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4 min read

Wine for the Minnesota Fishing Opener

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Wine and Recipes for Minnesota’s Favorite Fish

Minnesota has had a long love affair with the walleye. For 50 years, the elusive fish has had Minnesota anglers casting tall tales, in lakes and streams across the state. It’s also a great tasting catch, with thick white fillets that offer a satisfying meal after an exhausting haul.

And, what a treat to pair a perfectly cooked fillet with a glass of wine.  Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.  You won’t go wrong with a dry, white wine for light seafood dishes.

  • Chenin Blanc
    Mostly from France’s Loire Valley (where it is a noble variety) and used in Vouvray and other wines. The best examples have high acidity and a viscous texture.
  • Pinot Grigio
    Northern Italian variety is a great food wine, especially summer favorites such as fish, seafood, avocado, and even morning frittatas.

However, if you are going for a shore lunch, or fried walleye, that calls for a more robust selection. For the classic walleye fish fry, you’ll do well with a sparkling wine or Champagne. The effervescence of sparkling wines and Champagne cut through the heaviness of fried fish. A beer does the same trick too, but that’s a whole other blog post!

Honey-Fried Walleye Recipe


  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed saltines (about 22 crackers)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 to 6 walleye fillets (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • Canola oil
  • Additional honey

In a shallow bowl, beat egg and honey. In another bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, flour, salt and pepper. Dip fillets into egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 in. of oil; fry fish over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Drizzle with honey. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Fresh Walleye with Garlic Wine Sauce


  • 1 (6 to 8-ounce) walleye fillet
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 ounce diced tomatoes
  • Garlic Wine Sauce (see below)
  • 6 ounces linguini, cooked
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Season both sides of the walleye with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Coat both sides of the walleye fillet with flour, tapping off the excess. Heat the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the walleye on one side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden. Turn the fillet over and cook until fish is opaque and cooked through. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Add the sliced mushrooms and diced tomatoes to the fish pan and cook until mushrooms are golden and any liquid has evaporated. Add some of the garlic wine sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the fish over linguini and top with the pan sauce. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Garlic Wine Sauce


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces chopped garlic
  • 6 cups hot water
  • 2 ounces clam base (bouillon)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons lemon pepper

Melt the butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the water, clam base, white wine, and lemon pepper, and simmer until reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.

More Help

You can find ten more great walleye recipes by clicking here. And, if you have Minnesota on your mind when picking out a bottle of vino for your dinner, we can help with you that too.

Stop by any of our Haskell’s locations for your fishing opener needs.

Happy Casting!

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Founded in 1934, Haskell’s has championed fine wines for over 80 years. We have 13 wine stores in Minnesota, two delis and one restaurant. As one of the top wine shops in North America, Haskell’s is known for legendary service and one of the finest collections of wine, beer and spirits. Led by Chairman and CEO Jack Farrell, and the Farrell family, Haskell’s continues to be at the forefront of the wine scene throughout the world. Haskell’s also can ship wine, beer & spirits all throughout the world, the U.S. and we deliver locally.


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