Minnesota Wine

presents some of the greatest cold-climate challenges of any wine-producing state. Vines must often be laid down and buried in dirt to keep them alive through the winter. But despite the labor and economic hardship involved, the number of dedicated growers is surprisingly high, with over 400 members in the Minnesota Grape Growers’ Association. Though winter temperatures drop as low as -30 F, the climate has not deterred those like Elmer Swenson, the noted horticulturist and grape hybridizer. Through more than half a century of dedicated work, Swenson created commercially-successful, cold-climate varieties (e.g. Edelweiss and St. Croix). For two decades the University of Minnesota has furthered cultivar hybridizing and cold-climate viticultural research. The University's 1995 introduction of Frontenac, a hybrid red variety able to withstand the cold without burial, has spawned a whole new generation of optimists about Minnesota’s wine future. This state actively funds viticulture and oenology programs Read more »

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