History and Wine at Barrel Head


Carl with Barrel Head owner John Burns

Dubuque, Iowa (7/20/2018) - During our summer travels, Jo and I had the opportunity to take some day trips and short 2-3 day excursions around Illinois and Iowa. We visited friends and family, many historical sites, and some of the areas' Midwest wineries. We always managed to find places that had interesting scenery, buildings, items, and--most of all--people.


Located in Dubuque, Iowa, Barrel Head is a unique winery located amidst rolling hills of beautiful greenery of vineyard and corn fields (Slideshow below).

Our host, owner John Burns, was a gracious and accommodating expert. Jo enjoyed tasting the exceptional wines Barrel Head offers, all of which were made with their own grapes. You can see the various wines that she tasted in the banner photo. Some of their exceptional, award-winning wines over the years are pictured below:

Of the award-winning wines, we bought some of the "Iowa Sweet Concord" to take home. Of interest, this concord wine was entered into competition on a "let's see what happens" sort of basis...and came away winning the competition in its category over East Coast wineries that typically take the prizes in concord wines.


More than just what is on the shelves and in the award lineup, John gave us an incredibly informative tour of the winery's facilities, explaining how they make these exceptional wines and, surprisingly, a champagne as well.

Beyond the wine and production process, the tasting room is also a collection of history. John is a Vietnam Veteran who served his country honorably, but would prefer that you do not offer your thanks for his service as has become commonplace in our society today. Why not? John is a humble man who focuses on his life since the war and the joy that his vineyard and winery bring to him. I respect that--when you visit, I ask that you also respect his wishes.


September 28, 2016, John was presented with a "Quilt of Valor" in honor of his military service by Bonnie Helberger and Mary LeGrand, who pieced, quilted, and bound the quilt by hand. John also has certificates commemorating Vietnam service hanging near the quilt itself.



As mentioned previously, John and Karen have received numerous awards for their superb wines. Their success has been recognized by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, in congratulations for their remarkable achievements across the world.


If you are in the Dubuque, Iowa area--a beautiful, green area with the rolling hills of America's Heartland, it is well worth the time to visit Barrel Head--you will not be disappointed!



Barrel Head & Burns Family Vineyard

9995 Laudeville Road

Dubuque, IA 52003


Phone: 563.556.7073


Hours of Operation

Fri: 10am - 5pm

Sat: 10am-5pm

Sun: 10am-5pm

Other times by appointment only


Website: http://barrelheadvw.com/