Upper St. Croix Wine Trail reveals path to local winery scene

Sip wine, discover the buzz at Wine and Art Krawl this Saturday at three local wineries

James Perry Vineyards in Rush City specializes in grape, mead and fruit wines.
James Perry Vineyards in Rush City specializes in grape, mead and fruit wines.

The vineyards are on the “grow” across the local landscape, which is becoming a place of destination for folks in search of quality, locally produced wine and a memorable wine tasting experience.

The local winery scene can be accessed by the self-guided Upper St. Croix Wine Trail, where people will discover five family-owned wineries along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. On the way, take in the scenery of the river valley, farmlands and woodlands that contribute to the climate and geography that make the wineries and their wines unique.

One of these wineries is James Perry Vineyards, 4790 480th St., Rush City. Jay and Sheila Wiggins, with sons Jim and Jerry Wiggins, opened shop last spring, and their award-winning wines already have attracted many to their place out in the country.

“We are a small artesian-style winery specializing in grape, mead and fruit wines,” Jay Wiggins said.

Next is North Folk Winery, 43150 Blackhawk Rd., Harris, where Mike and Ann Tessneer have built a wine tasting room with timbers from the Gunflint Trail area. Their wine is produced in small lots from locally grown fruit, and they enhance the experience with regular community events and gourmet pizza on Friday nights.

Third on the map is Wild Mountain Winery, 16906 Wild Mountain Rd., Taylors Falls, which is operated by three local families and winemaker Irv Geary, who share a passion for making Minnesota wine exclusively from the hardy grapes that grow in their vineyards atop one of the highest points in Chisago County. Visitors love the views while enjoying the wines year-round in their tasting rooms or on the patio.

Head into Wisconsin for the final two wineries on the trail. One includes Troy and Laura Chamberlin’s Chateau St. Croix Winery and Vineyard, 1998A State Rd. 87, St. Croix Falls, nestled in the rolling hills of the St. Croix Valley. They invite you to taste their award-winning wines and tour the winery.Wine Trail map

Also in St. Croix Falls is Dancing Dragonfly Winery, 2013 120th Ave., where Bill and Christine Bluhm invite family and friends to enjoy some “great-tasting wine.” This winery offers a year-round tasting room and special event center, along with an outdoor deck and covered patio during the summer.

The members of the Upper St. Croix Wine Trail encourage folks to not forget about the restaurants, shops and bike paths along the trail. Trips can be planned at upperstcroixwinetrail.com.

Wine and Art Krawl, Oct. 4

Three local wineries are collaborating to host an annual fall event in celebration of art, food, song and, of course, wine.

The Upper St. Croix Wine and Art Krawl is set from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Wild Mountain Winery, James Perry Vineyards and North Folk Winery.

Ann Tessneer, owner of North Folk Winery, said guests of this wine tasting extravaganza can experience the entire loop of wineries by taking advantage of a limo service provided by Lee’s Limousine for a modest fee. In addition to welcoming a variety of artists and vendors and fresh produce from local growers, North Folk will host a 2:30-4:30 p.m. performance by Strings ‘N Things, a high-energy band that plays folk, country, gospel, originals and covers. This free opening act will be followed by Ann Reed in concert (tickets are $15) from 5-7 p.m.

Reed, a past Minnesota Music Academy Performer of the Year, is known for her alto vocals, songwriting, guitar and rapport with audiences. Tickets for the Reed show can be purchased in person or by contacting 651-674-7548 or [email protected]

Come out to the Wine and Art Krawl and experience the peak of the fall colors, Tessneer said. The event coincides with potter Robert Briscoe’s Annual Fall Studio Sale, a 25-year tradition that will take place from Oct. 3-5 at 2785 Stark Road, Harris, about a mile from the winery.

For directions and more information, contact North Folk Winery at 651-674-7548 or www.northfolkwinery.com; Wild Mountain Winery, 651-583-3585 or www.wildmountainwinery.com; and James Perry Vineyards, 651-528-2858 or www.jamesperryvineyards.com.

For the St. Croix Falls-based wineries on the Upper St. Croix Wine Trail, contact Chateau St. Croix Winery and Vineyard at 715-483-2556 or www.chateaustcroix.com and Dancing Dragonfly Winery at 715-483-WINE or www.DancingDragonflyWinery.com.



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