Drink these Minnesota-made 2016 gold medal wines

Cold Climate Wine

John Garland / Growler Magazine

The Growler was on hand to help judge the 2016 International Cold Climate Wine Competition. We’ve found that the quality of cold-hardy wines has grown exponentially in the last five or six years. Local wineries are accruing a much better grasp on growing and bottling these new wine grape varieties that are suited to the upper Midwest.

Our takeaway on cold climate wines in 2016: off-dry whites are still the best, led by Frontenac Gris and La Crescent. Frontenac Gris also makes a terrific “skin contact” rose. Dry reds are markedly improving—Marquette is best, Frontenac is still wildly inconsistent.

Autumn is the best time to visit Minnesota wineries. Several are attached to apple orchards, many have a kitchen on site, and all of them offer a relaxing way to while away an autumn evening. Here is the list of the 19 gold medal-winning Minnesota wines from the competition this year that you might want to seek out:

Cannon River Winery (Cannon Falls)
Gold: 2014 Family Reserve Red

Carlos Creek Winery (Alexandria)
Double Gold: 2013 Petite Pearl
Gold: 2015 Frontenac Blanc

Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery (Kasota)
Governor’s Cup for Best MN Wine: 2015 La Crescent
Double Gold: 2015 Kasota Rose

Crow River Winery (Hutchinson)
Gold: NV Red Porch

Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery (Spring Valley)
Gold: 2014 Frontenac Gris

Grape Mill Vineyard & Winery (East Grand Forks)
Gold: NV Brianna

Wine Flight

Milner Heritage Winery (Dassel)
Gold: 2013 Draga

North Folk Winery (Harris)
Gold: 2015 La Crescent

Parley Lake Winery (Waconia)
Gold: NV Brianna Breeze
Gold: 2015 Frontenac Gris

St. Croix Vineyards (Stillwater)
Gold: 2015 LaCrescent

Two Rivers Vineyard & Winery (Ramsey)
Best In Show White: Frontenac Gris
Gold: NV Raspberry Wine

Wild Mountain Winery (Taylors Falls)
Gold: 2013 Arrowhead Red

Winehaven (Chisago City)
Best In Show Red: 2014 Marquette
Double Gold: NV Strawberry-Rhubarb Wine
Gold: 2015 Edelweiss


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