“Minnesota Wine Country” might sound like an oxymoron to some, but the rapid improvement in the quality of state-made wine is for real. And the phrase is not some promotional pitch but the name of a newish building at the State Fair.
In its second year since taking over the old Epiphany Dining Hall, a consortium of wineries has added a wealth of education programs, two or three a day featuring 20 speakers.
The topics range from food pairings (yes, including pronto pups in some sessions) and home winemaking to more scientific looks at the U of M’s grape-breeding program, the importance of soil type and what makes Minnesota wines distinctive.
The talent is wide-ranging: stellar winemakers Steve Zeller (Parley Lake) and Kyle Peterson (WineHaven); plant gurus Gary Gardner and Katie Cook; Peter Hemstad, who fits both of those categories; local food/wine instructors Robin Asbell, Heather Hartman, Stephanie Meyer and Leslee Miller, and others.
The talent extends to the musical front, where different acts perform from 7 to 9:30 every night.
I will, however, reserve judgment on one addition, from Minnesota Wine Country’s menu: wine-glazed deep-fried meatloaf on a stick.
For a complete schedule, go here.