Edit ModuleShow Tags

Minnesota Wine at Saint Croix Vineyards


A trip to the Napa Valley region this summer really started me thinking about wine. While I’m certainly not the connoisseur, I’ve traveled to northern California a few times and over the years I have developed a taste for a few varietals, especially Pinot noir. So when I recently received an invitation from the kind folks at Saint Croix Vineyards to learn about local wine, I was eager to learn about some of the cold climate varietals grown right here in Minnesota.

Frontenac grapes on the vine.

Located just west of Stillwater, Saint Croix Vineyards’ origins can be traced to apples, not grapes. Paul Quast, an attorney by day with a long relationship with Aamodt’s Apple Farm, wondered if the property might make an ideal location for a vineyard. When Quast met Peter Hemstad, a grape researcher at the University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Center, an idea for the vineyard began to form, and in 1992 Saint Croix Vineyards began producing wine.

During my visit, I learned that the University of Minnesota has a history of wine research going back to 1978, when it formally initiated its wine grape-breeding program that has become among the most widely respected in the nation. Many of the varietals developed at the U can be found at Saint Croix Vineyards, including the Frontenac grape, introduced in 1996, whose deep garnet colors produces interested reds and ports with distinctive aromas of cherry currant and plum, and the La Crescent grape, introduced in 2002, which produces wonderful notes of peach and citrus in white wines near to Vignoles or a Riesling.

Pictured, from left: Paul Quast, owner,
Peter Hemstad, owner (holding a bottle
of 2009 Marquette), and Martín Polognioli,
production manager.

But I have to say that my favorite wine produced by Saint Croix Vineyards is the newest grape to come from the University of Minnesota called Marquette. It wasn’t surprising for me to learn that the grape is directly related to Pinot noir. The wine of the same name contains wonderful tastes of cherry and black pepper, with strong tannins. I was pleasantly surprised with the character of Marquette.

A sunny fall afternoon is the perfect time for a stroll through a picaresque vineyard. Saint Croix Vineyard’s tasting room, built in a restored century-old barn, is open through December, every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about Minnesota wines, visit the website for the Minnesota Grape Grower’s Association, where you will find information about Minnesota’s many wineries.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Brewery Running Series

We like brew, yes we do. We like brew, so we're willing to run 3.1 miles for it

Plunge Into Minnesota's Water Parks

Although Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, don’t forget about water slides this summer

Memorial Day Activities in the Twin Cities

From historical reenactments to a hip-hop music festival, there's something for everyone this Memorial Day weekend in the Twin Cities.

A Day Trip to Red Wing

Located right on the Mississippi River, Red Wing offers a historic downtown district and spectacular views

It's Farmers Market Season

No matter where you live in Minnesota, fresh produce, flowers and homemade goodies await

Origami in the Garden

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's latest exhibit puts the art of folding paper on full display with a garden and metal twist

New Ways to Explore 3 Classic MN Destinations

From Fort Snelling to the North Shore, check out this summer's technological updates to historic and wild Minnesota places

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: May

This month, Sue Z. recommends supporting local student chefs with a dinner at Saint Dinette

What to Wear + Where to Go: Music Festivals

Your style guide for Minnesota music festivals

Mesabi Trail Offers New Views in Northern Minnesota

The Mesabi Trail, a 120-mile paved cycling and hiking trail that spans the Mesabi Iron Range, recently opened a new connection in Virginia, MN that crosses the state's tallest bridge and offers amazing views of former minelands.

Glensheen Mansion Bonfire Nights

Enjoy this summer tradition from one of the most iconic estates in the state

Twin Cities Festival Spring Babies

If April showers bring May flowers, spring babies bring fun for the whole family

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags