Happy Wine Wednesday!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had trouble finding Minnesota wines that I’ve liked. I’m a little snobbish about wine, but not entirely. It’s just a difficult climate in which to grow grapes, even with the University of Minnesota attempting to develop those to withstand the elements here.


But winemakers have attempted such in every state. There is a winery in every single state in the U.S.! When a couple of girlfriends and I went wine tasting around Minnesota about ten years ago {I can’t believe I met my husband ten years ago last Thursday!}, I was quite disappointed. I had tried much better wines in Wisconsin! It could have had something to do with the fact that, at that time, I was just delving into my wine education and really learning what makes a wine great.

But then I found Winehaven, a little winery in Chisago City, about 40 miles north of the Twin Cities. We tasted wines in what I remember to be a small room in a little red building right on site of the vineyards. I also remember taking about a case of wine home with me that day.

I was quite excited to go back when my friend Jared announced that he would be getting married there! Rob hadn’t been there yet and I thought it would be a great opportunity to do some tasting, too.

However, things at Winehaven have changed! Just this July, they opened up a new (HUGE) tasting room with seating indoors and out where you can relax and enjoy some wine.

winehavenRob and I showed up before the ceremony to do some tasting and to wander around a bit. I would say, while there are some overly-sweet, cater-to-the-fruit-wine-crowd wines on the menu, there are also a couple that kind of impressed me! I thought that would be impossible in Minnesota.

We went home with the following:

Winehaven WineI’m generally not a fan of wine produced from cold-climate grapes. Namely, the ones developed by the University of Minnesota. However, Winehaven’s 2012 Marquette Reserve was my favorite of the day. It reminded me of a deep, bold zin or syrah with a hint of spice. It’s the closest thing you’ll come to California or Pacific Northwest wine quality in MN. (Or at least since I’ve last tasted!) This one’s a silver medal winner.

Rob’s favorite was the Nokomis. This is a grape varietal developed by the family at Winehaven themselves! It produces another drier wine that gives veteran red wine drinkers something to enjoy.

We rounded out our purchase with one of our favorites – PORT. Oh how we love it, so. For us, it’s a little dangerous because it’s high in alcohol. We love the flavor so much that it’s difficult to have just one small glass as dessert or after a meal.  Many ports or dessert wines are sold in half-sized bottles. This one is not!

Correct me if you know better, but I believe that the Grapewinds® Port is made with the Chisago grape, the other grape developed by Winehaven! While it wasn’t my favorite alone, as a fortified wine, I’m in love. It’s rich and luscious and everything I want in a port. It has won awards in San Francisco and the Finger Lakes on at least four separate occasions.

Like most other small wineries throughout The States, Winehaven offers a wide array of fruit wines, as well. By fruit wines, I mean wines made from fruits other than grapes. It’s a really good place to start if you are a newbie wine drinker. Fruit wines can be appreciated in their own right.

But Winehaven is well-known for their mead. That’s right, honey wine. Hence, their cute bee logo you see above! Their experience with honey goes back decades. If you’ve never had mead, you must try it.

But enough about the wines we tried. There was a reason we took in the lovely scenery that beautiful day…

It was the perfect setting for a wedding! My friend Jared married the love of his life on that beautiful September day at Winehaven. I was grateful to have been there. My husband thinks I’m a little obsessed about weddings. But there’s nothing better than seeing the happiness of two people in love while they are experiencing one of the best days of their lives. Especially if it’s one of your close friends or family members.

Here’s one of my favorite photos I snapped while they led us down the pathway through the trees at they winery.

Congratulations, Jared & Matt!

Congratulations, Jared & Matt!

What do you think of your local wineries?

Any favorite wineries or favorite and/or unique wines you’ve found?




3 responses »

  1. Pingback: 4 Daughters | Season It Already!

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