Last updated on August 16th, 2019
Have you ever wanted to walk into a Chateau in France? For a lot of us, it’s just not in the cards. That’s why I was so excited to see that there is a Chateau only 1.5 hrs away from the Twin Cities. The Chateau St. Croix Winery and Vineyard. It is modeled after a real Chateau in France, complete with a carriage house, stables, and formal gardens, just on a scaled down the size. They say the entire winery could fit inside the estate in France.
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The Chateau St. Croix Winery
They styled the tasting room as a German Hunting Lodge, complete with high-back chairs. The east wing holds an art gallery. The west side of the Chateau is devoted entirely to winemaking. It is a commercial grade food processing facility. From the outside, you never would never have guessed it could hold all that.
I recommend that you visit at 12 pm on a Saturday so you can experience one of their free tours. They offer a behind the scenes look at how the wine is created. The master winemaker will explain the process from harvest to bottling. My favorite part was when they told you about what to look for in a good wine. Did you know you should never smell the cork if a waiter gives you one? Why, because it will smell like a cork. They are handing it to you to see the level of saturation on cork itself. They also explain to you the differences between types of corks; which wines are cured in a barrel and how long to age the wine.
The Tasting Room
After that, or just before the tour, start your tasting. They provide you with 5 chips for $8. Depending on your picks, most wines are only 1 chip. They also have reserve wines available for 2 chips. My favorite tasting was the Chardonnay while my husband preferred the Golden Harvest Riesling. Then head out back and enjoy music from their summer music series. They have a nice outdoor setting that shaded. If you are hungry, try some of their deli meats and cheeses to snack on or even chocolates. For a limited time, Groupon is offering a great deal on tasting packages.
The Winery hosts a variety of different events, including a Red, White and Sangrias Weekends, Jazz Festival and a Free Grape Stomp. They are going on throughout the year, so check them out. The summer music series goes on every Saturday from 1-4, June to September.
Other Things to Know
A standard wine tasting costs $8. It includes 5 tokens. Each pour costs 1-2 tokens depending on the type of wine you select. Most are 1 token, with the exception of ports and dessert wines. You can also purchase wine by the glass.
The Chateau St Croix also participates in the MN Wine Passport program. A passport costs $25 and is good for 10 free tastings at different MN Wineries. That averages out to $2.50 a tasting. The Chateau St. Croix also has additional deals for passport holders.
The Chateau St Croix is off State Road 87 along the St Croix River. From Taylors Falls, head over the bridge and take the first Left. Follow along for 6 miles and they will be on the right side of the road. The first time we went, we ended up driving right past the entrance, so keep your eyes peeled. They have plenty of parking out front.
The Chateau St. Croix Winery is kid friendly. We brought our children on the tour and there was another family that did the same. They offer canned sodas and water for those that don’t wish to drink. If you take advantage of the seating in the back, the kids will be able to stretch their legs in the large yard area, while you enjoy the music!
Tips for your visit
Make sure to bring your MN Wine Passport to get your free tasting. Also consider aligning your visit with the free wine tours. Seeing the wine being made will teach you more than anything you can learn in a book.
If you do have children with you, get a table out back. Trust me. I was a little apprehensive to venture out the back doors but so thankful I did.
Other Things to Do Around the Chateau St Croix Winery
Other Attractions to Visit
The Chateau is in a great area of town, close by two other wineries, the Dancing Dragonfly and the Wild Mountain Winery. But if you want to stay on the Wisconsin side of the River, consider taking a train ride on the Oscella St Croix Railway. There is also a stunning waterfall and picnic area in the valley behind the Watershed Cave on N Cascade Street. It’s called Cascade Falls. For more ideas, check out How to Spend a Weekend In Taylors Falls Minnesota | The Ultimate Guide.
Where to Eat Nearby
The option to eat light snacks at the Chateau St Croix may not fill you up. I recommend driving into Osceola and visiting Mango’s Mainstreet Eatery. It’s a few minutes south. Their prices were good and everything we ate was amazing. The restaurant has island-flavored foods.
If you are looking for quicker food or if you are with kids, check out the Drive-In. They specialize in Root Beer Floats, Milkshakes, and burgers. You can get just about anything at this 50’s style car hop.
Where to Stay
- If you’re looking to stay overnight to do more in the area, consider staying at the Holiday Inn in St Croix WI. They have excellent rooms and a pool.
- As far as camping goes, there are a few options available. First is Interstate Park, both in Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you are staying during the summertime, on a weekend, make sure to get your reservations back January. Otherwise, there is Wildwood RV Park.
Only have an hour?
The Chateau St. Croix is a stop on the Upper St Croix Wine Trail in Minnesota and the Inns of the Valley trail in Wisconsin. And if you need another reason to go, they also are a participant in the MN Wine Passport. So what are you waiting for?
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