August 23, 2017

Where’s the Local on the Wine List?

The local food movement has pushed farm fresh produce to the menus of top restaurants around the country, yet the movement stops short when it comes to local wines. Even restaurants hailed as leaders in local sourcing often have few, if any, local wines. A study of the menus of six of the top rated Twin Cities “locavore” restaurants reveals only one carries Minnesota wine – and they offer only a … [Read more...]

Realizing the Aroma Potential Of Cold Hardy Grapes

Giddy upIt’s an exciting time in the hybrid grape and wine world because for the first time significant research has been carried out on hybrid grapes and wine in search of defining chemical aroma profiles unique to individual varieties! The aromatics of a wine are the subtle nuances (beyond the basic sugars, organic acids, etc.) that are worth pursuing because they can add complexity or … [Read more...]

Sustainable Solution: Recycled Plastic Vineyard Posts

In the United States, recycled plastic lumber is starting to emerge as a durable and environmentally friendly option for vineyard posts.Steel or wooden posts are still the norm, but neither are ideal. The humidity and temperature fluctuations across our region mean wooden posts sometimes last only five years. Also, wooden posts are not always sourced from sustainable, plantation grown … [Read more...]

Food Pairing With Frontenac

This series of cold climate wine and food pairing articles started with a couple ideas for LaCrescent in a story titled La Crescent Food Pairing Ideas.This time we will consider Frontenac wines and grapes. The Frontenac grape was one of the early releases in a series of wine grapes from the University of Minnesota. Part of its heritage is Old World European grapes and part is the Riparian … [Read more...]

Soil Health in the Vineyard

Quality and yield start below the surfaceThe groundhog predicted an early spring. Then came this year’s winter vortex. Regardless of what happens next, the waning days of winter are a time of excitement and planning for a new season in the vineyard. Plus, it’s a good time to consider how to improve the soil biosphere the vines inhabit.Soil health has been the buzz across agriculture for … [Read more...]

Vineyard Soil Health Research Links

The focus in recent years on soil health has resulted in more research on the microbiome of vineyards and the importance of maintaining the diversity, vigor, and nutrients that soil micro-organisms require to benefit vine growth and berry quality.Using soil health conditioning and nutrition technologies can assure that vines are growing in balanced, complex microbial soils for more robust root … [Read more...]

Cold Climate Conf Photos and Report

The Minnesota Grape Growers Associaitons’s Cold Climate Conference wouldn’t be complete without the Winter Wine Fest.On February 5th 2016, 30 vineyards and wineries, along with a few cider makers, sampled their best local wines and hard ciders. The Winter Wine Fest was held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Alongside the wines and hard ciders were also a slew of … [Read more...]

Tom Plocher’s New Grapes Are Spreading

University grape breeding programs - like Cornell and Minnesota- grab a lot of attention. But private grape breeders continue to develop many of the grapes that are used to make cold hardy wines.One of the most prolific and successful creators of cold hardy wine grapes is Tom Plocher. He has been artfully using selective breeding in his vineyard since 1996.  Among his mentors is the … [Read more...]

What Happened to the Original Midwest Wineries?

During October of 1974,  the Saturday Evening Post published a "Guide to American Wineries."  This article was probably the first discussion of bonded Midwestern Wineries to appear in a national publication.At the time of the Saturday Evening Post's article, there were 32 wineries in the Midwest.  Ohio's 12 wineries were by far the most numerous of any Midwestern state during 1974. (Today, … [Read more...]

La Crescent Food Pairing Ideas

Food and Wine. Wine and Food. No wonder it can be challenging when we can’t even decide which one comes first. My wife and I have done literally dozens of wine pairing sessions in different formats around the world. Large and small, at wineries and restaurants (both brick and mortar and pop-ups.) Many were fantastic experiences, but as with any art, questions remain.The main thing I reminded … [Read more...]