With more than 40 wineries scattered throughout the state, there's no need to fly to California to taste award-winning wines. Everyone can find their favorite varietal -- from rich merlots to full-bodied ports to crisp chardonnays -- and discover something new at a Minnesota vineyard.
In addition to these well-known varietals, many Minnesota wineries produce wines made with local grapes, which were developed by the University of Minnesota to thrive in a northern climate. Look for wines made with Frontenac, Marquette and La Crescent grapes. Fruit wines and meads are also readily available throughout the state.
At Crow River Winery and Vineyard in central Hutchinson, visitors can sample a flight of five or 10 wines in the tasting room, with options like Reisling, Marquette and a variety of fruit wines.
About 35 miles north of the Twin Cities in Chisago City, WineHaven Winery and Vineyard produces more than 20 wines, including a mead (honey wine) and a Frontenac Gris that won gold at the 2013 U.S. National Wine Competition.
Forestedge Winery in northern Laporte specializes in fruit wines, including black currant, plum, raspberry and peach.
All of these wineries and a couple dozen more are part of the Passport to Minnesota Wine program from the Minnesota Grape Growers Association. For $25, the passport includes 10 tastings at any of the participating wineries.
Visit our Minnesota Wine Escapes page for more wine-related travel ideas.