The 2012 seasons promises some exciting developments in the Minnesota and Wisconsin wine industry. Several new wineries are scheduled to open. The past year saw the opening of Sovereign Vineyard and Estate in Waconia (sovereignestatewine.com) and Four Daughters Winery in Spring Valley (fourdaughtersvineyard.com).
Why visit a winery? It is part of the whole experience and it supports the local economy. It allows one to meet winemakers and
interact with others who are tasting and deciphering wines.
Pairing Food and Wine
Terri Savaryn of Sovereign Estates spoke at the Minnesota Grape Growers convention in February, addressing the topic of pairing food with wines made from cold hardy varietal grapes. She believes Minnesota winemakers are moving to more food-friendly wines, making that “delicate shift” to ones that are less sweet.
While sweet may be initially “more approachable” such wines are less “food friendly.” Savaryn said the tendency for Minnesota varietals to be more acidic is actually “in our favor” as acid is a good complement in food pairing. At the same time since food has become “pretty complex,” with an influx of ethnic flavors and ingredients.
Wine Aroma Wheel
Until her retirement from the University of California at Davis in 2003, Dr. Ann Noble led wine research on smells and flavors. She created the Aroma Wheel (winearomawheel.com) to aid in learning wine flavor terminology. This handy pie-chart groups into nine major categories hundreds of smells that may be present in wines, including floral, fruity, vegetative, nutty, woody, caramelized, earthy, spicy or chemical.
News from Area Wineries
Cannon River Winery (Cannon Falls), 507-263-7400, cannonriverwinery.com, open year-round. Upcoming special events: March 10: Tank Tasting Event from 1-4 pm – an opportunity to taste how our 2011 fall harvest is progressing in their process to become award-winning wine. March 31: Wine & Cheese Pairing Event, 5–8 p.m. Cheese fondue pairing with award-winning wines. April 20: Jody’s 4th Annual Wine Tasting Dinner, 7 p.m., a three-course meal with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk supporting Susan G. Komen. RSVP to Jody, 651-278-1170, by April 13.
Four Daughters Winery (Spring Valley), 507-346-7300, fourdaughtersvineyard.com, open year-round. Thursday Four Course Dinners (by reservation only) includes a tour by the winemaker.
Post Town Winery (Rochester), 507-251-1946, posttownwinery.com. Through May 26, 2012 on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, cheese and wine pairings 2–7 p.m., $5, call for reservations.
Salem Glen Winery (Rochester), 507-365-8758, salemglenvineyard.com, open winter months Thursday through Sunday, offering live music on Saturdays.
Whitewater Winery (Plainview), 507-534-1262, whitewaterwines.com, reopens in May.
Laphroaig Single Malt Whisky Tasting, Plummer House (1091 Plummer Lane SW, Rochester), 6-9 pm, a special fundraiser for the Friends of the Library hosted by The Laird and Lady of Lochaber; includes prizes, raffles, and a few silent auction items for a fun-filled evening. Cost is $30/person. Please consider a designated driver. One person free with the purchase of three tickets. Register at rochesterpubliclibrary.org/friends/ or 507-328-2341.
Early Riser’s 38th “Night Out For A Cause,” Rochester International Event Center, 7:30–9 p.m. Enjoy wine, beer, and spirits until 9 p.m. Lost Faculties perform 9 p.m.–midnight. Supports children’s programs: Brighter Tomorrows, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rochester Area family Y, Crisis Nursery, Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch, and the Boys and Girls Club among others. Must be 21 to attend. $25 advance tickets from service club members or 507-288-6575; $30 at the door.
“An Evening of Wine and Roses,” Somerby Golf Club, 6 p.m., benefits PossAbilities of Southern Minnesota. Selected wines will be paired with each course on the dinner. A live auction, silent art auction, gift trees and entertainment are all part of this extraordinary evening. 507-281-6116 or possabilities.org.
Area wine tour (10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.) Several winery stops in Wisconsin: Seven Hawks Vineyard, Danzinger Vineyards and Villa Bellezza Winery & Vineyards. Lunch at Nelson Cheese, ending with a stop at Whitewater Winery in Plainview, Minn. Hosted by Rochester Trolley & Tour Company and Rochester Women magazine. See rochestermntours.com or call 507-421-0573.