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Metro Area Wineries Pair Vino and Events in Charming Settings

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Winehaven Winery, Chisago City / Winehaven Winery

Metro Area Wineries Pair Vino and Events in Charming Settings

By Regina Eckes

Summer has me imagining the charm of a winery, looking out over vineyards or sitting under a shady tree, appreciating the seasonal beauty with a glass of vino. I’m glad I don’t have to get on a plane to visit wine country when there’s a winery wonderland surrounding the Twin Cities.

Over the years, lifelong wine lovers have bought land and turned their passion for viticulture into wineries and event spaces that beckon casual wine drinkers and connoisseurs alike. And with venues offering public events like yoga, live music, grape stomps and art festivals, more people are gathering at wineries than ever before.

  1. Rustic Roots Winery, Scandia
    Appetizers at Rustic Root Winery

    Rustic Roots Winery, Scandia / Rustic Roots Winery

    Rustic Roots Winery, Scandia

    When exploring the gorgeous St. Croix River Valley, I stop at Rustic Roots Winery in Scandia for a down-to-earth drink that pairs perfectly with cheese curds, flatbreads and sunsets. Find a seat on one of the three large patios, or bring a blanket or lawn chairs and have a picnic with friends on the grassy lawns. Dogs (on leashes) are welcome, too. The events at Rustic Roots give the place a brewery vibe, such as live music, stand-up comedy nights, and even a farmers and artisans market. The community feel is strong here.

    Wine recommendation: Marquette Red – earthy red with hints of campfire and forest

  2. St. Croix Vineyards, Stillwater
    Grape stomp at St. Croix Vineyards

    St. Croix Vineyards, Stillwater / St. Croix Vineyards

    St. Croix Vineyards, Stillwater

    It’s easy to rosé the day away at nearby St. Croix Vineyards. Located on Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater, it has a casual and often lively family atmosphere. The venue hosts Live Music Saturdays and Yoga in the Vines on Sundays. Then there’s the Wine Meets Art Festival, July 10-11, featuring local vendors, food trucks, music, and refreshing wine slushies. The winery’s Annual Grape Stomp September 11-12 is a fun event for families. It’s a treat to see kids of all ages kick off their shoes and sandals and get mushy with the grapes the old-fashioned way.

    Wine recommendation: Frontenac Rosé – rich red with berry aromas and flavors

  3. Mousse Sparkling Wine Co., Jordan
    Flight of wine at Mousse Sparkling Wine Co

    Mousse Sparkling Wine Co, Jordan / Mousse Sparkling Wine Co

    Mousse Sparkling Wine Co., Jordan

    The fact is, a winery isn’t just a winery anymore. Public events once thought of as exclusive to breweries and restaurants are as popular as ever, and new product concepts keep things interesting. How about a bubbly winery? Mousse Sparkling Wine Co. in Jordan specializes in bubbly and ciders (they do have still wines available, as well). The chic space and playful mural beg for photo ops and provide a trendy space for Yoga and Wine classes on Sundays, July 18 and Aug. 15. The event calendar is also loaded with other happenings to clink your glass at, like Paint Your Pet nights, trivia nights, and wine blending classes. Make an impromptu stop here for a sparkling green mimosa on St. Patrick’s Day or enjoy a glittery purple mimosa on Prince’s birthday (June 7).

    Wine recommendation: Sweet White Bubbly – aromas of strawberries and cotton candy

  4. Urban Forage Winery and Cider House, Minneapolis
    Tasting room Urban Forage Winery and Cider House

    Urban Forage Winery and Cider House, Minneapolis / Angela Knox

    Urban Forage Winery and Cider House, Minneapolis

    Another cool venue pushing the winery envelope is Urban Forage Winery and Cider House in South Minneapolis. Now here’s an inspiring menu with dandelion wine, carrot wine, herbed cider, honey toast cider and various kinds of mead. They use ultra-local produce for their products, meaning fruits and vegetables picked from nearby residential yards (with permission!). The winery’s coffee shop atmosphere lends itself to rousing themed trivia nights on Thursdays (think The Office, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Friends, etc.), and the winery plans to start tours and tastings on Sundays this summer.

    Wine recommendation: Cherry Melomel – a mead blended with tart cherry wine for a succulent flavor

Waconia Wine Festival Weekend

The city of Waconia may just be the Napa Valley of Minnesota with its three established wineries within a few miles of each other, all masters of the art of Minnesota grape-growing. Visit them one at a time or see all three during a can’t-miss wine-lovers event each summer, the Waconia Wine Festival Weekend, July 24-25. Tickets are $50 and include a souvenir wine glass, three tastings at each winery and bus transportation between the venues.

  1. Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery, Waconia
    Schram Vineyards

    Schram Vineyards, Waconia / Schram Vineyards

    Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery, Waconia

    Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery, the first combined winery-brewery in the state, is a hit with groups, especially for the non-wine drinkers in the mix. And just as breweries have yoga in the taproom, Schram has Yoga in the Vineyard on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, as well as live music from local artists on Friday nights. Oh, and there are also cigar-rolling demonstrations on select Fridays throughout the summer.

    Wine recommendation: Barn Quilt Red – made with Frontenac and Marquette grapes with black cherry aromas

  2. Sovereign Estate Vineyard & Winery, Waconia
    Live music at Sovereign Estates Winery

    Sovereign Estate Vineyard & Winery, Waconia / Sovereign Estate Vineyard & Winery

    Sovereign Estate Vineyard & Winery, Waconia

    Sovereign Estate Vineyard & Winery also has live music events throughout the year. Some performances cost a separate fee, but it’s worth it to ease into the evening while listening to a good band and sipping a chilled glass.

    Wine recommendation: AVÉ Rosé – an all-new rose with strawberry aromas

  3. Parley Lake Winery, Waconia
    Live music at Parley Lake Winery

    Parley Lake Winery, Waconia / Parley Lake Winery

    Parley Lake Winery, Waconia

    Parley Lake Winery has 10 Concert in the Vines performances scheduled this summer with popular names like Martin Zeller, Kat Perkins, GB Leighton and more. The concerts require a separate admission ticket. They are family-friendly and (leashed) dog-friendly events with a food truck on-site for each performance. As an art-lover, I appreciate that Parley Lake also embraces art and has several local art pieces around the grounds. It’s relaxing to take a little self-guided art tour.

    Wine recommendation: Frontenac Gris – barrel-aged white with hints of caramel and vanilla

  4. 7 Vines Vineyard, Dellwood
    7 Vines Vineyards exterior at night

    7 Vines Vineyards, Dellwood / 7 Vines Vineyards

    7 Vines Vineyard, Dellwood

    For a supremely fancy night out, 7 Vines Vineyard in Dellwood delivers the goods. I feel like I’m getting the star treatment each time I visit. Rustic and refined, the venue boasts a picturesque setting on a property once owned by the James J. Hill family. Fridays and Saturdays are mostly booked for private events, but there is plenty going on the rest of the week: a monthly farmers market on Tuesdays, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 21; a vintage car show on Sunday, July 11; and yoga on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

    Wine recommendation: 2019 True North Blanc Blend – a white fusion of three Minnesota grapes, the La Crescent, Frontenac Blanc and Frontenac Gris

  5. Winehaven Winery and Vineyard, Chisago City
    Wine slushies at Winehaven Winery

    Winehaven Winery, Chisago City / Winehaven Winery

    Winehaven Winery and Vineyard, Chisago City

    Winehaven Winery and Vineyard in Chisago City celebrates its 25th Annual Rhubarb Frenzy July 10-11 with new batches of rhubarb and strawberry rhubarb wines. There’s also yoga at the winery on Saturdays July 3, Aug. 7 and Sept. 4. Go for the yoga; stay for the wine slushie.

    Stinger Mead (Honey Wine) – an award-winning wine with honey and floral scents

  6. Buffalo Rock Winery, Buffalo
    Courtyard at Buffalo Rock Winery

    Buffalo Rock Winery, Buffalo / Buffalo Rock Winery

    Buffalo Rock Winery, Buffalo

    If I want to feel like I’m having a glass of wine in a friend’s beautiful backyard, Buffalo Rock Winery in Buffalo hits the right notes. The lush lawn and Adirondack chairs keep things casual, and a large buffalo statue adds whimsy. Buffalo Rock specializes in Frappe Vinos (aka wine slushies). The winery is part of the city’s Spring and Fall Ladies Day Out, when local businesses offer special promotions. The next one is Saturday, Oct. 23.

    Wine recommendation: Oximoron – a sweet red that’s been described as the “gateway red” for white wine drinkers

Regina Eckes

Regina Eckes is a creative content writer and proud Minnesotan. She loves to sip craft brews and wines, hike beautiful trails, and attend art and music festivals. You may also find her gardening, baking or cheering on the Twins and Lynx.