Minnesota is known for its cold winters, but it’s also home to some of the best wineries in the United States. With over 70 wineries located throughout the state, there’s no shortage of options for wine lovers to explore. Minnesota wineries are known for producing cold-hardy grape wines that can withstand the harsh winter weather, resulting in unique and delicious flavors that are sure to impress.
Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or just looking for a fun weekend activity, Minnesota’s wineries offer something for everyone. From the picturesque vineyards of Alexis Bailly Vineyard to the award-winning wines of Cannon River Winery, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. Many of these wineries offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the best wines in the state.
So, if you’re looking for a unique and enjoyable way to spend your weekend, why not check out some of the best wineries in Minnesota? With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find a winery that suits your tastes and preferences. Whether you prefer red, white, or rosé, Minnesota’s wineries are sure to impress with their unique and delicious offerings.
Understanding Minnesota Wineries
Minnesota is known for its harsh winters and cold climate, which may not seem like an ideal location for growing grapes and producing wine. However, the state has a thriving wine industry with over 70 wineries and vineyards spread across its various regions.
Wineries in Minnesota often specialize in cold-hardy grape varieties that can withstand the state’s extreme weather conditions. These grapes are bred specifically for cold climates, and many of them were developed by the University of Minnesota’s grape breeding program.
One of the pioneers of cold-climate grape breeding is Elmer Swenson, who developed several grape varieties that are now widely grown in Minnesota. These include the Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent, Itasca, Marquette, Bluebell, Edelweiss, and Swenson Red. These grapes are known for their hardiness and unique flavor profiles, which make them ideal for producing high-quality wines in Minnesota.
Minnesota wineries and vineyards are typically located in scenic areas with beautiful landscapes, making them popular tourist destinations. Visitors can enjoy wine tastings, tours, and other activities, such as picnics and live music events.
Top Minnesota Wineries
Alexis Bailly Vineyard
The Alexis Bailly Vineyard is a family-owned winery with deep roots in Minnesota. Established in 1973, it is responsible for the first vineyard planted in the state. Known for its award-winning wines, the vineyard offers visitors a chance to experience Minnesota’s wine history while enjoying a beautiful setting.
Address: 18200 Kirby Ave S, Hastings, MN 55033, United States
Saint Croix Vineyards
Located near Stillwater, Saint Croix Vineyards is renowned for its picturesque landscape and award-winning wines. Visitors can enjoy a wine flight as they learn from a knowledgeable wine expert. Their award-winning wine selection includes reds, whites, and dessert wines.
Address: 6428 Manning Ave N, Stillwater, MN 55082, United States
Schram Vineyards is a family-owned winery in Waconia that combines winemaking with craft beer brewing. With an on-site tasting room, guests can indulge in unique wine and beer pairings and learn about the winemaking process from knowledgeable staff.
Address: 8785 Airport Rd, Waconia, MN 55387, United States
Cannon River Winery
Nestled in the scenic Cannon River valley, Cannon River Winery offers a variety of Minnesota-grown wines. From the vineyard to the tasting room, guests can explore the full winemaking experience and enjoy a variety of award-winning wines.
Address: 421 Mill St W, Cannon Falls, MN 55009, United States
Winehaven Winery is a family-owned and operated vineyard in Minnesota, known for its distinctive wines and picturesque location. With a focus on quality and sustainability, Winehaven produces award-winning wines that showcase the unique flavors of their vineyards.
Address: 10020 Deer Garden Ln, Chisago City, MN 55013, United States
Carlos Creek Winery
Located in Alexandria, Carlos Creek Winery offers a diverse range of wines made from Minnesota-grown grapes. Visitors can take advantage of the on-site tasting room while exploring the expansive vineyards and enjoying live music during special events.
Address: 6693 County Rd 34 NW, Alexandria, MN 56308, United States
Four Daughters Vineyard
Four Daughters Vineyard in Spring Valley, Minnesota, is notably popular for its Loon Juice Hard Cider. This cidery and winery combination provides a unique experience for visitors as they enjoy a variety of beverages in a relaxed atmosphere.
Address: 78757 MN-16, Spring Valley, MN 55975, United States
Crow River Winery
Crow River Winery, located in Hutchinson, showcases its award-winning wines in a rustic setting. With an on-site bistro and patio overlooking the vineyards, visitors can sip on wines while taking in the beautiful surroundings.
Address: 14848 MN-7, Hutchinson, MN 55350, United State
Parley Lake Winery
Situated just minutes from the Minnesota-St. Paul Airport, Parley Lake Winery in Waconia is a local favorite. Established in 2008, it offers a diverse range of wines made from Minnesota-grown grapes.
Address: 8280 Parley Lake Rd, Waconia, MN 55387, United States
Millner Heritage Vineyard
Millner Heritage Vineyard, based in Kimball, Minnesota, has a rich history and focuses on producing wine using traditional methods. Visitors can enjoy the scenic vineyard and a range of unique, flavorful wines in the tasting room.
Address: 32025 MN-15, Kimball, MN 55353, United States
Seven Vines Vineyard
Seven Vines Vineyard, located in Dellwood, offers a luxurious and relaxing experience for visitors. With a beautiful setting, knowledgeable staff, and a variety of wines, it is a perfect destination for wine enthusiasts.
Address: 101 MN-96, Dellwood, MN 55110, United States
Salem Glen Winery
Salem Glen Winery, nestled in the rolling hills of Rochester, offers a unique experience for wine lovers. The vineyard is well-known for its diverse selection of wines, including reds, whites, rosés, and dessert wines.
Address: 5211 60th Ave SW, Rochester, MN 55902, United States
North Shore Winery
Located near Lake Superior, North Shore Winery provides guests with a unique experience as they enjoy handcrafted wines made from local grapes. The winery offers a variety of tastings, events, and experiences for visitors.
Address: 202 Ski Hill Rd, Lutsen, MN 55612, United States
Next Chapter Winery
Next Chapter Winery, based in New Prague, is a family-owned operation that produces a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and rosés. The winery’s idyllic setting and commitment to quality make it a must-visit destination.
Address: 16945 320th St, New Prague, MN 56071, United States
Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery
Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery, located in New Ulm, offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Known for its underground winery and rich history, Morgan Creek provides guests with an opportunity to taste exceptional wines while learning about the winemaking process.
Address: 23707 478th Ave, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States
Unique Features of Minnesota Wineries
Minnesota wineries offer unique features that make them stand out from wineries in other states. For example, many Minnesota wineries offer tastings of their award-winning wines, including reds, whites, and limited-edition wines. Some wineries also offer flights, which allow visitors to sample a variety of wines.
In addition to wine, some Minnesota wineries also offer other beverages such as craft beer, hard cider, and even Loon Juice, a popular cider brand that originated in Minnesota. Visitors can also enjoy wood-fired pizza, cheese plates, crackers, and other appetizers while sipping on their favorite drinks.
Many Minnesota wineries host events such as live music, grape stomps, and vineyard tours. Some wineries even offer private events such as weddings and corporate events.
Minnesota wineries are also known for their cold-hardy grapes, which are able to withstand the state’s harsh weather conditions. Varieties such as Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent, and Marquette are commonly grown in Minnesota. These grapes are used to produce high-quality wines that have won awards at international competitions such as the International Cold Climate Wine Competition.
Visitors can explore Minnesota’s wine trails, such as the Great River Road Wine Trail, and the Three Rivers Wine Trail. The Luce Line Trail, which runs through Chisago County, is also a popular destination for wine enthusiasts.
Wine Varieties in Minnesota
Minnesota is a state known for its cold climate, which might make you think that it’s not a suitable place for wine production. However, the state has a thriving wine industry that produces a variety of wines, both red and white.
Minnesota’s cold climate makes it ideal for growing cold-hardy grape varieties that are perfect for red wine production. Some of the popular red wine varieties produced in Minnesota include:
- Frontenac: This grape variety produces a full-bodied red wine with flavors of cherry, plum, and black pepper. It’s a popular grape variety in Minnesota and is used to make some of the best red wines in the state.
- Marquette: This grape variety produces a medium-bodied red wine with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and spice. It’s a versatile grape that can be used to make both dry and sweet red wines.
Minnesota’s cold climate also makes it ideal for growing cold-hardy grape varieties that are perfect for white wine production. Some of the popular white wine varieties produced in Minnesota include:
- La Crescent: This grape variety produces a white wine with flavors of apricot, peach, and citrus. It’s a popular grape variety in Minnesota and is used to make some of the best white wines in the state.
- Frontenac Gris: This grape variety produces a white wine with flavors of apple, pear, and honey. It’s a versatile grape that can be used to make both dry and sweet white wines.
- Edelweiss: This grape variety produces white wine with flavors of tropical fruit, pineapple, and peach. It’s a popular grape variety in Minnesota and is used to make some of the best sweet white wines in the state.
Overall, Minnesota’s wine industry is thriving, and the state is producing some of the best cold-hardy grape wines in the country. Whether you’re a fan of red wine or white wine, you’re sure to find a variety that suits your taste buds in Minnesota.
Wine Tasting Experiences
Minnesota is home to some of the best wineries in the United States, offering a range of wine-tasting experiences to suit every palate. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a novice looking to learn more about wine, there’s a winery in Minnesota that’s perfect for you.
Most wineries in Minnesota have tasting rooms where visitors can sample a variety of wines. Tastings typically include a flight of wines, ranging from dry whites to sweet reds, and are accompanied by a knowledgeable staff member who can answer any questions you may have about the wines. Some tasting rooms also offer food pairings to enhance the wine-tasting experience.
In addition to tastings, many wineries in Minnesota offer wine tours. These tours take visitors behind the scenes of the winemaking process, from the vineyard to the cellar. Visitors can learn about the different grape varieties used to make wine, the fermentation process, and the aging process. Some wineries also offer tours of their vineyards, allowing visitors to see the grapes growing on the vines.
Minnesota wineries have earned a reputation for producing award-winning wines. Many of these wines have won prestigious awards at national and international wine competitions. Visitors to Minnesota wineries can sample these award-winning wines and experience the quality and craftsmanship that goes into making them.
Winery Events in Minnesota
Minnesota wineries offer a variety of events throughout the year, from wine tastings to live music and food pairings. These events are a great way to experience the local wine culture and learn more about the winemaking process.
One popular event is the ArtStock Wine and Art Festival, held annually in Lindstrom, Minnesota. This festival features wine tastings from local wineries, art displays from regional artists, and live music. The festival also includes food vendors and a variety of activities for children.
Another popular event is the Vineyard Voyage, hosted by Sogn Valley Vineyard in Dennison, Minnesota. This event includes a tour of the vineyard, a wine tasting, and a gourmet meal prepared by a local chef. Guests can also purchase bottles of wine to take home with them.
Many wineries in Minnesota also offer regular events such as live music, food pairings, and wine tastings. For example, Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings, Minnesota hosts monthly wine and cheese pairings, featuring locally sourced cheeses and Alexis Bailly wines.
Visitors can check the websites of their favorite wineries for a calendar of events, or visit the Minnesota Grape Growers Association website for a list of upcoming wine events across the state.
Southern Minnesota Wineries
Southern Minnesota is home to some of the best wineries in the state. From large, well-known wineries to small, family-run operations, there’s something for everyone on this list.
One of the top wineries in Southern Minnesota is Morgan Creek Vineyards and Winery. This family-owned winery is located in New Ulm and has been producing award-winning wines for over 20 years. They offer a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and rosés, all made from locally grown grapes. Visitors can enjoy wine tastings, and tours of the vineyard, and even stay overnight in their charming bed and breakfast.
Another must-visit winery in Southern Minnesota is the Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery in Spring Valley. While they are better known for their cider, they also produce some excellent wines. Their tasting room is located in a beautiful, rustic barn and features a wide selection of wines, ciders, and craft beers. Visitors can also enjoy live music and events throughout the year.
If you’re looking for a unique wine experience, check out the Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls. They specialize in fruit wines, including apple, raspberry, and blueberry, as well as traditional grape wines. Their tasting room is located in a historic building and features a cozy fireplace and outdoor patio.
Other notable wineries in Southern Minnesota include Saint Croix Vineyards in Stillwater, which produces some excellent red wines, and Falconer Vineyards in Red Wing, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
No matter which winery you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a memorable experience and taste some delicious wines.