Producer Feature: Schadé Vineyard and Winery

Schadé Vineyard and Winery owners, Nancy and Jim Schade along with Dillon Ringling received a Value Added Producer Grant through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a healthy juice utilizing Aronia berries from South Dakota growers.

The idea grew from some of their customers who were drinking the Aronia juice which was also an ingredient for their Black Chokeberry wine, but the customers were drinking the juice for medicinal purposes. Jim and Nancy wanted to help people live healthier lives by providing a quality juice product. Nancy noted, “There is all kinds of research done on the Aronia berry and its many health benefits, and you wouldn’t believe the number of people that come into the winery and tell us how much this product has helped them. Many customers have been able to stop taking certain medication, lowered inflammation, and boosted their immune systems. It really is a miracle fruit.”

They have been producing the juice for three years. A large majority of their juice is sold out of their tasting room in Volga, as well as some different wholesale locations, including: Sunshine Foods, Hy-Vee, County Fair, Fareway, and different food co-ops. The long-term goal for their Aronia juice is to market it at a national level. They are currently working with different companies to put the juice on the shelves of a few different grocery chains throughout the Midwest.

Aronia berries are readily available and quite common in South Dakota. The biggest hurdle they faced was finding someone with the facility to bottle the juice while retaining the nutritional value and ensuring a long shelf life. They ended up choosing a similar method to canning where the juice is heated and then fills the bottle. The juice shrinks, thus sealing the cap.

Nancy, Jim and Dillon do not have a problem getting behind the product. “It is 100% locally made.” When asked if the state of South Dakota could do anything to support their work, the response was that “the Governor’s Office of Economic Development should be more supportive of South Dakota made products. If they could inform consumers of new products and educate them on what that is, it would be a great help.”

We applaud the efforts of Schadé Vineyard and Winery to bring a quality South Dakota product to fruition. We look forward to the continued success of Aronia juice. We hope to see it on grocery shelves across the country someday soon.