Raise a Glass to Minnesota Wine at the State Fair

Do you know what wine to pair with cheese curds? How about alongside candied bacon donut sliders with chocolate red wine ganache? The folks in the Minnesota Wine Country booth at the State Fair can help you out. 

Each day of the fair (August 24 through Labor Day), local winemakers, sommeliers and chefs will provide tasting tips, food pairings and more—all complemented by Minnesota wines, along with its wine-inspired food menu.

“Minnesota wine?” you may be thinking. Yes, throughout the state there are nearly 70 wineries and more than 600 vineyards that produce wines—some internationally award-winning, according to Minnesota Wine Country. Fairgoers can learn about the unique cold-hardy grapes developed and grown in Minnesota and sample 12 of the best-selling and noteworthy wines made by eight different Minnesota wineries—with no cross-state travel necessary. Wines will be sold by the glass or in flights of three samples (see the wine menu below for more information).

Events and Happenings

In addition to the food and wine available for purchase, Minnesota Wine Country is host to a variety of events at the booth:
FREE wine and food tastings every day: Every day of the State Fair Minnesota winery owners and sommeliers will host interactive tastings and educational demonstrations.
Scheduled presentations take place at 3:30 p.m. each day at the Minnesota Wine Country patio and include the following and more:
• “Pairing Minnesota Wine with Cheese Curds: a Match Made in Vino Heaven” with local sommelier and founder of Twin Cities Wine Education Jason Kallsen 
• “Local Wine and Food on a Stick” with Cannon River Winery winemaker Sam Jennings 
• “Wine and Chocolate Pairings: Certifiably Delish!” with local sommelier and wine awards judge Leslee Miller 
• “The Great Minnesota Get-Together: Where Fair Food Meets Local Wine” from Cooks of Crocus Hill chef instructor Mike Shannon 
• “Making Wine Without Grapes” with Winehaven Winery owner Kyle Peterson; “Wine & Cheese: Explore Minnesota” from Redhead Creamery co-owner Alise Sjostrom 

Wine flights: Fairgoers can sample flights of new Minnesota wine in three varieties—white, red or fruity—served in a Minnesota-shaped wine flight carrier, an Instagram favorite.

A State Fair-exclusive Minnesota wine-inspired menu: Taste the wine-inspired menu including the candied bacon donut sliders with chocolate red wine ganache, salmon and shrimp sliders, refreshing wine smoothies and more (see menu below).

Music: Each night, visitors to the booth can also enjoy live jazz, classical, world beat and salsa music on the patio from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. For a complete schedule of events and artists, visit “Minnesota Wine Country” on Facebook.

The Minnesota Wine Country State Fair booth is open from 9 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. daily at 1271 Underwood St. between Carnes Avenue and Judson Avenue across the street from the Agriculture/Horticulture Building. Follow Minnesota Wine Country on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information about Minnesota Wine Country happenings at the State Fair.

$7 5-oz. glass | $7 for sparkling wine | $10 flights (White, Red, and Sweet and Fruity available)

Sogn Blanc, Cannon River Winery – Cannon River
Brianna, Garvin Heights Vineyards – Winona
Snowy White, Falconer Vineyards – Red Wing

Frontenac, Saint Croix Vineyards – Stillwater
Barn Quilt Red, Parley Lake Winery – Waconia
NEW – Rivertown Red, Northern Vineyards – Stillwater

NEW – Lady Slipper, Northern Vineyards – Stillwater
Raspberry, Winehaven Winery – Chisago City
NEW – Cassis Pomme Reserve, Forestedge Winery – Laporte

Sparkling Apple, Saint Croix Vineyard – Stillwater
Frontenac Sparkling Rose, Falconer Vineyards – Red Wing

CANDIED BACON DONUT SLIDERS: Sweet and spicy candied applewood smoked bacon served between sliced donut holes topped with a bittersweet port ganache. A BEST SELLER – $9
SALMON AND SHRIMP SLIDERS: Two coarsely chopped salmon and shrimp burgers topped with a spicy Asian slaw, served on a sweet Hawaiian bun. $9
DEEP-FRIED BRIE CHEESE: Brie cheese dipped in a red wine tempura batter, lightly fried and served with a new spicy raspberry dipping sauce. $9
DEEP FRIED KALETTES: Kale just got MN State Fair’d! Served with sweet Thai chili sauce. $9
SRIRACHA CHEESE BALLS: The perfect combination of cool cream cheese and spicy Sriracha sauce breaded, deep-fried, and drizzled with Sriracha. $9
ARTISAN CHEESE AND CRACKER TRAY: Assortment of sliced artisan cheeses, crackers, Hummus and seasonal grapes. $9
BLUEBERRY POMEGRANATE WINE SMOOTHIE: Made with Forestedge Blueberry Wine. $10
RASPBERRY WINE SMOOTHIE: Made with Winehaven Raspberry Wine. $10

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.