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No information can be found on when Loetscher started growing grapes and making wine. In any case, he was among the first farmers in the state to do so. According to the Arkansas Encyclopedia, the earliest vintners in Arkansas included Johann Wiederkehr, from Switzerland, and Jacob Post, from Germany, both of whom both produced wines in Altus (Franklin County). Both started making their wines in about 1880.

Apparently by 1888, several German-speaking farmers in Central Arkansas were growing grapes and selling wine made from them. An article in the Daily Arkansas Gazette promoting life in Faulkner County mentioned grape growing and wine production: Grape culture is receiving a great deal of attention, the Concord and other varieties yield immense quantities of wine (400 to 500 gallons per acre) and sells for $1 and upwards per gallon. The German citizens (always thrifty and prosperous wherever they may be) are developing this industry very rapidly.

Not long after this article was published, after the sale of locally made wine was prohibited within three miles of the Conway public school, commercial wine making in Conway came to a quick end.

According to the Echo, as more Germans settled in Conway in the 1870/80s, Loetscher provided them advice and help: “He was long valued as an authority on many things, especially on the topic of wine making. He had established a splendid wine garden and lived happily and contentedly in his own way with his family, until the College was built here.”

Jamie Metrailer
Little Rock, AR

My wife and I are the owner/operators of Railway Winery. We are probably the newest of the Arkansas small farm wineries having received our license in 2011 and opened our doors Sept. 1, 2012. We are located 8 miles north of Eureka Springs next to the town of Beaver, along the Missouri North Arkansas Railway. We feature native, hybrid, and fruit wines. We are open Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and are available for groups and events by reservation. We welcome picnickers and are pet friendly. 
Railway Winery & Vineyards         
4937 Hwy 187
Eureka Springs, AR 72631 
Winery Ph. 479-244-7798

Greg Schneider
Eureka Springs, AR

Alpine Vineyards Winery was founded in 2004 and has been a federally bonded winery since 2006. The winery produces and sells its own muscadine wine under its own label and is in the process of vineyard development.  I am the sole proprietor.
Kurt Neumeier
Altus, AR