The Best Local Wineries To Entertain Clients

The Best Local Wineries To Entertain Clients

Entertain a client with a harvest-season break at a local vineyard.

Crow River Winery and Vineyard
If your clients have never experienced the beauty of the prairie in autumn, take them to Crow River Winery, 40 minutes west of Minneapolis near Hutchinson. Established in 2004 by Mike and Val McBrady, longtime farmers with a deep appreciation for the unique terroir of the Crow River Valley, the winery includes four vineyards, event facilities, an apiary and fields where the McBradys grow hardneck garlic. Taste award-winning Frontenac, Black ’Sota (named after the Dakota word sotah, meaning “sky-colored”), the sweet dessert wine Ten Month Winter and other varieties. Private group tours, tastings and special events are also available. 4848 Hwy. 7, Hutchinson, 320-587-2922,


Wild Mountain Winery
True oenophiles will enjoy a pilgrimage to Wild Mountain Winery near Taylors Falls on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a region well suited to growing cold-hardy grapes. Established in 2011, this small, rustic winery specializes in grapes developed by the University of Minnesota and Elmer Swenson, the late Wisconsin grape breeder who crossed French hybrid grapes with local wild grapes and revolutionized grape growing in cold climates. Sit outside amid the trees, listen to live music, enjoy local cheeses and sip Prairie Star, Elmer’s White, Wild River Red and other award-winning wines. 16906 Wild Mountain Rd., Taylors Falls, 651-583-3585,


Northern Vineyards
For another perspective on the Minnesota wine trade, introduce your clients to Northern Vineyards in the historic town of Stillwater. Established in 1977, Northern is among Minnesota’s oldest wineries. Using cold-hardy grapes grown in a dozen small vineyards in southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, winemaker Robin Partch produces about 30 different wines each year. Relax on the deck overlooking the St. Croix River and the Stillwater Lift Bridge, and taste wines made from La Crosse, Edelweiss, Sabrevois, St. Croix, and other cold-hardy grapes, including a distinctive ice wine made from grapes allowed to freeze on the vine. 223 Main St. N., Stillwater, 651-430-1032,


Schram Vineyards
For clients with an interest in viticulture, Schram Vineyards is about as close to the source as you can get. In 2008, Aaron and Ashley Schram began planting vines on a small plot of farmland just west of the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center, where Frontenac, La Crescent, Marquette, and other cold-hardy grapes were developed. Today, the couple produce an array of wines including Marquette, a winner of the silver medal in the 2013 International Cold Climate Competition; Blossom, made with Frontenac Gris, Brianna, and Prairie Star grapes; and Barnstormer, a red wine inspired by the grass airstrip abutting the vineyard. After a rousing game of bocce, sit in the pavilion and taste the Schrams’ handcrafted beers, including Red Barron Ale and Smoking Aces Porter. 8785 Airport Rd., Waconia, 952-442-5105,


Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery
After a day doing business in Rochester, unwind with a tasting at Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery, a leisurely 30-minute drive down Highway 63. Founded three years ago by Vicky and Gary Vogt on six acres of family farmland, the enterprise now includes the eponymous four daughters and their husbands, two of whom are the winemaker and vineyard manager. Enjoy beef tenderloin carpaccio, goat cheese torta and other appetizers as you sample Marquette, Minnesota’s only gold medal winner in the 2013 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition; La Crescent, a sweet, German-style wine named Best in Show in the 2012 International Cold Climate Competition; and other boutique wines. Private group tours, tastings and special events are also on offer. 78757 State Hwy. 16, Spring Valley, 507-346-7300,