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Walk the vine

Cannon River Winery

By Amanda Dyslin

Why Go: Owners John and Maureen Maloney have what they call a “winemaker extraordinaire” on hand at Cannon River Winery. Vincent Negret, a third-generation winemaker trained in both Colombia and the U.S., brings traditional and contemporary knowledge to the winery.

Getting Started: The Maloneys didn’t have previous experience when they established their vineyard in 2001 in the hills of Sogn Valley, 10 miles southwest of Cannon Falls. It was a new venture, Maureen says, and one that has paid off. The winery opened in 2004 when the first crop was taken from the vineyard, which is 20 acres and the largest in the state. Grapes include Frontenac, St. Pepin, Edelweiss, Prairie Star, and Sabrevois, among others. About 6,000 cases of wine are produced annually.

Winery's Roots: The winery is in a 100-year-old limestone building in downtown Cannon Falls, and the large vineyard boasts a 19th century timber-frame barn.

What To Taste: St. Pepin, Maloney says. “It’s a crisp sauvignon blanc style with a hint of citrus, and it’s an excellent food wine,” she says. Maloney also recommends the Sogn Blanc, made from the Edelweiss grape. “That’s a real aromatic sweet wine that has been very popular.” The winery’s Classic White wine was selected as the Best Midwest Regional Wine at the 2009 Minneapolis Food & Wine Show.

Unique Features: The winery is in a historic building that used to hold a car dealership. The timber-frame barn at the vineyard has ties to Prohibition.

When To Go: Open daily May through October. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Open November through April, Wednesday through Sunday (call for hours).
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Cannon River Winery
421 West Mill St., Cannon Falls