Minnesota might not be the first US region you think of when it comes to wine country, but some excellent wines are being produced there, and there are several wineries that are well worth a visit too.
If you’re heading to the North Star State and plan to check out a winery or two, here are our top picks for best wineries in Minnesota to help you choose which ones to visit.
Best Wineries in Minnesota
1. Winehaven Winery
A family-owned and run winery that was founded in 1995, Winehaven benefits from a perfect location between three lakes that offers protection from more severe weather, allowing the grapes to ripen later in the season.
As a result, the wines produced there perfectly represent the combination of the climate and the land where the grapes are grown.
Furthermore, this winery grows several grape varieties that were developed here and are grown nowhere else in the world, giving you the chance to taste some truly unique wines.
If you drop by, you can sample their wines by the flight, but they also sell wine by the glass or by the bottle.
If you feel hungry, they offer flatbread pizzas along with assorted cheese, fruit and nuts to accompany your wine, all served by the friendly and attentive staff.
The surroundings are particularly lovely too, making it the perfect spot to sit and appreciate a glass of wine surrounded by vines as you breathe the fresh air of the Minnesotan countryside.
Winehaven also organizes special events such as yoga and barrel tastings of their wines. Check their website for full details of their events calendar
Address: 10020 Deer Garden Ln, Chisago City, MN 55013
2. Carlos Creek Winery
For a friendly welcome, a lively atmosphere, great food and exceptional wine – all at very reasonable prices – Carlos Creek Winery is the ideal spot for a fun and rewarding day out.
This winery has won several local awards, including one for the best winery in Minnesota and another for the best patio.
They offer pre-selected flights of wine for you to sample – or you can mix and match your own. The flights are less expensive than in many other wineries, so this place represents great value for money.
They serve delicious wood-fired pizza among other tasty food items, and if anyone in your party doesn’t drink wine, they also offer a good range of interesting beers.
For an even more memorable experience, coincide your visit with one of the events the winery organizes. You can listen to live music, join special tasting sessions, take part in quizzes and more, so check their website to see which date appeals most.
Note that this winery doesn’t accept reservations, and tables are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. However, for larger groups of ten or more, you should contact them in advance to let them know your plans.
Address: 6693 County Rd 34 NW, Alexandria, MN 56308
Email: General enquiries by telephone, email for specific departments available on the website
3. Next Chapter Winery
The first six acres of vines were planted at Next Chapter in 2007, but the story really began in 1983 in a vineyard in Africa when future owners Timothy and Therese Tulloch became engaged and began dreaming of owning a winery of their own.
Fast forward to the present and their dream has become reality. They opened the dedicated tasting room in 2014, and if you want to sample the produce of the winery, you can stop by and enjoy their wine by the flight, glass or bottle out on the patio or in the cozy Red Barn.
For those not into their wines, they also serve cocktails and craft beer and there’s great food available too.
There’s always something going on at Next Chapter to make every visit lively and enjoyable.
For example, Wednesday nights are bingo nights, starting at 6:30pm, and food trucks are present on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – check the site for details of what’s available on any particular date.
This winery also specializes in weddings, so if you are thinking of holding your big day at a winery, this is one that’s worth checking out. Again, further details can be found on their website.
Address: 16945 320th St, New Prague, MN 56071
4. Wild Mountain Winery
When Alan and Judy Olson first planted grapes in 1994, they had no idea where their new adventure would take them, but having progressed from small beginnings to opening a winery in 2010, their endeavor has turned out to be an unqualified success.
The winery is still owned and run by the same family, and they now produce a wide range of delicious wines, including everything from bold dry reds to irresistible dessert wines.
If you want to sample what they produce, you can visit the winery to enjoy their wines along with cheese and cracker selections and wood-fired pizzas. The winery boasts a dedicated tasting room, but there are also several outdoor patio areas for when the weather is fine.
Located just 30 minutes from the Twin Cities in an idyllic rural setting, the winery offers a convenient getaway from the big smoke.
Guests are welcome to bring their own picnic food, and you can enjoy exploring the vineyards and trails on foot – campsites are even available if you want to stay for a night or two to make the most of the beautiful scenery.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the winery also organizes live music and other events, so that’s a great time to visit if you prefer a slightly livelier atmosphere.
Address: 16906 Wild Mountain Rd, Taylors Falls, MN 55084
5. Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery
The Schram Vineyards Winery and Brewery began as the modest dream of a couple who aspired to make their own wine and eventually grew into what it is today.
The operation now produces high-quality wines as well as interesting craft beers and also boasts a dedicated tasting room and taproom for anyone who wants to sample their produce.
If you visit this winery and brewery, you can look forward to tasting wines and beers by the flight, and they also serve wine by the glass or the bottle and beer by the pint.
There’s also a great range of beer and wine-friendly food like pizza and charcuterie boards to pair with what you’re drinking, and on certain days, there are food trucks to give you an even wider choice of food.
You can reserve tastings in advance, or you can just stop by and hope they have space. There’s also a more exclusive private tasting experience that takes place in the barrel room, something that needs to be booked before you arrive.
Another option is to join a “Vine to Wine” tour that will give you a more comprehensive introduction to the winery and the winemaking process, and when you’ve finished eating and drinking, there are even several bocce ball courts, so a visit to Schram is never boring.
Address: 8785 Airport Rd, Waconia, MN 55387
6. Round Lake Vineyards & Winery
Round Lake is an especially lovely vineyard and winery that grows several varieties of grape and makes use of the unique local conditions to produce some surprisingly original wines.
Furthermore, the food in the restaurant is particularly good – they serve classics like a variety of burgers, assorted oven-baked pizzas and several creative salads.
You can start off with appetizers like jalapeño poppers or a jumbo Bavarian pretzel accompanied by your choice of dipping sauce, and they have a range of drinks including beers, spirits or soda in case anyone in your party doesn’t drink wine.
In fact, this winery would be worth visiting either for the food alone or for the wine alone – but since you can have both, it’s a place that should rank highly on your list of wineries not to miss.
Address: 30124 MN-264, Round Lake, MN 56167
Email: Contact via the website
7. Four Daughters Vineyard & Winery
Four Daughters is a winery and also a cidery, so it’s somewhere you can visit with people who aren’t so into wine. You can taste wine – or cider – by the flight, so there are plenty of options for everyone.
This winery is a relative newcomer to the scene, having begun operations only in 2007. It’s surrounded by six acres of its own vineyards, and its proudest moment to date came in 2016 when its wines were chosen for that year’s Sundance Film Festival.
While you’re there, you can enjoy delicious pizza, salad or snack food like nachos along with your wine, the atmosphere is relaxed and the service is efficient and friendly.
The winery is also available for weddings and other events – check the website for full details.
Address: 78757 MN-16, Spring Valley, MN 55975
Email: Contact via the website
8. Millner Heritage Vineyard & Winery
Owned and run by a family that traces its heritage and winemaking pedigree back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire before their ancestors emigrated to the US, this winery is one of Minnesota’s finest.
You can book a wine tasting by the flight or just sample flights of wine in the bar – either way, the prices are incredibly reasonable. They also make some excellent ciders, so that’s just one more reason to make the trip.
Another option is to take one – or both – of the two winery tours they provide, giving you the chance to learn more about everything they do here.
They organize events such as free Easter wine tasting or a special Mother’s Day meal, and you can also hire the winery for events such as weddings if you decide a venue like this would be perfect for your big day.
Address: 32025 MN-15, Kimball, MN 55353
9. Crow River Winery
An unassuming, unpretentious winery that focuses on making exceptional wines from the kind of cold-weather grape types that thrive in the Minnesotan climate.
Since the winery began operation, in a short amount of time it has firmly established itself as one of the best to visit in the area.
In the tasting room, you can order flights of five wines, either pre-selected or chosen by you, and they sell wine by the glass and by the bottle too. For those who don’t like wine, they also have eight different taps serving local and craft beer.
The bistro has an excellent reputation and serves homely food like pizzas, salads and delicious sandwiches. There’s a range of appetizers to begin with and some irresistible desserts if you feel like finishing on a sweet note.
Reservations are not required for small groups, and you should usually be able to get a table, either in the tasting room or outside when the weather allows. However, for groups of eight or more, you should phone ahead to let them know your plans.
Address: 14848 MN-7, Hutchinson, MN 55350
10. Saint Croix Vineyards
One of the oldest wineries in the area, Saint Croix has been growing grapes and making wine since 1992.
You can pay a visit and sample their wines in the tasting room located in a rustic century-old converted barn. Wines are available by the flight, and there are several different options to choose from – or you can buy wine by the glass or the bottle.
Reservations are not required for tastings, but if you want a private tour of the vineyard, you should book in advance. Full details can be found on the website.
This winery doesn’t serve food, but you are welcome to take your own food and eat it in the picturesque winery grounds as you enjoy a glass or two of their wine.
Address: 6428 Manning Ave N, Stillwater, MN 55082
11. Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery, & Distillery
From its very founding, this winery always set out to be an experience rather than just a place that produces wine. That means they do everything to welcome visitors and make sure that the time you spend at their winery is second to none.
It is this philosophy – as well as the quality of the wines, of course – that has led to the winery receiving the Best Winery award from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
If you visit, you can look forward to sampling the wines in the tasting room accompanied by wine-friendly appetizers and small dishes of food. You can also take a tour of the winery to find out more about the operation and how they produce the excellent wines on offer.
Address: 1179 E Pearl St, Kasota, MN 56050
Difficult to decide where to start
As you can see, there are several wineries in Minnesota that are well worth a visit, and if you have time, it’s a good idea to check out a few to compare the wines from each one – in fact, perhaps the hardest part will be deciding which one to go to first.