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Minnesota has a Slew of Zesty Wineries and Vineyards to Wine and Dine

By Roger Gordon

Minnesota is known for its scenic beauty—from its many lakes to its beautiful forests to its western prairies—much of which is captured on the properties of numerous wineries throughout the state. From a winery in Winona that overlooks the rolling ridges of the bluffs of the Mississippi River to one in Red Wing that sits on a working farm to another in St. Louis Park that gives visitors a “view” of the world, Minnesota is stockpiled with wineries that not only offer picturesque views but also private meeting and event space. 

Cannon River Winery, Cannon Falls

If you’re a wine lover and want to enjoy a glass of your favorite vino in a historic venue, then you want to pay a visit to the Cannon River Winery.

“It has an original 1920s hardwood floor, which was the town dance floor back then. We also have the original limestone walls and exposed brick,” says Director of Events Anne Pechacek. “Our landscape in our vineyard in nearby Sogn Valley is like no other place in Minnesota. It’s simply a sight to be seen.”

The Event Center can accommodate up to 250 guests for a seated dinner and up to 350 for a cocktail party. The Barrel & Reserve room can host up to 20 guests seated. Outside is a 150-year-old barn that accommodates up to 225 guests and sits atop Sogn Valley. “That means we can see everything but no one can see us. It’s quite magical and a must-see,” says Pechacek. “We have something very special here.”

Cannon River has a preferred list of caterers for events. 

Warehouse Winery, St. Louis Park

Visitors to the Warehouse Winery get a glimpse of the globe in a sense. 

“The owner travels all over the world and collects artwork and other artifacts, and many of these pieces sit throughout the winery,” says Carly Dauffenbach, event and sales manager for Sterling Catering & Events. “One is an actual elephant skull. We also have wine barrels throughout with wine aging in them.” 

The winery hosts private tastings for groups with a minimum of 20 guests only. The venue can accommodate up to 150 guests seated and up to 200 standing. Lifting a large garage door leads to a patio. 

Most of the wines are dry red. Three are made from an off-site vineyard in Wayzata, 21 are a blend of the local grapes and those from California and seven are made purely from California grapes.

Sterling provides the catering unless a group chooses to provide its own with a buyout.

Flower Valley Vineyard and Winery, Red Wing

Flower Valley Vineyard and Winery is unique in that it sits on a working farm.

“You travel down a dirt road, you come up a gravel driveway and you’re met with a historic barn from 1873,” says owner and Tasting Room Manager Mary Mohn, whose brotherin-law lives on the property. “Out back are the vineyards. There are horses in the fields. It’s just beautiful.”

Indoors are three working antiques—a sewing machine, a Victrola and an icebox—plus a china cabinet. The tasting room, which was a Quonset hut back in the 1950s, can accommodate up to 50 guests seated and up to 80 standing. The barn, open during the summer only, can host up to 125 guests seated and up to 200 standing.

In addition to its own grapes, the wines are also made from New York and California grapes.

Groups can use a caterer of their choice. 

Winehaven, Chisago City

Winehaven offers guests a country feel without being too far from the heart of Minneapolis.

“I don’t know of any other vineyards and wineries that have 20 acres of vines overlooking two large lakes [Green Lake and Lake Ellen],” winemaker Kyle Peterson says. “We’re also the largest winery in Minnesota and one of the oldest.”

The menu has 24 wines that include not only grape wines but other fruit wines like raspberry, cranberry, strawberry and even rhubarb. “We also make honey wine,” says Peterson. 

Indoors are floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook several acres of the vineyards and the two lakes. The main event area on the first level can accommodate up to 250 guests seated and up to 350 standing. Also on the first level is the tasting room, which can host up to 150 guests seated and up to 200 standing. A second-level space can host up to 100 guests seated and up to 150 standing, and has two smaller spaces. A courtyard out back can accommodate up to 250 guests seated and up to 300 standing. 

Catering is provided by Mintahoe Catering & Events. 

Sovereign Estate, Waconia

Want to be transported out of Minnesota without leaving the state? Then Sovereign Estate is for you. “It’s not like a typical Minnesota experience,” owner Terri Savaryn says. “You feel like you’re in Italy or somewhere else in Europe. It’s just gorgeous.”

Guests arrive by way of a long, winding driveway that lines the vineyards, which sit right on Lake Waconia. Gardens abound and horses prance around the property.

“Then you walk inside to our tasting room, which resembles a French bistro,” says Savaryn. The tasting room can accommodate up to 30 guests seated and up to 50 standing. The Willow Room can host up to 50 guests seated and up to 75 standing. Outdoor event spaces include the White Pavilion Tent, a canopied veranda patio and a ballfield.

The wines are European-styled, sophisticated. Groups can use the in-house caterer or D’Amico Catering for smaller events. D’Amico is provided for larger events.

Garvin Heights Vineyards, Winona

A spectacular view of its vineyards and the rolling ridges of the bluffs of the Mississippi is what you get at Garvin Heights Vineyards. “It’s gorgeous, a very welcoming atmosphere,” says co-owner Linda Seppanen. “There are lots of windows, so it’s light, airy and comfortable.”

The Ridgeview Event Center, attached to a deck, can accommodate up to 100 guests seated and up to 130 standing. The tasting room can host up to 36 guests seated and up to 45 standing. 

“We’re a vine-to-glass experience,” Seppanen says. “We’re the conversation winery with very tasty dry wines to sweet wines.”

Groups can use a caterer of their choice, but it must be approved by Garvin Heights Vineyards.