Family-owned Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery—which only began producing wine in the southern Minnesota town of Spring Valley in 2011—has modest ambitions, except when it comes to the entertainment industry.
In 2015 the winery donated wine for high profile private parties at Sundance, and made an impact. The winery was back this year, pouring roughly 1000 bottles of vino. Four Daughters executive winemaker Justin Osborne says a well-connected film producer (whom he won’t name) has “liked our wine for a couple years now. He mentioned our name to Sundance, and they gave us a call.”
As an official “provider,” Four Daughters donates several of its wines—which fluctuate between 100 percent homegrown grapes or a blend of Minnesota and California grapes—to both private and official Sundance parties. In exchange the winery gets exposure to a big spending crowd that counts among its ranks many, many monied wine enthusiasts. Four Daughters’ juice was even toasted with by actor-director and Sundance founder Robert Redford.
The winery is interested primarily in the notoriety not a path to national market share. “Honestly, we’re not going to [be able to] sell wine in California because people have the perception that Minnesota isn’t known for making wine,” Osborne says. He does plan to market the Sundance connection on bottles, which could be a difference-maker at the retail level.
Four Daughters’ time in the spotlight has already earned it a higher profile. “Last year, someone saw the Four Daughters label and liked it, so our labels were sent to a prop house,” says Osborne. Prop bottles were used in the feature film Wilson (shot in the Twin Cities) and upcoming episodes of The Big Bang Theory and House of Cards.
Four Daughters will also be at the SXSW festivals in Austin this month. “Our relationships in the entertainment industry seem pretty good right now,” Osborne says, “so I expect we’ll continue popping up more and more as time goes on.”