As I drive the rural roads of southern and western Minnesota, there are times when I feel I am in the Napa Valley of California. Small vineyards seem to be springing up in many places. Near our home, in what I’ve come to call the “Ya, You Betcha Valley” grapes are being planted in places that were prairie or cornfields, not long ago.
“Why,” you may ask, “are so many grapes being planted on the Tundra-like lands of Minnesota?”
Through extensive research at the University of Minnesota, and other northern research centers, we now have grape varieties that not only survive the harsh winters in northern flyover country, but also produce high quality grapes, suitable for producing excellent wines. Grape varieties such as Marquette and Frontenac Gris can stand winter temperatures down to thirty below zero and still produce a crop in the warm sunny summers common to our area.
Now we can have our grapes and drink them too.