Summer is a great time to explore a new winery! Just grab a glass of red, white or rosé, sit back, sip and relax. Here are some can’t-miss wineries along the northern Great River Road.
Seven Hawks Vineyards
In beautiful Fountain City, Wisconsin is Seven Hawks Vineyards. Located on steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River Valley, this is one of the largest vineyards in the upper Midwest, with 18,000 vines. They make 12 varieties of wines, 100% from locally grown grapes and fruit. Wine tastings here are free of charge and the tasting room and wine bar are situated in a beautifully restored historic 1870s building. Make a getaway of your visit — they’ve got cottages and suites on-site you can rent that overlook the bluffs, vineyard, or Fountain City. It’s especially gorgeous in the fall!
Falconer Vineyards & Winery
Falconer Vineyards is a beautiful, family-owned winery located in historic Red Wing, Minnesota. Here they make about 20 different varieties of wine, including whites, reds, rosés, dessert and port wines. They use only grapes grown in the northern U.S., with a special focus on grapes for cold climates. Tastings here are a modest $7/person. Hungry? Their bistro is open through October, offering 11 different kinds of delicious pizza to pair with your wine. While the weather is cooperative, sit on the deck and enjoy amazing sunset views.
Vino in the Valley
In the heart of the Rush River Valley along the Mississippi River in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin is Vino in the Valley — not just a winery, but a unique outdoor dining experience. Open just Thursdays through Sundays, this is your chance to enjoy gourmet pizza and pastas outdoors in the gorgeous 5-acre vineyard. After dinner, stroll around the vineyard or grab another glass of wine and relax next to the bonfire. Since this spot is new, the vineyard is not producing its own grapes yet, but the winery buys grapes from Minnesota growers and contracts with Cannon River Winery to produce three types of wine especially for Vino in the Valley. Come back in late November and December for horse-drawn sleigh rides and cookies, or to cut down your own Christmas tree at the tree farm next door!
Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery
Maiden Rock Apples, Winery & Cidery can be found in Stockholm, Wisconsin, located in the bluffs above the Mississippi River at Lake Pepin. It’s a small operation, but one that prides itself on quality over quantity. Unlike other wineries, Maiden Rock doesn’t grow grapes, but rather, apples. They make about a half-dozen delicious varieties of apple and crabapple wines, along with some excellent hard ciders. Plan to stroll through the apple orchard or picnic in the gazebo while you’re here.