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7 min read

Make a Day of It: Best Wineries to Visit This Winter

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With the ebb and flow of the seasons, you might be feeling like it’s time to put away any road trip lists until the warmer weather returns. But you’d be missing out on a great opportunity that the great state of Minnesota offers like few others: wineries in the winter.

Many Minnesota wineries are open and ready to welcome you this winter. You may even discover that wintertime visits to wineries offer a change of pace and a change of place you’ll enjoy as a new yearly tradition. Even better? Many of the wineries on our list feature wine along with cider, beer, and some even have their own distillery!

Cure your cabin fever and come along on your very own winter winery itinerary.

The Winery at Sovereign Estate — Waconia, Minnesota

Perhaps foremost among the winter winery experiences in Minnesota is the Winery at Sovereign Estate’s The Spirit of Winter festival of lights. With a walking path through 10 acres of illuminated displays, The Spirit of Winter offers family-friendly activities, games including deck hockey and bean bag toss, an ice rink, and outdoor heated seating areas.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 22 to January 5, you can head to Sovereign Estate’s tasting room and bistro as early as 11 a.m., enjoy a wine tasting flight (before 3:30 p.m.), then pay $5 per person (age 3 or older) to enjoy the lights and activities beginning at 4 p.m. Visit the Winery at Sovereign Estate’s website for more details.

Millner Heritage Vineyard & Winery — Kimball, Minnesota

Make the trek from the Twin Cities to Kimball, Minnesota, about a 1.5-hour drive. There you’ll find Millner Heritage Vineyard & Winery, which offers about 15 wines of different varieties. Get a tasting: seven wines for $5 or 12 wines for $8. That’s a pretty great way to try different varietals and vintages at an affordable price point! Even your cider-loving friends can enjoy this winery because they also provide ciders.

From January on, the taproom is open weekends only, but through December it’s open Wednesday through Thursday. Our recommendation is to visit on Saturday or Sunday for the 1:30 p.m. or 3 p.m. tours — easy with no reservations required. Also, watch their events calendar for upcoming music acts.

Urban Forage Winery & Cider House — Minneapolis, Minnesota

Urban Forage offers a trivia night on Thursdays for, well, just about everyone. The trivia nights are always themed and you can partake in "Friends," "Avengers," "Things you should have learned in sixth-grade sex ed" and more. You can check out their events calendar here and find the theme night that suits you and your crew the best. 

Your gluten-free friends will love you because the cider at Urban Forage is delish as is their gluten-free pizza. They've covered all the bases for your perfect Thursday night outing!

Winehaven Winery — Chisago City, MN

To say their event calendar is packed for the winter months is an understatement. One thing is for sure - we are NOT missing out on their Holiday Market that will feature new wines (including mulled wine... let me just grab my glass right now) and tons of local vendors. Drinking while shopping local? Yes, please.

You can also try out candlemaking classes, painting classes, rolled beeswax and clock building classes. Get the group together for some indoor winter fun by clicking here to see their schedule of events.

Next Chapter Winery — New Prague, MN

If you think things get quiet around Minnesota wineries in the winter months, you certainly haven't visited Next Chapter Winery in New Prague. They have a winery and a distillery meaning it's truly a crowd-pleasing group destination. Your group can sip on wine tastings, flights, glasses or bottles of wine, beer, and their line of spirits including rum, whiskey, vodka, and gin. 

You can tour the winery and distillery (yes, even in the wintertime) on Fridays at 6 pm or Sundays at 2 pm, but reservations are required so email nextchapterwinery@gmail.com to reserve a spot. 

They celebrate teachers on Fridays with a BOGO and they've got a wine of the month where you'll receive a free 1 oz tasting of the featured wine an 20% off the bottle! Check out November's feature Cranberry Burst, December's MN Ice Wine, January's Dessert wine or February's Zinfandel!

Elmaro Vineyards — Trempealeau, Wisconsin

If you dare to exit the orbit of the Twin Cities and venture into Wisconsin territory, head toward Winona then across the state line. You’ll find Elmaro Vineyards in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, where you can enjoy a glass (or three) of wine and maybe even catch a Thursday night yoga session.

If you want to stick to wine, you’ll be able to try their complimentary tasting, or for a few dollars taste five wines. To get the idea, go for a wine tasting package that includes more wines and food to satisfy your cravings. Make reservations ahead of time for the wine package, otherwise, just stop by to sample Elmaro wines. 

Danzinger Vineyards — Alma, Wisconsin

Closer to the Twin Cities, across the river from nearby Wabasha, Minnesota, is Alma, Wisconsin’s Danzinger Vineyards. They were named Wisconsin Grape Growers Association 2013 Winery of the Year, and today they offer a wide selection of grape varietals: Brianna, Frontenac, Frontenac Blanc, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent, La Crosse, Marquette, St. Croix, and St. Pepin. Ask the staff about the comparisons and contrasts between the different types and how to identify them in your glass.

During the winter, Danzinger is open only Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so pair this winery with Elmaro Vineyards on a weekend to get the most of your winter winery travels.

When it's time to hit the winery circuit in the summer, check out this list for some daytrip itineraries for Minnesota wineries. 


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