Cold Climate Wine Competition 2017: La Crescent, Marquette reign supreme

The Growler was on hand to help judge the 2017 International Cold Climate Wine Competition, which always gives us a good barometer on the state of local wine. The competition is open to any winery using non-Vinifera, cold-hardy grape varieties to make wine, and some of the region’s finest wineries were among the winners this … [ Read more]

Through the Grapevine: 6 experts weigh in on the world of modern wine

Illustrations by Brent Schoonover Your local wine store has a thousand different bottles. Half of the labels aren’t in English. New trends arise with every vintage, and it’s hard to know which to chase and when to stick to your go-to bottle instead. Fortunately, we know a few wine experts in the Twin Cities. So … [ Read more]

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Cold snap ruins wine grape crops in southeastern Minnesota, southern Wisconsin

T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month. But in the Midwest (or The North), that designation is probably reserved for May—the month that makes you believe the cold weather is finally gone, only to slap you back to reality with a string of near-freezing temps. That’s what happened last weekend, much to the chagrin … [ Read more]

U of M releases “Itasca,” a new white grape for dry wines

The University of Minnesota’s grape breeding program has released a new variety. Itasca, the fifth-cold hardy variety released by the U of M since 1999, has high sugar levels but lower acidity, making it a prime candidate to be vinified as a dry wine. The U of M’s previous white varieties, La Crescent and Frontenac … [ Read more]

From Vine To Wine at Schram Vineyards

It’s grape harvesting time in the upper Midwest. Vines of marquette, frontenac, and other cold climate  grape varieties are hitting target sugar levels and their fruit is being hauled into wineries by the truckload. The Growler wanted to get up close and personal with the wine harvest this year. Aaron Schram (above) of Schram Vineyards invited the crew … [ Read more]

2015 International Cold Climate Wine Competition

The very best in cold climate wine was sipped, spit and judged in St. Paul on Tuesday. The results are in for the 2015 International Cold Climate Wine Competition, and The Growler was there to taste it all. Here’s all you need to know: 2015 Winners and Standouts MN Governor’s Cup (Best MN Wine) and Best … [ Read more]

Thoughts on the 2014 Int’l Cold Climate Wine Competition

Judging the International Cold Climate Wine Competition always gives me a nice baseline to gauge the state of the local wine industry. Herein, a few thoughts on local wine following the 2014 competition: 1. Dry Whites are improving: The Achilles heel for the cold climate wine industry has been development of a white grape that’s well … [ Read more]