Interestingly enough, Minneapolis lies at the same latitude (45
degrees north) as the Bordeaux
wine region in France.
Just as in
Bordeaux, summers in southern Minnesota are sunny, warm, and with
ample rainfall. The Land o'
Lakes also has an abundance of good vineyard sites, near rolling
hills and bluffs that hug miles of lake shoreline.
Unlike Europe, however, Minnesota's
early autumn frosts also mean a shorter growing season. Therefore, choosing grapes that can be harvested
early while withstanding harsher Minnesota winters has always been a challenge.
Today, the Marechal Foch, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, and a dozen other hybrid varieties are helping to make Minnesota wine a rising star in the Midwest. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Center have made extensive studies into new cold-hardy wine grape varieties.
Minnesota officially boasts two AVAs (American Viticultural Areas). These include Alexandria Lakes in the central-western Douglas County, and the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA which the state shares with northeast Iowa, northwest Illinois, and southwest Wisconsin.
Wine tourism has also taken off in the state with Minnesota's first designated Three Rivers wine trail comprised of five wineries in the St. Croix, Mississippi and Cannon River Valleys.
about how winegrowers have defied the odds to produce quality
wines enjoyed at Minnesota at winery tours, events, tastings and
festivals throughout the year...
More information about Minnesota wineries around the Web:
Grape Growers Association - Besides the directory of vineyards
and wineries, check out the discussion forum, cold climate varietal
matrix, and extensive resources to learn more about grape growing and winemaking.