Just off Interstate-65 at exit 228 is an oasis of viniculture in Alabama. Ozan Winery, established in 2005, sits on a hill in Calera, Alabama surrounded by Norton grape vines.
On this warm Saturday, my friend and I found ourselves seated at a small tasting table ready to sample the offering of twelve wines, from a Chardonnay to dessert wines.
We found our favorites in the Peach and the Norton Silver red wine. The wines are aptly named for their flavor. Lunch of a chicken salad sandwich and delicious sides of pickled vegetables accompanied our robust tasting.
After enjoying our wine, we spent the afternoon, “riding the rails”, in a 1950’s train from the nearby Heart of Dixie train museum. Onboard we opted for the pleasure of the air-conditioned 1905 passenger car.
Here is a quick video of the train switching locations to continue our short journey. Video_20180602143635
Ozan is a popular site for weddings as the vineyard adds a touch of elegance. The winery itself offers small plates and tastings daily, except Mondays. On most spring and summer weekends, you can have a magnificent wine tasting and train ride in the morning or afternoon. Ozan has recently begun distilling spirits. Their Yella whiskey, White whiskey, and Vodka are tasty additions to their award-winning wine.
Not far from Ozan is the Heart of Dixie Train Museum, which features a number of rail cars and massive locomotives. Run by local train enthusiasts, the Heart of Dixie makes a fun stop to learn about Alabama’s railroad history. The Heart of Dixie has twenty-five miles of track which is privately maintained to preserve Alabama’s railroad history.
If you’re traveling north or south on I-65, take some time and stop in at Ozan and enjoy some of their tasty treats at Café Vino and the sumptuous wines. You’re sure to leave with a bottle or two!