Top 10 Minnesota Wineries To Sip In
By Stacy Brooks, Contributing Writer
With over 70 wine producers spread across the state, deciding which Minnesota wineries to visit can be a challenge. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down for you with this roundup of our favorite Minnesota wineries.
These Minnesota wineries are conveniently located to popular destinations including Minneapolis, Stillwater, and Red Wing, and offer scenic views, delicious eats, and fun events in addition to high-quality wines made from Minnesota-grown grapes.
Alexis Bailly Vineyard, located approximately 30 miles southeast of Minneapolis, is a pioneer among Minnesota wineries. In 1973, founder David Bailly planted the state’s first vineyard, and in 1978, the winery’s tasting room started serving the first commercially-produced wines made solely from Minnesota-grown grapes. Today, the second-generation winery is helmed by owner and winemaker Nan Bailly. Wines combine French and estate-grown Minnesota varietals, and all wines are vegan. In addition to a traditional tasting room, visitors can reserve a wine yurt for a unique tasting experience.
18200 Kirby Avenue South, Hastings; 651-437-1413
Cannon River Winery, located in southeastern Minnesota, has a picturesque 20-acre vineyard in the Sogn Valley. In the fall, visitors can participate in a hands-on Grape Harvest Experience that includes a tasting of fresh grapes and the finished wine. The tasting room, located nearby in downtown Cannon Falls, offers wine flights, wine by the glass, and staff-guided Tableside Tastings year round.
421 Mill Street West, Cannon Falls; 507-263-7400
Located just west of Minneapolis near Lake Waconia, Parley Lake Winery is open seasonally, with a family and dog-friendly atmosphere, live music, and food trucks. In addition to cold-hardy grapes, some wines feature apples grown at the on-site orchard. The tasting room offers wine flights, guided wine tastings, locally-made gourmet snacks, and local craft sodas.
8280 Parley Lake Road, Waconia
Crow River Winery is situated about 60 miles west of Minneapolis, at the edge of Minnesota’s prairie region. Grapes are sourced from the winery’s five vineyards, where proprietors Valerie and MIke McBrady also grow garlic and keep bees. (Garlic makes an appearance in the smoked garlic cooking wine, while Apiary is a sweet red wine that combines honey with Frontenac grapes). Pair a build-your-own tasting flight with artisan pizza at the tasting room and bistro.
14848 Highway 7 East, Hutchinson; 320-587-2922
Home to Minnesota’s first combined winery and brewery, Schram Vineyards is a short drive west of Minneapolis. The rustic-chic tasting room serves both wine and beer flights, plus wine-friendly shareable bites. For an in-depth experience, book a tasting in the Barrel Room, which offers a more intimate atmosphere. The winery often hosts special events ranging from wine and cheese pairing classes to yoga in the vineyard.
8785 Airport Road, Waconia; 952-442-5105
Just 20 miles northeast of Minneapolis, 7 Vines Vineyard has an upscale, modern atmosphere, with handcrafted woodwork, stone fireplaces, and a steel catwalk offering a view of the production process. Behind-the-scenes tours (which include a tasting) are available, or visitors can opt for samples, flights, or wine by the glass at the elegant wine bar, which also serves contemporary American cuisine.
101 Highway 96 East, Dellwood; 651-478-6300
Situated about 60 miles northeast of Minneapolis near the Wisconsin border, Wild Mountain Winery boasts a scenic location on one of the highest points in Chisago County. The partially wooded setting makes sipping outside especially appealing, with several patios adjacent to the tasting room. Visitors can even stay on-site at the Wild Vines Campground, which has campsites nestled throughout the woods and vineyards.
16906 Wild Mountain Road, Taylors Falls; 651-583-3585
Located near Stillwater, Saint Croix Vineyards has a relaxed, rural feel, with a tasting room housed in a restored century-old barn. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic meal to enjoy in the vineyard. Free public tours are offered on Saturdays during the summer, and private tours (which include a glass of wine, and a wine flight accompanied by cheese, crackers, and dessert) are available year round. In addition to red and white wines, the winery produces port and a popular raspberry-infused dessert wine.
6428 Manning Avenue, Stillwater; 651-430-3310
Carlos Creek Winery, a short drive from Alexandria in west-central Minnesota, has a nice selection of sparkling wines, including Minnescato, a semi-sweet white wine made with a blend of Minnesota-grown grapes. Visitors can pair a tasting flight with wood-fired pizzas and enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays. The winery is known for its an annual rape stomping festival (held the second weekend after Labor Day) complete with live music, over 150 vendors, wine tasting, and grape stomping competitions.
6693 County Road 34 NW, Alexandria; 320-846-5443
Located near Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota, Falconer Vineyards produces wine from cold-hardy grapes and cider from Minnesota-grown apples. Wine tastings are available year round, and in the summer months visitors can savor a wood-fired pizza on the vineyard’s deck, which has panoramic views of the surrounding valley. One of the winery’s most awarded offerings is the Frontenac Rosé.
3572 Old Tyler Road, Red Wing; 651-388-8849
Stacy Brooks is a Minneapolis-based freelance journalist who specializes in food and travel. Her writing about Minnesota’s wine industry has been published in Wine Enthusiast, Minnesota Monthly, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She blogs at Tangled Up In Food.