6 Best Stillwater Minnesota Wineries and Harvest Festivals 2023
Welcome to our latest blog post, where we invite you to discover the hidden gems of Stillwater Minnesota Wineries and uncover the rich wine culture.
The wine scene in Minnesota may not be as talked-about as Napa Valley or Bordeaux, but those in the know already understand that our state’s wine industry is nothing short of a hidden treasure.
In this guide, we will take a closer look at Stillwater’s wineries and the personalities behind them. We’ll get into the region’s wine-making history, explain the grape varieties that thrive in this area. Plus we are sharing our top tips for making the most of your wine-tasting trip.
Whether it’s your first time to Stillwater Minnesota Wineries or if you’ve been hitting up wineries all along the St Croix River Valley. You’ll find your next adventure.
DayTripper is supported by it’s audience. When you purchase though links on our site, we may earn a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything additional. I never promote things I haven’t vetted myself.
Why is the St Croix River Valley a great place for wine?
The St Croix River Valley is an ideal spot for grapes due its suitable climate and soil. The St. Croix River Valley benefits from a continental climate, which means warm summers and cold winters.
This climate is ideal for growing cold-hardy grape varieties that can withstand harsh winters. The region also has well-drained soils that are rich in minerals, which help produce high-quality grapes.
Where are the wineries in Stillwater MN?
Saint Croix Vineyards
This award-winning winery is located just outside of Stillwater. Saint Croix Vineyards produces a variety of wines, including whites, reds, and dessert wines, using locally grown grapes. They’ve been making the best wines in the area for the last 27 years.
Their signature La Crescent, a semi-sweet white wine with notes of apricot and citrus.
They offer tastings and tours. Or bring a blanket and enjoy their picnic area with a bottle of wine and some snacks.
The winery also hosts events throughout the year, such as grape stomping and live music. In May, stop in for their Winemaker’s Barrel Tasting. They offer a free add-on to any wine flight, you’ll get to sample red wine and port fresh from the barre!
Domacin Wine Bar
While not technically a winery, Domacin Wine Bar is a popular spot in Stillwater for wine lovers.
The bar offers a wide selection of wines from around the world, as well as small plates and cheese boards to pair with the wines.
If you are in the mood for something more substantiation, geat a Beef Tenderloin or a entre fo Duck Breast.
They also offer wine tastings and special events, such as wine dinners and tastings with winemakers.
Seven Vines Vineyards
Seven Vines Vineyards, located just a short drive from Stillwater, is a stunning winery that produces a variety of wines.
They have a large selection of wines to choose from.
My favorite is the 2021 True North Blanc. It’s a semi sweet white variety with aromas of Pear, white peach, and pineapple.
Stop in for a guided winery Tour and Tasting at theri scenic location. They even offer special events, like vineyard yoga! Sign up for the ZenFit Mothers Day Triathlon, or do a beautiful picnic.
Make sure to check their calendar to see when they are open. They are a popular spot for private events and close on some days.
Rustic Roots Winery
Rustic Roots Winery, located just a short drive from Stillwater, is a family-owned winery that produces a variety of wines. They have a variety of red, white, and rose wines. You can stop in and get a flight, glass or bottle.
Rustic Roots Winery also has a selection of hard cider, local beers and non alcoholic options.
One of my favorite varieties is their Frosted Root Wine. It’s a semi sweet blend of Brianna and La Crescent grapes. And if you buy three bottles or more, your tastings are free.
Rustic Roots often has food trucks stop by and also has small plates of cheese onsite.
Visitors can enjoy tastings and live music on the weekends.
You can bring both kids and dogs as long as both are well behaved!
Cracked Barrel Winery
Cracked Barrel Winery, located in Hudson, WI, is a small, family-owned winery. This seasonal winery is open May to November.
All of their wines are made on site, with many of their own grapes. They have a bunch of wines to choose from. You can do a tasting flight, glass, or get a bottle. They also have beer from local breweries too!
Their tasting room is spacious with plenty of tables. But the best place is their outdoor seating. They have plenty of tables, faced perfectly to take in the sunset.
They offer a variety of wines made from locally grown grapes, including their popular Frontenac.
Thought the year, they offer Yoga and Painting classes. Stop in on for theri Live Music and Comedy nights for a real treat.
They do not allow dogs inside the tasting room, but they are welcome on the outdoor patio.
White Bear Meadery
White Bear Meadery, located just a short drive from Stillwater, is a unique winery that produces mead, an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey. They’ll also use local strawberries, raspberries, maple syrup and apples!
Visitors can taste a variety of meads, including their popular Valhalla with is made with Wildflower Honey.
My personal favorite is the Valkyrie’s Kysse. It’s a Metheglin mead with lavender and Minnesota Wildflower Honey. But there are so many to try!
They offer tours of their facility and tastings, and also sell mead by the bottle. While dogs are not allowed inside, they are welcome on the outdoor patio.
How long have they been making wine in Stillwater MN?
Stillwater Minnesota Wineries have a rich history of wine-making dating back to the mid-1800s. The early settlers of Stillwater recognized the region’s fertile soil, favorable climate, and proximity to the St. Croix River is ideal for growing grapes for wine-making.
Over the years, several pioneering personalities have provided their expertise and worked tirelessly to develop the wine industry in Stillwater.
What grapes grow in Stillwater MN?
There are a variety of great grapes that grow in Stillwater Minnesota Wineries. The most popular varieties in the area include Marquette, Frontenac, La Crescent, and Itasca.
Marquette grapes are known for producing a full-bodied red wine with notes of cherry and blackberry, and it’s often compared to Merlot.
On the other hand, Frontenac grapes are used to produce a lighter-bodied red with flavors of plum and red berries.
These grapes are also used for producing rosé wine, which is known for its crisp, refreshing taste.
La Crescent and Itasca are white grape varieties that produce wines with flavors of apricot, peach, and citrus. La Crescent is often used for producing sweet wines, while Itasca is used for producing dry wines with a crisp finish.
Whether you’re a fan of red or white wines, Stillwater’s wineries have something for every palate.
What to expect on a Stillwater Winery Visit?
Stillwater boasts of some of the finest wineries in Minnesota, and a trip to any of these wineries promises to be an unforgettable experience. If you’re planning a visit to a winery in Stillwater, there are several annual events to keep your eyes open for.
The Grape Stomp at St. Croix Vineyards
This is a fun-filled event held in September where visitors can participate in grape stomping, enjoy live music, and sample wine and food. If you’ve never tried grapes stomping, let me tell you from personal experience it’s a lot of fun. If you plan on stomping make sure to check out my award winning grape stomping tips.
The Fall Festival at Seven Vines Vineyard
An autumn event held in early October that includes grape picking, live music, food, and wine tastings.
Harvest Fest at Rustic Roots Winery
A celebration of the fall harvest season held in September, featuring live music, food trucks, and wine tastings. It’s a great time!
Mead Fest at White Bear Meadery
A festival held in August that celebrates mead, with tastings, live music, food, and mead-making demonstrations.
What to expect at winery Tasting in Stillwater MN?
Wine tasting can be an intimidating experience, especially for beginners.
Firstly, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to wine tasting. Everyone’s taste buds are different.
Don’t let them make you feel bad that you like sweets over dry, or white vs red.
When tasting wine, it’s important to look at the color, clarity, and consistency of the wine. Swirl the wine in your glass to release its aromatic compounds so that you can smell the wine.
Take a small sip and let the wine linger in your mouth to appreciate its flavors and texture.
Try to identify the various elements such as sweetness, acidity, tannins, and fruitiness of the wine.
Remember to cleanse your palate between tastings with some water or crackers, especially if you’re tasting a variety of wines.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I can’t believe how much there is to learn about wine and the area. No question is stilly!
By following these tips, you can take your wine tasting experience to the next level and truly appreciate the complexity and nuances of the wine.
Another great growing region is in Southern Minnesota. Make sure to check out: 13 Best Wineries in Southern Minnesota
What is your favorite Stillwater Winery?
Stillwater’s wineries offer visitors a great opportunity to explore Minnesota’s rich wine culture. The region’s fertile soil and favorable climate have made it a suitable location for growing a variety of grape species, including Marquette, Frontenac, La Crescent, and Itasca.
Visitors can enjoy wine tastings and tours at award-winning wineries such as Saint Croix Vineyards, Seven Vines Vineyards, Rustic Roots Winery, and Cracked Barrel Winery.
In addition, wine lovers can also indulge in a wide selection of wines from around the world at the popular Domacin Wine Bar.
The wineries also offer events and activities throughout the year, making Stillwater an ideal destination for a wine-tasting trip.
Overall, the hidden gems of Stillwater’s wineries are waiting to be explored, providing a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all tastes and preferences.