It was all about Minnesota vineyards ("No sour grapes for state vintners," quipped a clever headline writer) in the Oct. 29, 1980, issue of Taste. Well, two of them, anyway. After visiting Lake Sylvia Vineyard in South Haven, Minn., Tom Gill, the wine columnist for Taste, dropped in for the first time on the then relatively new Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings.
Owner David Bailly, a Minneapolis lawyer and beret-favoring oenophile, founded the vineyard in the early 1970s after growing grapes and making wine at his Lake of the Isles home. Bailly bought a Hastings farm field for its easy commuting distance and Mississippi River microclimate, as well as for its poetic symmetry; his great-great-grandfather Alexis, a French fur trapper, was the village's founder. Within a few years, Alexis Bailly wines were being handed "Best in Show" and gold medals at competitions, and the business had quickly become a family affair.
"Already, in fact, [Bailly] is grateful for the availability of six sons and daugthers -- the "S + D" acknowledged on the bottom right corner of his wine label," wrote Gill. "Most involved with the enterprise is daughter Nan, a former student of horticulture at the university, whom David employs full-time to oversee both vineyards and winery. Her technical abilities are sufficient to make good-natured arguments with her father inevitable. She normally emerges victorious, I've noticed."
David Bailly died in 1990, and Nan Bailly is the master winemaker at what has been, for several decades, the state's most notable wine producer.