Minnesota's wineries and vineyards have become destinations for fun activities such as tours, tastings and alfresco concerts. As an added bonus, many wineries have come together to form wine trails. Most of the wineries on these trails have tasting rooms, offer tours and host periodic events such as live music, prix fixe dinners with wine pairings, and the vineyard version of a harvest celebration: the grape stomp.
Nestled along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway are four family-owned wineries (three on the Minnesota side) that comprise the Upper St. Croix Wine Trail. Along the trail are picturesque landscapes of the river valley, fertile farmlands and dense woodlands creating a set of special characteristics of geography, geology and climate that make the wines unique and exceptional.
The Upper St. Croix is a fast-growing wine region and a wonderful place to visit. As you travel from one winery to the next, you'll discover restaurants, shops and trails to make your visit complete. The members of the Upper St. Croix Wine Trail invite visitors to explore the beauty of this trail and the great wines it has to offer. This is a self-guided wine trail; transportation is not provided. Advance notice for groups, including buses and limos, is recommended.
On this trail:
This popular trail, which features 11 wineries spread across three states, turned 10 in 2019. Grape growers and winemakers benefit from the unique soils and climate of the region, while visitors enjoy the beautiful landscapes.
On the Minnesota side, Garvin Heights Vineyards may be the state’s most scenic winery, perched above the Mississippi River on a bluff in Winona. The trail also features two wineries in Red Wing, one in La Crescent, and Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls. All of these areas are popular with travelers for their top-notch outdoor recreation, charming downtowns and unbeatable scenery.
On this trail:
- Cannon River Winery (Cannon Falls)
- Falconer Vineyards & Winery (Red Wing)
- Flower Valley Vineyards (Red Wing)
- Garvin Heights Vineyards (Winona)
- Riverview Vineyard & Winery (La Crescent)
Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria gets the credit for establishing Minnesota’s first AVA in 2005. Short for American Viticultural Area, an AVA is a federally designated region with growing conditions the U.S. government has deemed to be distinctive in climate, soil, elevation and other physical features. (The second is the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA, encompassing the Great River Road Wine Trail and, along with three neighboring states, makes up the largest AVA in the country).
Carlos Creek has become a destination in its own right thanks to its lovely setting with a vineyard, orchard, wine cave and special events year-round. More recently, the winery has teamed up with the nearby Copper Trail Brewing Co. and Panther Distillery to create Minnesota’s first wine, liquor and beer trail.