When you think of a wine tour. Napa Valley may come to mind. But Award-winning white and red wine is being offered by Minnesota vintners.
The quality and the abundance of Minnesota wine is opening up the state's tourism as more wineries are coming to fruition since the early 2000's.
According to the Minnesota Wine and Grape Association there are more than 600 vineyards in the state. This trend shattered the misconception on locally grown Minnesota wine.
Vineyard specialist Rachel Mueller says, "When the Minnesota Grape Industry started out there was a perception that we cannot grow a good product or good wine here and that has changed drastically.
The MGGA says the industry has grown tremendously in the last five years and contributes more than $40 million annually to the Minnesota economy.
Angie Netzke says, " Even since the early 2000's people started understanding that we can grow grapes and make good quality wine."
Quality wine that's earning gold medals at prestigious international competitions but it's a lengthy process that takes time and patience.
Drew Horton says, "Minnesota wants to drink Minnesota grown so the working part of the problem is that young vineyards don't produce a lot of grapes. We can't quite meet the demand we've got trying to get grapes to produce more than that. But it just takes time."
In the early 1990's the wine and grape industry has been growing steadily. But in 2005 it started to boom as were are up to nearly 50 wineries in the state of Minnesota."
Netzke says, "Now that we have over 40 wineries in the state of Minnesota you can really visit 3 or 4 different wineries in a day."
Mueller says, "Get people down to Southern Minnesota, we have Indian Island Winery, Morgan Creek and getting a wine trail going because each vineyard is unique."
Morgan Creek started their vineyard in 1993 and They were the 7th in the state to open as a winery in 1999 offering 4 different verities.
A new tradition in Minnesota that's expected to only get better with age.