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Minnesota is known for its pristine lakes and forests, and is home to the Twin Cities: Saint Paul and Minneapolis. You may not think of wine when you think of Minnesota due to the cold climate, but they do have some amazing wineries! Here are some of the best wineries in Minnesota to visit.
5 Of The Best Wineries In Minnesota To Visit
Five of Minnesota’s wineries are located within the valleys of three rivers the St. Croix, the Mississippi, and the Cannon. For wine lovers, a perfect weekend is hitting the trail, visiting these wineries, and sampling their high-quality locally produced wines. Minnesota’s budding wine industry is unique as the climate of this Upper Great Plains state is not considered the ideal grape-growing climate. But grow they do, and these five wineries have the evidence to prove it. All the wineries on the trail have wine-tasting varying in price from free and up.
Delectable Wines From Cold Hardy Vines
The University of Minnesota horticulturists have developed four winter-hardy wine grape varieties. Frontenac’s deep garnet color complements its distinctive cherry aroma and is used to produce many of the rose, red, and port wines. Frontenac Gris is the white version of Frontenac. Its amber-colored juice presents aromas of peach and apricot and is used in producing several varieties of the table, dessert, and ice wines. LaCresent is a white grape with an intense nose of apricot, peach, and citrus. The grape’s high acidity makes it a good choice for dessert and late harvest style wines. Marquette is another dark grape-producing rudy juice. With pronounced tannins and aromas of cherry, berry, black pepper, and spice, the wine is a complex red. To attest to their hardiness, the Frontenac and LaCresent vines have survived temperatures in excess of -30 degrees Fahrenheit and still borne full crops.
So, starting from the Twin Cities, let’s hit the wine tasting trail.
Located first on the trail in Chisago City, Wine Haven is now in its third generation. This winery continues its legacy of passing the earth’s secrets down to the next generation so they can continue the tradition of producing high-quality, award-winning grape, fruit, and honey wines. Wine Haven’s wine list boasts five whites, six reds, three fruits, two kinds of honey, and two dessert wines. Their wines have won one-hundred awards in the last ten years.
Winehaven Winery and Vineyards is located at 10020 Deer Garden Ln Chisago City, Minnesota 55013. Winehaven Winery is open Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm and Sunday: 11am – 5pm.
The second winery is also located in the Stillwater area. The award-winning wines of Saint Croix Vineyards are produced and prominently displayed in a restored century-old barn. Their list boasts five whites, four reds, and one dessert wine, Raspberry Infusion. The Minneapolis Star Tribune said this about Raspberry Infusion. “This massive dessert wine begs to be consumed with chocolate.” It is a truly different wine with an intense raspberry flavor.
Saint Croix Vineyards is located at 6428 Manning Avenue Stillwater, MN 55082. Saint Croix Vineyards is open Friday – Sunday 10 am – 6 pm.
The fourth winery Alexis Bailly, housed in a building built from Minnesota limestone and knotty pine, is Minnesota’s oldest winery. They released their first wine, a 1977 vintage made with 100% Minnesota grown grapes, in 1978. For a wine to be great, French winemakers have long held to the fact the grapes must suffer through the wind, sleet, snow, and drought and suffer they did, but they also endured and brought unlikely fame to the wine-drinking world with their award winning wines. Alexis Bailly’s wines include six reds, three whites, one rose’ and one dessert wine.
Alexis Bailly Vineyard is located at 18200 Kirby Ave So., Hastings, MN 55033. Alexis Bailly Vineyard is open Friday – Sunday 12pm – 5 pm.
Fifth on the trail, located in historic downtown Cannon Falls among the art galleries, B&Bs, and antique stores, Cannon River Winery produces award-winning wines from grapes grown just a few miles from their winery in Sogn Valley. They offer guided tours of the winery and walking tours of the vineyard. Their wine list boasts eight reds, five whites, three blushes, and a couple of specialty wines.
Cannon River Winery is located at 421 Mill Street West Cannon Falls, MN 55009. Cannon River Winery has varied hours depending on the season, but they never open before noon and are never open past 9 pm. Check the website for full details.
Last on the trail, nestled in the bluffs of the Mississippi River; Falconer Vineyards is the newest winery, having started in 2004. Falconer specializes in award-winning wine made from northern variety grapes. Their wine list boasts five types of light fruity whites along with five full-bodied reds. This winery also sells two types of white and three types of red grape plants through its nursery for those wishing to grow their own grapes.
Falconer Vineyards is located at 3572 Old Tyler Rd Red Wing, MN 55066. Falconer Vineyards is currently open Saturdays & Sundays 12-5 pm.
At the end of the trail, take the time to reflect back on the experience of tasting a variety of great Minnesota wines produced by these five small Minnesota wineries.