WEEKAWAY: Explore Minnesota's Three Rivers Wine Trail

Saint Croix Vineyards, in Stillwater, Minn., is one of the stops on the Three Rivers Wine Trail. (Photo by Carl Wycoff)
Saint Croix Vineyards, in Stillwater, Minn., is one of the stops on the Three Rivers Wine Trail. (Photo by Carl Wycoff)

Not only is Minnesota’s first Wine Trail living proof that those who scoffed at the ability of wine grapes to endure the state’s harsh winters were wrong, it’s also a relaxing way to spend a day or two exploring the verdant St. Croix River, Cannon River and Mississippi River valleys. 

When you embark on the Three Rivers Wine Trail, consider making Stillwater your launch point. The town is home to two of five wineries, Northern Vineyards and Saint Croix Vineyards, that compose the trail. The other wineries are WineHaven Winery & Vineyard, in Chisago City, Falconer Vineyards, in Red Wing, and Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls. 

Each winery on the trail is independently owned and operated, offering its own locally produced, award-winning wines and spaced roughly 22 miles apart. Many who follow the Wine Trail appoint a designated driver and drive independently from stop to stop, while others bicycle or book tour buses or limousines. Give yourself a full day or, better yet, a whole weekend to complete the trail and spend some time picnicking and enjoying a meal or two at area restaurants. 

While the Three Rivers Wine Trail passport is free to obtain anywhere along the trail, each participating winery charges its own tasting pricing. Present your passport for a stamp at each stop. Once you have received five stamps, you can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine and be entered to win a drawing for a wine gift basket and other Wine Trail member products. Meanwhile, each winery operates on varying schedules, with Northern Vineyards and Cannon River Winery open year-round and the others open seasonally. 

The Three Rivers Wine Trail features events throughout the year, including Tap the Barrel on Memorial Day Weekend, Wine & Art Crawl the last weekend in June, Federweisser the third weekend in October and Cheese & Chocolate the weekend before Thanksgiving. 

To learn more, visit www.3riverswinetrail.com.

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