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]

Now Open: Minneapolis Cider Co.

The mission statement behind Minneapolis Cider Co. is simple: “Welcome to cider.” “We put it on our glassware, we talk about it, that is our guiding ethos in everything that we do,” says co-owner Jason Dayton. “It’s about: how do we enthusiastically welcome people to the category, and how do we guide our work every … [ Read more]

The 20/20 Rule: Chilling all wines (yes, all) to get the most out of the bottle

Most wine drinkers know to chill white wines before enjoying them. Fewer know to chill reds. And even fewer know the 20-20 Rule. Serving a wine at the right temperature showcases all its best features, like a professional photographer taking your portrait: The head tilts slightly, the chin tips down, and the snapshot is taken … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Wild State Cider in Duluth

Duluth’s local cider scene is continuing to grow this spring with the arrival of Wild State Cider, situated in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, home to Duluth Cider, Ursa Minor Brewing, and Bent Paddle Brewing Company. Wild State Cider is a collaboration between longtime friends Adam Ruhland and Andrew Price, who first met in 2008 as … [ Read more]

Portable Potables: Traveling With Booze

Your feet are sore, your camera card is full, and you’ve checked off all the places on your sightseeing list. Yep, you can chalk this vacation up as a grand success. But now it’s time to pack your bags again and head back to the daily grind. Thankfully, being the wise person you are, you … [ Read more]

Leaves of Change: Verdant Tea champions China’s unheralded family farms by going straight to the source

The future of tea is a new generation—one of thoughtful drinkers who have developed their palates by selecting pour-overs from lists describing coffee beans’ origins and consuming spirits in the same building in which they were distilled. Developing that same relationship between tea farmer and tea drinker is where Verdant Tea has staked its mission, … [ Read more]

12 Women Winemakers to Toast this International Women’s Day

At the turn of the century, an article touting fabulous wines made by women would have been depressingly short. Not because great wines weren’t being made by women but because there were so few women winemakers. Today, as women are helming the tanks at more and more wineries, it takes a lot of paring down … [ Read more]

Wine can be honest and authentic without being “natural”

Most grocery stores, chain liquor stores, and national restaurants sell wines made by the millions of cases—wines made with a recipe, a process more akin to making soda than wine. In contrast, “natural” winemakers have staked their claim as the antithesis to corporate plonk. While “natural wine” is a loose stylistic description, it is generally … [ Read more]

The Great Debate: Is The 51 Percent Rule Good For Minnesota Wineries And Cideries?

In Minnesota, cideries and wineries with a farm winery license are required by state law to use enough Minnesota-grown fruit to constitute at least 51 percent of their product. The same goes for cideries and wineries with a wine manufacturer license if they want to sell their product on-site, say, at a taproom. Our question: … [ Read more]

Seven Sparkling Wines to Ring in the New Year

New Year’s Eve. It’s a time for reflection and reminiscing, celebrating and cheer. The drink that pairs perfectly with all of these things: sparkling wine. We’ve combed our archives from the past year to bring you our top bubblies to help you ring in 2019. They’re fresh, they’re fun, and they’re full of personality—just like … [ Read more]

Make Merry with These 9 Winter Wines

Cool Canadian winds have whisked in the holiday season, and with this churn comes a shift in wines to the more savory and layered. Many choose to jump directly into the depths-of-winter wines, like cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel. Instead, try something more transitional this month—something that honors the elements, pairs with a variety of foods, and piques … [ Read more]