Why would anybody start a winery in northern Minnesota?
What do “Boundary Waters Blend,” “Cabernet Sauvignon,” “Caribou Blend” and “Moose Joose” Have in common? They are all wines and ciders produced at North Shore Winery in Lutsen, Minnesota. Co-owner Jeremy Hanson is quick to point out that they do not grow their own grapes and have never made this claim. Rather, North Shore winery makes wines from grapes grown in California. On the other hand, Sawtooth Mountain Cider House, which is housed in the same facility, uses Minnesota grown apples. (Side note: there are several wines made from Minnesota grapes and berries, such as Painted Prairie Vineyard in the south, and Forest Edge Winery in the north who make wine from cranberries, currants, raspberries and even rhubarb.)
If they don’t have the grapes, why would anybody start a winery in northern Minnesota? That’s simple. Lake Superior. Lake Superior makes Lutsen the place to be—the stunning beauty of the immediate surroundings, the proximity of a great ski hill, the amazing paved bike trail which runs from the junction of Lutsen Ski Hill Road and Hwy. 61, approximately 13 mi./21 km. to Schroeder and the nearby Superior Hiking Trail, which runs from Duluth, all the way to the Canadian border. These Northern Minnesota attributes, including great views from each and every one of them, are popular with visitors and make Lutsen an attractive location for many huge trail running, mountain biking, gravel biking and other events. That’s a lot of traffic that could be interested in a wine tasting or tour.
Tours and Tastings
Thinking about checking it out? North Shore Winery is on the north side of the road to Lutsen ski resort just off Hwy 61. Lutsen is about 21 mi./34 km. south of Grand Marais. Winery owners and staff are very good about taking visitors on winery tours. While many people just show up and are offered a tour, you can also contact the winery through their website. They’ll take reservations for events as well, all hosted next to large oak barrels, used in the wine making process, stacked high against the walls. North Shore winery is open Friday-Monday from Noon- 7 p.m., Thursdays open late for “Date Night” – 2-8 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
If you are fortunate enough to visit North Shore Winery in summer, there are chairs and tables out front with Lake Superior just down the hill in the distance. You can buy any of the wines and ciders they have on offer or even taste a sampling of several, at your liesure, for a very reasonable price. If the weather isn’t cooperating, there’s lots of room inside.
Infosuperior promotes connections with Lake Superior. Try sitting outside North Shore Winery on a summer afternoon with a glass of “Cascade White.” The air conditioning will already be flicked to the “on” position, thanks to cooling breezes from the big lake. Take a couple of sips. We guarantee you’ll connect.