BRUCE – After four decades in education, Myron Eighmy is turning his family’s farm into what he hopes will become a destination for his hometown of Bruce.
Lebruce Vineyard and Winery is a new South Dakota-based winery located just a mile south of Bruce on 466th Avenue.
The vineyard is run and owned by vintner Eighmy, a retired professor of 40 years. Eighmy had Lebruce in mind for the past decade with goal of it being his “retirement career.”
He’s assisted by Randi Bennett, a South Dakota State University student who is earning degrees in biotechnology and microbiology. Bennett is in a sort-of “do everything” position but has the official title of enology (the study of wines) technician.
The vineyard offers a wide array of wines. Currently they have raspberry, black currant, elderberry and apple, to name a few. The two vintners are working on five more variations like rhubarb, honey and another apple variant, Bennett said.
All the ingredients they use for their wine come from local sources, especially the honey and fruit from Sanderson Gardens.
Lebruce is hosting wine tastings and tours of the acreage once every weekend through August. A large house is currently being built on the property, with the top half to be used for parties, meetings, weddings and anything else in need of a wine bar.
Lebruce has been an established company for just over a year. So far, Eighmy and Bennett have been mostly preparing to have a stocked inventory (since the winters aren’t exactly conducive for growing fruit) and establishing where Lebruce will be sold.
Lebruce wine can be purchased directly from the vineyard, at The Ridge in Bruce, Handymart in Arlington, Discount Liquor in Madison and at the Brookings Liquor Store.
Eighmy, a Bruce native, earned his doctorate in occupational adult education at the University of Minnesota. He taught in several different cities and universities, including North Dakota State University, SDSU and at the University of Milwaukee.
Eighmy and Bennett are just like any other farmers in South Dakota. They plant with the seasons, deal with various animals and insects and, especially this year, flooding. Eighmy owns the farmstead and has chosen to call it his place of business as well as his home.
“My father bought the place back in 1950. It’s been the family farm for years and years, and when my parents passed – I had been purchasing the place while they were alive – I became in sole possession of it,” Eighmy said.
“And I didn’t start doing anything with the vineyard until my first grapes were planted in 2015, and then in 2016 we had finished up the vineyard that we have here now. And then, right now we’re working on building a tasting room and doing some landscaping.”
On the acreage, about 5 acres are dedicated to the various fruit bushes and trees that they use, but there are also a few different sites on the farmstead. A facility where they distill the wine is attached to a bar area where the wine tastings happen, and there’s also the new building that’s under construction.
Much of the front-half of the acreage is a dedicated nature preserve area for native grassland and wildlife.
And north of the farmstead, there is a one-half scale replica of the more than 100-year-old school bell that adorned the top of the old Bruce school.
Eighmy made the Lebruce logo that old school bell as a connection to the community, and he wants to establish Lebruce as a similar landmark for the town.
Lebruce Vineyard and Winery does not currently have a website, but it is in the process of being created, Bennett said. However, for more information visit their Facebook page for updates and entering for prizes.