Minnesota Wine

Minnesota is a state located in the center of the northern United States, bordered by Canada to the north and Iowa to the south. The harsh continental climate in the state makes viticulture challenging. However, research at the University of Minnesota into cold-hardy hybrid grape varieties has opened up possibilities for Minnesota wine producers.

Vineyards in Southwest Minnesota, near one of the state's many lakes
?Round Lake Vineyards and Winery

The state covers 87,000 square miles (225,000 sq km) of land between latitudes 43°N and 49°N. This puts it roughly on a par with the wine regions of France. Unfortunately, Minnesota's inland location brings far more extreme temperatures in both summer and winter, posing serious risks to all but the most cold hardy grape varieties. Most of the state's wine regions lie in areas where there is a large body of water nearby to moderate temperatures. Fortunately, there are a lot of lakes here: Minnesota is known as the 'Land of 10,000 Lakes'.

The Minnesota wine industry has expanded quickly in the past few decades, thanks largely to the tireless work of grape-vine researchers in the state. The famed horticulturist Elmer Swenson of the University of Minnesota began crossing Vitis vinifera vines with the native Vitis riparia grape varieties in the 1940s. By the 1990s he had created the now widely used Edelweiss, La Crosse and Saint-Croix. The university also developed the dark-skinned red wine grape Frontenac, which is now one of Minnesota's most important grape varieties, and its white wine (pink-berried) counterpart, Frontenac Gris.

As of 2010, there were around 1500 acres (600ha) of vineyards in the state. This compares with 200 acres (80ha) at the turn of the century. There are now over 40 wineries in the state, and several wine trails have been set up to guide visitors towards tasting rooms.

This huge growth has warranted the establishment of the state's two American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), Alexandria Lakes and Upper Mississippi Valley, in 2005 and 2009 respectively. However, the value of a stake in the latter, which stretches across Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois – is arguable, given the colossal size of the appellation.

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Most Popular Minnesota Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Phillips 'Sno Shoe Grog', Minnesota, USA Liqueur 29,821st $12
Ice Hole Plum Schnapps, Minnesota, USA Schnapps 59,272nd $15
Ice Hole Butterscotch Schnapps, Minnesota, USA Liqueur - Toffee 65,290th $11
Revel Stoke Roasted Pecan Flavored Whisky, Minnesota, USA Whiskey - Liqueur - Flavored 70,683rd $16
Cannon River Winery GoGo Red, Minnesota, USA Rare Red Blend 77,038th 76 $16
Ice Hole Mint Schnapps, Minnesota, USA Schnapps 81,956th $14
Ice Hole Rootbeer Schnapps, Minnesota, USA Schnapps 81,956th $18
Panther Distillery 'Minnesota 14 Maple' Whiskey, USA Whiskey - Liqueur - Flavored 84,687th $33
Cannon River Winery Marquette Red, Minnesota, USA Rare Red Blend 84,687th 91 $19
Phillips Cherry Brandy, Minnesota, USA Brandy 87,532nd $12
Ice Hole Exotic Fruit Liqueur, Minnesota, USA Liqueur - Fruit 87,532nd $10
Far North Spirits 'Roknar' Rye Whiskey, Minnesota, USA Whiskey - Rye 87,532nd 87 $53
Millner Heritage What The Foch, Minnesota, USA Rare Red Blend 87,532nd $15
Grain Belt Premium Light Beer, Minnesota, USA Beer 90,667th $1
Bauhaus Brew Labs 'Bolo' Hard Seltzer Mixed Pack, Minnesota, USA Hard Seltzer 94,003rd $3
Cannon River Winery St Pepin White, Minnesota, USA Saint-Pepin 94,003rd 86 $18
Stinky Gringo Margarita, Minnesota, USA Premixed Drinks 94,003rd $8
Carlos Creek Winery Hot Dish Red, Minnesota, USA Rare Red Blend 97,592nd $16
Singletree Bourbon Charred American White Oak Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Minnesota, USA Whiskey - Bourbon 105,700th 84 $27
Utepils 'Ewald the Golden' Bavarian Hefeweizen Beer, Minnesota, USA Beer 105,700th $4
Surly Brewing Darkness Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout Beer, Minnesota, USA Beer 110,358th $25
Saint Croix Vineyards Marquette, Minnesota, USA Marquette 110,358th $21
Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky, Minnesota, USA Whiskey - Liqueur - Flavored 110,358th $12
Phillips Apricot Brandy, Minnesota, USA Brandy 115,347th $10
Parley Lake Winery Barn Quilt Red, Minnesota, USA Frontenac 115,347th $19
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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