The Waconia Wine Triangle: How a Twin Cities suburb became a hotbed for cold-climate wines

As a thunderstorm rolls across the prairie, Ben Banks rests a finished bottle flat and deftly hand-labels his new vintage release. Disturbing the zen of the moment, he looks up to give me a warm handshake. Banks leads the winemaking at Sovereign Estate, his family’s winery established in 2008 on the north shore of Lake … [ Read more]

Waconia Wine Country Winter Wassail 2018

A day of sampling all that Waconia Wine Country has to offer! Parley Lake Winery, Schram Vineyards, and Sovereign Estate will bring you a day of sampling, music, food, and memories. Ticket includes (3) sample pours. Advanced Tickets: $35 per person (includes ALL wineries) At The Door: $15 per person (only good for winery at … [ Read more]

J. Carver Distillery debuts bourbon whiskey

J. Carver Distillery of Waconia announces the release of their first batch of bourbon whiskey. The spirit has a mashbill of 75 percent corn and 25 percent rye, and has been aged Minnesota-coopered oak barrels. “Not only is this one of the first bourbons made in Minnesota, it has been distilled with grains harvested close to … [ 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]

First Look: J. Carver Distillery

A massive distillery is coming together in an old car dealership off Highway 5 in Waconia. We stopped by J. Carver Distillery for a first look at an operation that will make a substantial push into the local spirits market. “We really wanted to do this in Waconia,” says owner/operator Bill Miller, “It’s right on … [ 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]