Nate and I and 8 of our friends, took a little trip yesterday over to Cannon Falls to enjoy their vineyard and winery. It was a perfect 72 degree day with plenty of sunshine….just as if we were in Napa Valley instead of Minnesota. We started out by driving up to the vineyard and when I say up…I really mean it. We had to take a one lane dirt road that led us to the top of the rolling hillside. It was a wonderful sight as soon as we got out of our cars. It is a twenty-acre vineyard that overlooks the Sogn Valley just a few miles out from the downtown.
We met our tour guide, Chad, at the top. He was very knowledgeable about the vineyard and we really learned quite a lot just hanging out with him for an hour around the vines. We all agreed, he reminded us of my brother, Mark. Very funny too.
When you first arrive at the vineyard, you can’t help notice this old barn. It is a 19th century timber frame barn that was brought up there piece by piece. Once they had the skeleton part of it back together, they liked it that way and decided not to add the sides so the views could be seen from each direction. They also do small weddings, engagement pictures and other events in this barn because it has such a wonderful picturesque view.
As we headed up to the vines, Chad told us that the vineyard was started twelve years ago and that they have been producing wine for nine years now. They have many varieties of grapes. The south facing slopes of the vineyard are not only beautiful, they are ideal for growing luscious grapes. The cold hardy grapes are based on Minnesota hybrid varieties that allow them to survive our cold winters and add a unique and delicious flavor to the wine world. Each fall they open their vineyard to the public for grape harvesting, tours and picnics.
After Chad finished answering all of our questions (and we had many), he left us to just wander the vineyard and explore on our own. There is something so relaxing about walking around amongst the grapes. Down towards the end of the vineyard, we found these. Chad told us that these are called “the baby vines”. They were just planted in the spring. It will take them three years to produce the grapes needed to make good wine.
Before leaving the vineyard, we had Chad take our photo. What a glorious way to spend a Saturday afternoon with good friends.
Now that we know all about the grapes, the harvesting, the types of grapes, etc…it was time to go taste their wine. Off we headed to the winery in downtown Cannon Falls.
It was very easy to find the winery and it was a hopping place on this particular Saturday. It was packed with people. We had a very nice lady pouring our flights for us, but at times she could be a little rough on us. It was a tough day to be working because it was so loud in there and she needed to explain each wine to us. We had trouble hearing her at times, so we had lots of questions and she needed to repeat herself often. She was getting little perturb with us. My friend Sheri, who is British, put her back in her place and told her to quit being so bossy! haha! We all ended up being friendly with each other and I think she liked us in the end. We never did get her name.
We bought eleven flights of wine and started with the sweet whites and ended with their bold reds. Some we liked, some we didn’t, but it’s all about the fun of trying them and conversing with the group on what they think of each one. I also love watching the facial expressions when someone tastes a nasty one that they really hate! Always funny~
Everyone had their opinions of each wine but we all ended up purchasing a bottle or two….or five in Jean’s case! We always like to keep the local wineries in business when we visit them, so always good to buy something to take home with you.
We had such a good time and we hated to leave, but we had dinner reservations, so our day wasn’t quite over yet. We all enjoyed a nice dinner with a glass of wine and/or beer for some. A fantastic day out with wonderful friends.
We were hooked and are hoping to go back in the fall for grape harvesting. Three hours of clipping vines, then a catered meal and of course….more wine. I imagine the view in the fall is gorgeous! I see another trip in our future~