres adjacent to the vineyard has contained common milkweed and butterfly bushes. We can't wait to see the results develop over time we will revisit!  Thank you Vo Nighthawkers for your help in planting this!!

Darlene Warring with help from Brookdale residents and landscape designer Lisa Simms plant our National Butterfly Monarch and Swallowtail Gardens!
 Prairie Moon Nursery  provided  Indigenous plants of Kansas for our Butterfly Garden Berm 

 Prairie Moon Nursery  provided  Indigenous plants of Kansas for our Butterfly Garden Berm 

Meet the Chef...

Ravioli, Chef Josh Hursey, and the best Chicken Curry Sandwich you've ever had!

Ravioli, Chef Josh Hursey, and the best Chicken Curry Sandwich you've ever had!

Josh Hursey is a local sustainable farmer from Osawatomie, Kansas, that enjoys experimenting in many culinary adventures. His ranch where you can find chickens, pigs, and goats is just the tip of his passionate farming background that started in 2014. Often to be heard saying, “you can find me in the back pasture”, explains one of the many practices Josh uses to be wholesome, sustainable, and as organic as he can.

With a degree in Culinary Arts, he started his calling for cuisine and his professional career in 2011. Needless to say Josh has many years of experience and knowledge under his chef’s coat. From owning and operating LUM Farms nestled just outside Osawatomie, KS to working in commercial kitchens, Josh has mastered a way of preparing delectable dishes, and plating to please.

Recently Chef Hursey has been cooking at the Paola Farmer's Market during the summer and now will be cooking at Nighthawk Winery.  Farm Fusion is the name of Josh’s catering he will be providing at the winery every Saturday throughout the summer.  It encompasses everything he incorporates off his own farm and foodie experience. Fried ravioli the size of you palm stuffed with sweet potato and goat cheese, or a curry chicken sandwich worth waiting in a line a mile long for are a few menu items to pick from. Whatever you do, you don’t want to miss out on the excitement, personality and FOOD that is Farm Fusion.