Top Minnesota Wines of 2009

Dec 18, 2009, 11:45 ET from Explore Minnesota Tourism

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Due diligence by the University of Minnesota's agricultural gurus, who developed winter-hardy grape varieties, spawned an industry. And last July the federal government designated the U.S.' newest Upper Midwest American Viticultural Area, which encompasses almost 30,000 square miles of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Our steep slopes and well-drained soils are the perfect mix for award-winning wine varieties. The following is our first annual list of Top Minnesota Wines for 2009, in no particular order.

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Slippery Slope Ice Wine

Winehaven Winery and Vineyard, Chisago City, MN

Award: Winner of the 2009 Cold Climate International Wine Competition

Description: Ice Wine is a Minnesota classic that is made from grapes that are allowed to freeze on the vines and then picked in December. The wine is packaged in an unusual bottle.

Frontenac Gris

Fieldstone Vineyards, Morgan, MN

Award: Silver medal at 2008 Indy International Wine Competition and Bronze at the 2007 Mid America Wine Competition.

Description: Frontenac Gris is a semi-sweet white with hints of peach and apricot on the finish.

St. Croix Reserve

Northern Vineyards, Stillwater, MN

Award: Gold medal from the Taster's Guild International Wine Competition

Description: St. Croix Reserve is a full-bodied red made from "press run" juice.

Voyageur 2008

Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Hastings, MN

Award: The first vintage of Voyageur was awarded 'Best Wine made in America' at the Atlanta International Wine Competition

Description: Deeply colored with a rich flavor, bold and opulent fruit flavors of blackberries, and smoky vanilla aromas from extensive aging in oak barrels.


Crofut Family Winery & Vineyard, Jordan, MN

Award: Silvers at the International Eastern Wine Competition and the International Cold Climate Wine Competition

Description: A full-bodied rich and classy off-dry white; fresh on your palate with the taste of white apricots and peaches.

Little Iza

Millner Heritage Vineyard, Kimball, MN

Award: Gold medal International Cold Climate Wine Competition

Description: Produced from St. Pepin and Lacrosse, moderately similar to steely Rieslings from northern Germany, with faint hints of honey, and finished with a touch of sweetness.

Bootlegger's Red Port Wine

Cannon River Winery, Cannon Falls, MN

Award: 2009 Lodi International Wine Awards and 2008 International Eastern

Description: Decadent and robust in flavor, a full-bodied wine combining the lush flavors of red berry jams, nuts, chocolate, vanilla and licorice. Packaged in a unique, award-winning 500ml bootlegger's jug.

Hot Dish Red

Carlos Creek Winery, Alexandria

Award: Artistic Achievement Award 2009 Taster's Guild International Wine Competition

Description: Best-selling and most award-winning wine is also our sweetest red. The bold taste of Valiant comes through with hints of zesty blackberry that perfectly balance the sweetness.

Note: The Alexandria Lakes AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Douglas County, Minnesota, near the city of Alexandria. Alexandria Lakes was the first AVA to be created in Minnesota in 2005 as the result of a successful petition to the US Department of the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Many Minnesota vineyards and wineries host events, such as regular tastings, and periodic music fests, grape stomps and harvest festivals. Check out the event schedule at

    Contact: Chuck Lennon

SOURCE Explore Minnesota Tourism