Minnesota - a wine country - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

Minnesota - a wine country

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- When people think of Southeastern Minnesota, wine country is rarely what comes to mind.  But thanks to some local vineyards, Minnesota is becoming a wine region of its own.

The Salem Glen Vineyard and Winery sits on 10 acres of land in Rochester. It opened just over a year ago but today offers over a dozen varieties of wine all thanks to a special cold weather grape developed at the University of Minnesota.

Dustin Ebert says, "Many of these varieties will survive 30 and 40 below zero so they'll do just fine in Minnesota."

Owner Dustin Ebert will harvest the grapes through the month of September and the rest of the year will be spent fermenting, aging and bottling the wine. The grapes picked today will be ready to drink in just six months and for some the experience is more personal than stopping by the liquor store.

Gene Kelzer says, "People see the grapes, see the vineyard and get a local feel for it."

Gene Kelzer makes his own wine at home and helps at the vineyard.

He says Minnesota wines have a flavor all their own and are just as good or better than a California wine.

Dallas Martin says, "These grapes are very, very sweet."

Dallas Martin doesn't call himself a connoisseur, but stopped by to help pick grapes for the total experience.

Martin says, "This way you get to see all that goes into making a good wine."

It's not wine country, but even in Minnesota it's the experience that makes the wine taste so good.

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