Who would think that two states in the northernmost part of the Midwest would even have the weather to grow grapes, let alone draw people to wineries and wine events? It may surprise you, but Minnesota and Wisconsin both offer much in the way of activities for wine enthusiasts all year long.
Door County Wine Trail
One of the most picturesque areas of the Badger State is the Door County Peninsula, located just north of Green Bay, Wis. It has long been a favorite tourist attraction with Lake Michigan on the east side and the Bay of Green Bay on the west. There are seven wineries on the trail, most of which offer winery tours and tastings along with special events. More information can be found at www.doorcountywinetrail.com.
Winehaven Wine and Chocolate Dinner Cruise
Minnesota’s St. Croix River is the scene of a Wine and Chocolate Dinner Cruise sponsored by the Winehaven Winery and Vineyard and Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours. It’s a three-hour guided cruise featuring wine sampling, chocolate, a buffet, live music and a cash bar. While enjoying the wine and food, patrons can view the stunning rock formations left behind by glaciers generations ago. Details and more information on the tour are at www.localwineevents.com.
Strawberries vs. grapes
Just north of Milwaukee, the city of Cedarburg holds an annual Strawberry Festival June 23 and 24. It’s an opportunity for the Cedar Creek Winery to show off their Strawberry Blush wine along with many other offerings. If you stop by the winery, sample the wines after a vineyard tour and enjoy a stunning view of the Cedar Creek waterfall from the tasting room. The festival features other events in the Cedar Creek area, which are highlighted at www.cedarburgfestivals.com.
Vine and Dine — A Night in Tuscany
Well, you’re really in Wisconsin, but close your eyes and you might think you’re in the Mediterranean. As part of its Summer Entertaining Series, the Chateau St. Croix Winery in St. Croix Falls offers “Vine and Dine — A Night in Tuscany.” A four- to six-course dinner featuring specialties by area chefs is offered, with courses accompanied by the vineyard’s well-known wines. The dinner is offered no matter what the weather brings, and information can be found at www.localwineevents.com.
Quilts and wine
Local Minnesota quilters show their wares at a unique event at the Millner Heritage Vineyard and Winery in Kimball, Minn. The 2012 Quilt 'N Wine Show is slated for June 23 and will feature the works of area quilters paired with many of the winery’s selections. Collector wine glasses are given to patrons, and a buffet meal is served. There is also live music to entertain visitors as they sip wine and view the handcrafted quilts on display. More information is available at www.millnerheritage.com.
Minnesota and Wisconsin sound as though they are unlikely destinations for wine enthusiasts, however, they have plenty to offer even the most discerning wine aficionado.