OK, this isn't one of those, "Minnesota is better" posts. Sure, we have the best park system in the nation (IMHO), and it's hard to beat our summers (except when we're getting 8+ inches of cold rain in August). But Minnesota just can't compare to California or even Virginia when it comes to wines. Heck, I'd say even the ridiculously fruity Door County, WI wines are better than Minnesota wines on average.
But I have found an exception. If you haven't had a chance to check out their wine, the Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls, MN is exceptional. The winery is located in downtown Cannon Falls, conveniently enough right at the trailhead for the awesome 20-mile Cannon Valley Bike Trail that goes from Cannon Falls to Red Wing along the scenic Cannon River. Twice now I have biked Cannon Falls to Red Wing and back and stopped at the winery POST-RIDE. Many of their wines are delicious, but most use exclusively or near-exclusively California-grown grapes. In my mind, that's cheating. If I want a great CA wine, I'll buy one from CA, not one where the grapes are shipped to MN. It defeats the whole reason for buying local in reducing transportation costs and cutting CO2 emissions.
My favorite wine from this winery is the Minnesota Meritage. It sells for about 16 bucks at the winery, and apparently is sold at several local liquor stores, although I have yet to see it one yet. If you find it, I would suggest trying it. Of course the best place to get it is in Cannon Falls itself at the beautiful winery. So next time you're driving to Rochester (the Rock as Strats calls it), pull over for a refreshing pit stop. Better yet, do the bike trip, have lunch in Red Wing, and bike back to Cannon Falls for a glass of red. It's better than Gatorade!
Anyone had any other good MINNESOTAN wines?? Wines that are primarily Californian grapes like what Carlod Creek does don't count. I've heard Morgan Creek in New Ulm is good, but I haven't tried it yet.