Just off Interstate-65 at exit 228 is an oasis of venticulture 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’s 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!