Wine country growing in Minnesota

12:45 PM, Jun 20, 2013   |    comments
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WACONIA, Minn. -- Aaron Schram started making wine 12 years ago one gallon at a time as a college student using Welch's juice.

"Welch's grape just does not ferment well," he joked.

His wine making methods have improved over the years. Now he owns a nearly 10 acre vineyard in Waconia. It was a dream Aaron shared with his wife, Ashley, on their first date.

"I said I like wine. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and here we are today," Ashley said.

Five years after the first grapes were planted the first round of bottling is underway. They have about nine varieties and come July 12th they will open to the public for a taste test.

Schram is one of three vineyards within a seven mile a radius in what some have dubbed "Waconia Wine Country."

The first Minnesota winery opened up in 1977. Today there are 43 wineries statewide and it just keeps growing, according to data from the Minnesota Grape Growers Association.

You'd think Minnesota weather would be unkind to vineyards but cold climate varieties like Marquette grapes, which were developed by the University of Minnesota, have thrived.

Aaron hopes the idea of vineyards just outside city limits will too.

"We really want to open up to all walks of life and ensure they have a good time," he said.

This summer you can get a taste of Minnesota Wineries. The Minnesota Grape Growers Association is offering a "passport to discovery." For $25 you can get 10 free tastings at participating wineries.

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