Minnesota Wineries


Did you know that there is a vineyard in every state in the Unites States?

Yes, it’s true. And if you don’t believe me, just check out this winery locator.

That doesn’t mean that all of these wineries and vineyards produce fine wines. But, really, what is the definition of a fine wine anyway? I thought that I once read that fine wines were made from vitis vinifera grapes. However, in doing a little extra research for this post, I couldn’t find that anywhere. In fact, it seems that there is no real definition for a fine wine.

I guess for me, then, it’s a wine from an established wine-making region. A region where winemakers have mastered the wine-making process based on the terroir of that region.

So what are the established wine-making regions in the U.S.? Well, just like the French have the DOC and the Italians the DOCG, the U.S. has federally recognized growing regions called AVAs (American Viticultural Areas). While I fully expected to find a listing of AVAs in California (i.e. Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, etc.), Washington (Columbia Valley), Oregon (Willamette Valley), New York (Finger Lakes) and maybe even the up-and-coming state of Virginia; I was surprised to learn that AVAs have been established in 30 states. I guess I can’t definite fine wineas coming from an AVA either. Have I become a snob?

Either that, or I’m missing out and I better get drinkin’.

In any case, I haven’t really been a fan of many Minnesota wines. Maybe I’m more snobbish than I think. {I consider myself more of a beer snob than a wine snob.} I’ve actually been more keen on Wisconsin wines, to tell you the truth. The best Minnesota wines I’ve had have been those made with imported California grapes, not with grapes grown in Minnesota.

That being said, I won’t give up trying local wines and supporting the local community!

Luckily we had a chance to do a tasting at Woodland Hill Winery this June thanks to a gift certificate from our friends Terri and Steve! The gift certificate included a tasting flight of wines, a full glass of wine of our choice, a bottle of wine to take home, two Woodland Hill Winery glasses and a discount on additional purchases.

I liked these tasting note boards, where we could use a dry erase marker to take notes and the tasting room could re-use for the next guests:

Tasting Notes

While we tend to be red wine drinkers, our favorite was a white: La Crescent. As I understand it, the La Crescent grape was developed by the University of Minnesota to grow well in the climate here.

But our true favorite was the Vinny’s Red, made from Marquette grapes. I was pleasantly surprised! However, this was not an option for our complimentary glass nor the complimentary bottle. 😦 At least we got to try it. And of course they would name their best wine after the resident squirrel chaser:

Vinny relaxing in the tasting room…

As expected, most of the wines didn’t impress us much, though the Vinny’s Red Marquette does stand out. And the wines seemed a bit overpriced for the quality. However, it does take quite a bit to get a winery going, so what do I really know about pricing these things?

That reminds me, our bottle of La Crescent is chilling in the fridge as I type…

We were about to order the La Crescent as our glass of wine of choice while we perused the shop of wine gifts. However, Rob overheard someone talking about Sangria… and then he spotted it:

Spotted! A vat of Sangria behind the tasting bar!

It was a hot, hot day… and how can one go wrong with Sangria? And so we chose it. It hit the spot. Ahhh…

What are your favorite local wineries? Any you’d recommend?


3 responses »

  1. 1. If you haven’t been to Chateau St. Croix, don’t go. They import all of their grapes from California and they still make shitty wine. If they made mediocre wine from local grapes I could forgive it, but instead it’s imported and unpalatable.

    2. Nothing surprised me more than finding ourselves at a vineyard in Lubbock. Nothing. That we brought home a bottle of sherry perplexes and mystifies me.

  2. Pingback: Lucky’s – Bay City, MI « Season It Already!

  3. Pingback: San Sebastian Winery | Season It Already!

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