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Increased Traffic Prompts Winery's Expansion

September 10, 2012, 9:54 PM by Derek Olson

Increased Traffic Prompts Winery's Expansion

According to the South Dakota Department of Tourism the number of visitors coming into the state is up including in the Black Hills. And businesses are benefitting from the boost.

More people are translating into greater demand for South Dakota products.  But that's just one reason why the Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City has broken ground on a new expansion.

For more than a decade, the Prairie Berry Winery has been turning people on to the many flavors of South Dakota.

"Even people who don't think they like wine, we challenge them that we convert people to wine drinkers everyday, and we do," Prairie Berry marketing manager Michelle Slott said.

"Oh, they're delicious.  Of course, I go for the sweet wines.  I didn't try the others, but in comparison to other ones I've tasted, they're exemplary," winery visitor Mary Long said.

With more than 700 awards, the winery will soon begin work on an expansion that will more than double their production.

"It's just fun to see the different products they offer.  We always stop here," Long said.

But strong demand for Prairie Berry's award-winning wines isn't the only thing behind the expansion.  The facility also draws in around 7,000 guests a week for wine tasting and other events.

The former Mistletoe Ranch is being renovated to host larger groups and special events that come to the winery.

"Now, it's going to be a chance to tell these people who already love what we offer, tell them, 'Yes, we would love to have you here for that.  We would love to host your wedding.  We would love to host your family reunion. We would love to,'" Slott said.

Because as more people travel through and fall in love with the Black Hills, the same is true at the Prairie Berry Winery.

"It is a beautiful place, a lot of beautiful scenery.  Just a very nice environment to spend a nice, relaxing vacation," Long said.

"People have a tendency to share what they love, and we have been blessed very much with people loving Prairie Berry," Slott said.

The multi-million dollar expansion is expected to be complete sometime next summer.

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