Go Vineyard Hopping with New Wine Passport

By Erica Wacker

GrapesWith more than 40 wineries throughout the state of Minnesota, it can be hard to pick which ones to visit. Now, oenophiles can pick up a Passport to Minnesota Wines, a new program sponsored by the Minnesota Grape Growers Association.

For $25, the passport grants the holder wine tastings at 10 participating wineries (of which there are 30). Tasting can be spread out over a number of weeks, months or even years; the passport doesn't expire until you've had all 10 tastings. Participating wineries include Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls, Goose Lake Farm and Winery in Nowthen, Flower Valley Vineyard in Red Wing and Painted Prairie Vineyard in Currie.

The tastings offered at each winery vary from three to 10 one-ounce pours. Common varieties in Minnesota include Frontenac, Marquette and La Crescent -- all developed by the University of Minnesota to thrive in cold climates -- as well as fruit wines, ports, and popular styles made with grapes from other wine regions (chardonnay, merlot, zinfandel and others).

Visit our Wineries & Breweries section for a full list of Minnesota wineries, many of which offer tours and host special events throughout the year.