Shelf Stars • A Cheat Code for Summer: White Wine from Gascony

Welcome to Shelf Stars, The Growler’s cheap wine column in which we discover the best under-$15 bottles in town. This edition of Shelf Stars is brought to you with underwriting support from Central Avenue Liquors. In a mini-fridge in the basement of our home, my dad would keep bottles of a bargain California white that … [ Read more]

Bordeaux Buyer’s Guide

Wine drinkers and non-drinkers alike know the term “Bordeaux.” Images of stuffy cigar lounges filled with haughty white folk come to mind, or perhaps an expansive and expensive cellar full of out-of-reach wines for us, everyday people. An honest look at the whole of Bordeaux, however, reveals a large winegrowing region filled primarily with modest … [ Read more]

Georgia On My Wine

A number of countries claim to be the birthplace to winemaking—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, etc. However, perhaps one of the richest, oldest, and most relevant histories of modern winemaking comes from the Republic of Georgia. Georgian wine has experienced a great many changes to its political and geographical landscape over the years: facing the phylloxera epidemic … [ Read more]

So you want to open a winery? A guide to starting up in Minnesota

So you’ve decided to make the leap from amateur to professional winemaker. Your fondness has grown so great for the prominent stone fruit flavors of La Crescent or the well-balanced Itasca, that you’ve been coaxed into putting your name onto a bottle and getting it into the hands of grape-indulgent gallivants. The road to professional … [ Read more]

AxeBridge Wine Company opening in Minneapolis’ North Loop next spring

Ashley and Aaron Schram of Schram Vineyards Winery and Brewery build their vision for a new urban winery It’s been a busy year for Ashley and Aaron Schram, the owners of Schram Vineyards in Waconia, Minnesota’s first combination winery and brewery. The Schrams launched their modern German-inspired beer hall and brewery Schram Haus this spring, … [ Read more]

2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners

Who better than the readers of The Growler to nominate and vote for the finest of the finest in Minnesota beer, spirits, food, arts, and culture? We had a tidal wave of votes to determine the winners of the 2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards, and we’re proud to share the results with you. These are … [ Read more]

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3 Minnesota Cideries take home awards from U.S. Cider Open

Three Minnesota cideries took home awards from the sixth annual U.S. Open Cider Championships, with the final round of judging held in Buffalo, New York. Duluth’s newest craft cideries shined. In the Perry & Pear Cider category, Wild State Cider won bronze with their Pear Cider, while Duluth Cider garnered a gold medal in the Anything Goes … [ Read more]

The Vine Room is a Taste of California (And Beyond) in Hopkins

There’s never been a Twin Cities wine bar quite like The Vine Room in Hopkins. The motley assortment of such establishments in these parts are uniformly designed to be comfy-cozy, with warm wood tones and what those of a certain age call “flattering lighting” (i.e., dim and dusky). Not The Vine Room. This is one … [ Read more]

Autolysis: When Yeast Die for the Wine Drinker’s Pleasure

Alcohol has been celebrated with awe for millennia. This mysterious transfiguration of sugar has inspired lore and legend, even religion, until the 19th century when Louis Pasteur proved that yeast is the mechanism at play. We now understand, in winemaking, a variety of yeast strains carry out the primary conversion of grape sugar into alcohol. Only a few wines, however, utilize the yeast post-fermentation to … [ Read more]

Wine and Cider Guide 2019

Each autumn, the branches of apple trees and vineyard vines hang heavy with the fruits of a long growing season. Every ray of sunlight, drop of rain, and nutrient in the soil have been soaked up to produce plump clusters of grapes and swollen apples filled with the juices, tannins, sugars, and acids that the … [ Read more]

Earth, Wind and Fire: West Coast vineyards are now faced with the challenge of smoke-tainted grapes

It has been a horrifying couple of seasons of wildfires in both California and Oregon wine country. Vineyards have had to ensure their harvests deliver a product free of “smoke taint,” which occurs when wood burns and releases a compound called guaiacol that can drift on the fiery winds, onto grapes, and through their skins. … [ Read more]

Now Open: White Bear Meadery in White Bear Lake

From our professional football team to cultural lore, Vikings play a leading role in Minnesota. But Josh and Dana Eckton believed it wasn’t easy enough to find the seafaring Scandinavians’ drink of choice—mead. To help change this, the Ecktons opened White Bear Meadery on June 29 in Gem Lake, Minnesota, with the goal of helping … [ Read more]

Back From The Brink: Three near-extinct wine grapes that have received a mighty second wind

T he sheer number of wine grapes in the world is staggering. But while the varieties of Vitis vinifera number well into the thousands, the forces and trends driving the wine market have pushed many grapes to the edge of extinction.  It takes a great deal of commitment and dedication to produce a wine that … [ Read more]

Univ. of Minn. awarded $100k grant to research apples for state’s cidermakers

This May, University of Minnesota researchers, in collaboration with a collection of local cider producers and apple growers, were awarded a $100,000 grant to explore the production of cider and cider apples in Minnesota. The Speciality Crop Block Grant, which enables state agricultural agencies to administer federal funds for specialty crop research, will provide funding … [ Read more]

Essay: Old World Lessons on Spontaneous Fermentation and ‘Wild’ Cider

Nate Watters is the co-founder and cidermaker at Keepsake Cidery, Minnesota’s only 100 percent spontaneously fermented cidery. All opinions expressed are his own.  Life is full of moments that change us. Sometimes they are little nudges, gently changing our course—maybe a lyric in a song heard at First Avenue. Sometimes they are hard shoves, changing … [ Read more]

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