My latest adventure brought me to Salem Glen Vineyard & Winery for some wine tasting. Both myself and my unpaid intern (read: wife) were excited for this, as we hadn’t been to Salem Glen since 2008, and we were very much looking forward to seeing all of the expansion that had taken place since our last visit.
For those unfamiliar with Salem Glen, it’s a “family-owned and operated winery specializing in crafting small batches of wine made from regionally grown grapes.” It opened in July of 2007 and is located among the beautiful farmland and rolling hills only a few minutes southwest of Rochester.
Salem Glen currently produces twenty-one different types of wine (four red wines, nine white wines, three rosé wines, three fruit wines, and two fortified wines), and if you choose to do a tasting while you’re there, you will get to sample eight of them.
As luck would have it, it was a perfect fall day when the unpaid intern and I arrived to Salem Glen. During the winters here in Rochester, there’s probably 3 or 4 days when it’s absolutely brutal outside that I ask myself, “Why do I live here?” And it’s days like those that answer the question perfectly. So, in four months, when I’m complaining in a blog post about the winter weather, feel free to refer me back to this post.
After parking the chariot, we walked up to the tasting room, which is a new addition since our last visit and is absolutely gorgeous. It’s the perfect relaxing atmosphere to enjoy some vino and carry on with friends, and I look forward to going back on one of the evenings or afternoons when they have live music.
After chatting for a few minutes with some of the staff, we decided to walk around the grounds for a little bit before starting our tasting. The grounds and their surrounding area offer some wonderful views of the countryside (Think of Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”, but then picture Bob Ross taking over afterward and adding some happy trees and some more color). Plus, it’s fun being able to walk right up to the vines and see the grapes growing.
A quick side note: You may have noticed in the photo above that your favorite local blogger is now your bespectacled favorite local blogger. Yes, after <redacted> years living the good life of correction free vision, my bright baby blues (read: brown) now require some assistance. It was a good run, but like sands through the hour glass…
After we thoroughly Lewis and Clarked the grounds, we headed back inside for our tasting. We also ordered a bread and olive oil plate, just in case one round of tasting turned into two rounds of tasting. Now, I don’t presume to know enough about wine to try and pinpoint the subtle tastes and aromas of each wine that I tasted. I can, however, relay that I enjoyed each of the eight wines and present them in photo essay format.
In chatting with the staff members, one of the things I found most interesting about the grapes themselves is that, like the Honeycrisp apple, many of them are hybrids created by the University of Minnesota Horticulture Research Center (Go Gophers!), for the specific purpose of being able to thrive in Minnesota’s climate. In fact, one of their grapes, the “Frontenac” red wine grape, is now the most commonly grown grape in Minnesota.
After finishing the last of our wines, we stayed and soaked up the enjoyable atmosphere for a few more minutes and then headed back to the homestead (not before picking up a couple bottles of our favorite varieties, however). It was an enjoyable afternoon, and I know it won’t be long before we head back. I highly recommend finding some time to visit Salem Glen. Whether it would be your first visit or whether they yell “Norm” when you walk in, you’re sure to enjoy yourself.
For more information on the schedules of tastings, tours, and live events, be sure to visit http://www.salemglenvineyard.com/. You can also drop by their Facebook page and give it a “like” to be kept in the loop for upcoming events.Another important takeaway from the Horticulture Research Program, is that while NDSU may have gotten our number on the football field this year, they ain’t got nothin’ on The U’s grapes. Ski-U-Mah!
Coming up in my next post:
I’ll be gearing up for Winter by getting my “chili on” at the Boys and Girls Club Chili Challenge. I’m not sure how high the spicy-meter is going to go at this event, but you can rest assured that I’ll track down the hottest one there and go head-to-head with it… even if it means having to bring a cut man with me. Until then!