The Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative
Northern Vineyards is owned by the member-growers of the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative. We were the first modern winery cooperative in the United States. Each member maintains a vineyard between 1-15 acres and produces grapes that are brought to the winery in the fall to be made into our wines. Each vineyard has its own unique characteristics for growing grapes, depending on soil and sun exposure. Our growers are located as far north as Rice, MN and as far south as Viroqua, WI. Vines receive meticulous care in order to withstand the rigors of Minnesota’s continental climate. Our members specialize in growing grape varieties developed to grow in our unique climate.
Robin Partch has been our winemaker since 1989. He is one of our original members of the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative. Robin is an integral part of the Minnesota wine industry. He is a founding member of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association, and a founding member of the Minnesota Farm Winery Association. He has won more
than 100 international awards for his wines and is a recognized leader in the industry.
Northern Vineyards Begins
Northern Vineyards Winery was established in 1977 and was acquired by the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative in 1983. We are Minnesota’s oldest winery. We established the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative as a means of making and selling wines from the grapes produced by our grower members. We have members located throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Our Winery’s Features
The winery has a deck that overlooks the scenic St. Croix River and historic lift bridge. It is a wonderful spot to bring your own picnic and pair it with a glass or bottle of one of our award winning wines. The deck also serves as a unique venue to host a private party. Contact us for additional information.
We offer a variety of wines here at Northern Vineyards Winery. We have everything from dry to sweet in both whites and reds. We also have a variety of dessert wines. Most of the labels on our wines read “table wine”. In the United States, table wine simply means that the alcohol content of the wine is between 9-14% per volume.
We make all of our wine at our Stillwater location. The grapes are brought to the winery beginning in late August or early September. Depending on the growing season and grape variety, the crush can sometimes last through late October. The complete wine making process is done on location at Northern Vineyards Winery.
Our wines sometimes vary year to year depending on our growing season. Although a wine may not have the same grapes each year, it will maintain similar characteristics as before. Our tasting room is open seven days a week year round for wine sampling and sales. We do not require reservations for groups of less than 10 people. Tasting is complimentary with a purchase of 2 bottles of wine or just $5 per person. You will be able to sample 10 of our wines.
We produce approximately 30 different wine varieties annually. These wines are available for purchase any time that we are open. We also have a wide selection of wine racks, corkscrews and other wine accessories in our tasting room. We offer personalized labels on some of our wines for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions. We encourage you to stop by and try a number of our award winning wines.
Grape varieties that ripen early are essential for our climate. Our main production is from locally developed varieties. The late Elmer Swenson of Osceola, WI is responsible for developing many cold-hardy varieties. They include LaCrosse, Edelweiss, Louise, Prairie Star, Sabrevois, Laura’s Laughter, Shannon and St. Croix. The University of Minnesota grape breeding program has developed several varieties to grow in Minnesota’s climate. The varieties that we use are Frontenac, Frontenac gris, LaCrescent and Marquette. All of these varieties are cold-hardy, disease-resistant, ripen early and provide wonderful flavors that come through in the wines.