April 30, 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...]

‘Super’ Appellations: A View from Minnesota

Here’s the second installment of our series looking at the idea of ‘super’ appellations in the Midwest. We’re bouncing around the idea of uniting parts of our region under a bigger appellation category according to grape variety, rather than terroir, and with strict quality controls. The aim is to help market the best Midwest wines in our region. See related story: 'Super' Appellations: A View … [Read more...]

Downstream from St. Paul Is the St. Pepin Grape

The St.Pepin wine grape is partially named for the Lake Pepin, a 40 square mile lake in the Mississippi River.  Most of the St. Pepin wine made in the U.S. is produced in the two states on either side of Lake Pepin, Minnesota and Wisconsin.Like many creations of legendary grape breeder Elmer Swenson, St. Pepin is a wonderful contribution to cold-climate grape varieties. Whether it is used as a … [Read more...]

Minnesota Wine In The Twin Cities

It is no secret that Cold Climate wines don’t occupy the same shelf space in Twin Cities wine shops as those from Burgundy, Tuscany, or even Walla Walla. Yet, in the burgeoning trend of hyper-localness that has transfixed the food world in particular, why should this be?Local honey, local cheese, local produce, and let’s not forget local beer all have a definite presence in front of Twin … [Read more...]

Michigan and Minnesota Wine Strategies Diverge

During February, I attended both the Cold Climate Conference in St. Paul and Michigan Grape and Wine Conference in East Lansing.   The "buzz" at both shows was palpable.  In both Minnesota and Michigan, the energy of growing wine industry filled the air with an optimistic aroma.While the mood was similar, the approach of Michigan and Minnesota towards wine is quite different.  Michigan is now … [Read more...]

Midwest Wine Stroll Photos and People’s Choice Winners

The Cold Climate Conference Midwest Wine Stroll took place on Friday, February 22nd as part of the 2013 Cold Climate Conference.  The Midwest Wine Stroll is the largest indoor wine tasting in the Midwest with 554 attendees this year.2013 marks the 100th birthday of Minnesota wine legend Elmer Swenson. Many wineries at the Wine Stroll were pouring Elmer's creations like St. Pepin, La Crosse and … [Read more...]

Cold Climate Conference Photos and Review

 The 9th annual Cold Climate Conference was held from February 21st to 23rd, 2013 in St. Paul Minnesota. This year's focus was on collaboration.  According to conference coordinator Missy Machkhashvilli, "As the industry expands, there is a greater need for communication across vineyard and winery lines to insure the highest quality grapes and wine to represent the industry."In the … [Read more...]

Katie Cook on Making Wine in the Midwest

Homepage photo: John Thull and Katie Cook of the University of Minnesota.  Visiting the University of Minnesota Research Center, I was surprised to see vinifera growing in the vineyard. What are all those old world vines doing in the mecca of cold climate hybrids?The vinifera is primarily for breeding, to bring vinifera traits into our hybrids. Vinifera also forms a standard. We know … [Read more...]

Coming Soon: A New Red Wine That’s a Pearl

A new hybrid red wine, Petite Pearl, is now in production at several Midwest wineries and should be available soon. 2012 will be the first commercial vintage of Petite Pearl. Previously, only test samples have been made.Bred by Tom Plocher in 1996, Petite Pearl is a cross between MN 1094 and E.S. 4-7-26. ("MN" and "E.S" are abbreviations for The University of Minnesota and Elmer Swenson.) … [Read more...]

Interview With Nick Smith of University of Minnesota

Midwest Wine Press spoke recently with Nick Smith at the University of Minnesota (U of M.) Nick is well-known in the region because, over the course of a year, he probably makes more different kinds of wine than anyone in the Midwest.How did you get into winemaking? I have a long and convoluted academic path that started out in finance.  I re-entered the undergrad program at University of … [Read more...]