WINE TASTING | CRAFT BEER BREWERY TOURS
Minnesota wine... I know what you're thinking, "isn't this corn country?" The truth is, yes, Minnesota is amongst the nation's leaders in vegetable crops. However, over the past five years, Minnesota wine production has doubled. In fact, there are currently 13 wineries within one hour of Bloomington and if you're willing to travel another 1/2 hour, you can add three more stops on the wine tour.
Our wineries harvest almost every type of wine grape on the market. Growing the vines underground allow for the grapes to be protected from the harsh, cruel environment. However, the wines that are getting the attention of connoisseurs around the country are from cold hardy grapes.
The hybrid Marquette cold-hardy grapes used for the wine have been bred to withstand the less than desirable Minnesota climate. The resulting medium bodied red wine was presented to a panel of wine evaluators for testing and the results may surprise you.
When it comes to red wines there are a few factors that determine the level of quality: the aroma, tannins, and body. The aroma is the smell that wafts up out of the glass while you are drinking and assist the taste buds in having a full sapidity in the mouth. Minnesota wines from cold- hardy grapes are famously known for having heavier aromas, giving the wine a bold flavor. Tannins are the acidic level or the pucker effect after taking a sip. While the body relates to the heaviness, comparable to milk (whole, 2%, and so on).
Here are a few of the wines you can expect to taste on a wine tour near Bloomington.
We'll start with a glass of 2006 GHV Marquette from Garvin Heights Vineyard in Winona. When this red jewel hits your mouth, instantly a soft air of cherry, spice and black pepper fill your taste buds. The subtle taste coupled with the defined tannins, rest the wine comfortably in the medium body category.
Next up on the wine tour is a 2015 Minnesota Marquette from Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery in Kasota (near St. Peter). The black olives and red currant aromas enhance the plum and fig flavors. This gives off a full body flavor, however even with all the color and tannins extracted from the grape, the wine is still medium bodied. It's almost heavenly... the one drawback to this dark red colored work of art is, it's blended with Napa Valley Merlot. Technically it's still a cold-hardy grape wine, but... some of the romance of the grape is lost when mixed with warm weather grapes. Which happen to be sweeter.
Moving right along with the wine tour, let's head over and sample a beautifully colored Marquette Rose from St Croix Vineyards. This not red and not white wine will transport you to a sunny rolling hill. The pomegranate and raspberry aromas, coupled with a crisp tannin level and a brief undertone of sweetness taste like a perfect spring day. Here's the best part about this delightful coral colored beauty, it can be paired with anything... fruit, poultry, fish, red meats, cheese, you name it!
The variety of wines made in Minnesota can contend with the largest producing wine states in the country. They reach far beyond those we've sampled on our virtual wine tour in both popularity and quality. Now it’s time to climb in the limo and taste these luscious wines for yourself.
Of course, to fully enjoy a wine tour of Minnesota Vineyards you'll need a designated driver. Give us a call today. Leave the driving to us and everyone in your party can partake in the wine tasting experience.
Wine Tasting Tour
Craft breweries are all the rage right now. But DUIs are not! Reserve your limo for your brewery tour and leave the driving to us.
From the nationally-known Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis to locally loved Wayzata Brew Works in Wayzata, the Twin Cities metro area is home to 50+ local breweries within 10 miles of downtown Minneapolis!
The local craft beer scene mirrors the international beer scene in that Minnesota craft brewers offer a wide of variety of tastes and alcohol content. The most popular beer among local craft beer drinkers is the IPA and just about every brewery has its own IPA. An IPA (India Pale Ale) is a heartier beer with a bitter, hoppy flavor that is especially in favor during the winter months.
During summer months the breweries see higher demand for lighter beers. Lager tends to be the most popular summer beer with the pilsner coming in a close second. Wheat-based beers are also summer favorites in the Our State's craft beer community.
Most of the breweries are similar in style to a local bar or pub in that they have a bar with stools and a few tables. Some even serve food. When it comes to the alcoholic beverage options though, they only serve beer. Because of their specialty, the bar tenders are [generally] very knowledgeable about the beers they brew and most are happy to give you a free sample before deciding which beer you want to purchase. Of course, flights are very popular because you get to sample several different beers. Most flights are either 6 pours of 3 ounces each or 4 pours of 6 ounces each.
Though not in Minnesota, Oliphant Brewing, right across the border in Somerset WI is an in-demand destination. Reports are that the beer is among the best locally and it appeals to a "hippy, crunchy granola, Patagonia type" person.
Hipsters frequently book us for a tour of Insight, Bau Haus and Dangerous Man while Fair State Co-Op is the hipster-ist of the hipster breweries. Not surprisingly, these are all located in Northeast [Minneapolis.]
St. Paul is home to the all-woman owned Urban Growler and they have a full kitchen with some pretty tasty dishes. Right next door is Bang Brewery. This husband and wife owned and operated beer business is in a refurbished They grow their own hops for their IPA and offer a wide array of organic beers.
Interesting for it's historical location, Flat Earth Brewery is in the former Hamms Brewery. The decor pays homage to Hamms including the notorious Hamms Bear. Bring the dog while you enjoy a beer. The brewery is dog friendly; and so are we with advanced notice. Flat Earth is most appealing to the baby-boomer crowd; maybe it's because they remember Hamms from their parents beer-drinking era.
One of the newest breweries is Bad Weather Brewery on West 7th in St Paul. This neighborhood brewery resides in an old auto mechanics shop and attracts a younger group of locals.
Like just about any food or beverage, the fresher the beer, the better it is. Being able to taste Minnesota craft beers straight from the source is the best way to enjoy a beer. And brewery-hopping is best done in one of Bloomington Limo Service's cars.