Alaska may not be known for its wines, but it is famous for its great berries—full flavors that make for wonderful wines. At this small winery and B&B in Homer, you can taste and purchase a compelling mix of award-winning fruit wines and fruit grape wine blends—and even stay at the charming B&B that attracts a loyal following for romantic getaways.
The winery and B&B opened in 2003, but owner Bill Fry started dabbling in winemaking back in the 1990s, after sampling a friend’s homemade rhubarb wine. Bill started making wines at his kitchen counter and then shifted operations to the garage, experimenting with wines made from raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, rhubarb and more. When he kept getting great reviews from friends, Fry decided to move out of the garage and go into business. At the same time, he and wife Dorothy also decided to open a B&B.
Today, both the B&B and winery are still a family operation. Bill and Dorothy tend to the B&B guests; with help from son-in-law Louis and daughter Jasmine, they also help with tastings and give tours. Bill's mom even knits items for the gift shop.
Aside from having great access to the winery, the B&B—adorned with quilts and rough-hewn woods—offers both a secluded atmosphere and great views of Kachemak Bay. You can choose between two suites:
- The Arctic Suite, which sleeps 2 with one queen bed
- The Cowboy Suite, which sleeps 3 with one queen bed and a twin fold-out loveseat.
Each suite comes with a private bath and sitting area, as well as flat screen TV, fully stocked kitchenette, outdoor gas grill and free Wi-Fi. You also have access to a hot tub, steam bath, horseshoe pits and fire pit. Rooms include a complimentary bottle of wine, Alaskan-made chocolate truffles, breakfast at a nearby restaurant, local K-bay coffee and tea.
Plenty of people, of course, just come to Bear Creek for the complimentary tasting room, where you can also enjoy the garden setting (with horseshoes) and a gift shop stocked with local goods (such as honey, candles, mustards from Fairbanks and barbecue sauce from Kenai).
There are about 15 varietals available for tasting at any time. Fruit wines may make you think sweet dessert liqueurs, but fans attest that these wines taste “fruit-sweet” rather than “sugar-sweet.” They run a full range, from dry (such as the Alaska Chardonnay, featuring rhubarb) to medium-bodied (the Shirazzberry, a blend of shiraz and raspberry) and sweet (such as the Pomegranate wine or the Alaskan Port). The winery also offers pairing suggestions: the Gooseberry (like a Sauvignon Blanc) goes well with seared ahi or sushi, while the Black Currant goes well with duck, salmon or brie—all great inspirations to take a few bottles home.