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 of the estate in France.
Chateau St. Croix Winery
The tasting room was styled 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 you 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.
After that, or just before the tour, start your tasting. They provide you with 6 chips for $7. 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 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 head to the back yard and patio the kids will have plenty of room to run around.
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.
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?