JANESVILLE, Minn. - A local winery unveiled its newest and hardiest wine and you can't find it anywhere else.
A collaboration between Indian Island and the University of Minnesota made it all possible.
With Minnesota's harsh climate, it isn't always easy to raise crops, especially certain species of grapes. A newly released variety from the university is changing that.
"Through the university breeding program we can sort of build in the cold tolerance into these new grape varieties by cross hibernating, cross pollinating regular wine grapes with the wild grapes that grow here in Minnesota and if you do that for long enough over a longer period of time you eventually end up with a grape that can both survive the climate, has built in disease resistance and taste really good and makes really good wine," University of Minnesota Enology Specialist Drew Horton said.
"Having a lower acid grape to start with makes my job a lot easier being able to produce a little bit dryer of wine than normal and people are going to love it," Indian Island winemaker Angie Netzke said. "The aromas that I get out of our Itasca wine are a lot of pear and some grapefruit and citrus, very nice and refreshing for summertime. We did it finish ours a little bit sweeter then I think we could have but it's going to be great and refreshing."
Indian Island was chosen specifically to grow and create the blend.
"Besides being a winery, Indian Island Winery also has a great nursery business, one of the biggest and best in Minnesota. So once the University of Minnesota develops a grape variety we release it to our few certified nurseries and they propagate it and then they end up selling it over the next few years to other growers so Indian Island has the distinction of being the first commercial release of Itasca because they're also associated with their family nursery business," Horton added.
A bottle retails at $14.95, due to the expected popularity and with less than 600 bottles available, Indian Island is limiting purchases to two per person. But, don't worry, more will be available next year.

--KEYC News 12