Be transported from the bustling city to relaxed country living and delicious homemade wine in the beautiful Hudson River Valley

By Claire Noack

Taking a day trip to our closest neighboring state won’t take hours of driving; in fact, nearby Hudson, Wisconsin, is only half an hour from the Twin Cities. Hudson’s charming downtown and location on the St. Croix River are ideal for a fall getaway, and the three wineries in the surrounding area serve a variety of wines that meet everyone’s tastes.

Start out the trip with apple picking (and eating) at Afton Apple Orchard. With over a dozen apple varieties, baked goods, petting farm, playground and 15-acre corn maze, this pit stop will provide a fun morning for the entire family. For a nature-centered alternative, get in a mid-morning hike at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park and immerse yourself in the beautiful fall colors.

Make your way to Belle Vinez Winery in River Falls for a flight of wines named after important moments in the owners’ lives like Mischief and Head Over Heels. Sip on a glass of wine on their outdoor patio or munch on appetizers and brick oven pizzas for lunch. Next, head to 65 Vines Winery in Roberts for a glass of their delicious white and red wines, live music and other events in their red barn tasting room.

Venture into Hudson to taste Cracked Barrel Winery‘s cold-weather grape varietals, and make your own wine in their Vintners Venture labs. Finish off the day by shopping at the many boutiques in downtown Hudson and grabbing a bite to eat at one of local favorites in town. We recommend LoLo American Kitchen for burgers and tacos or San Pedro Cafe for Caribbean fare. The short drive back to Minneapolis and St. Paul will be a breeze after a full day of wine tasting and exploring the beautiful St. Croix River Valley.


Belle Vinez Winery: open year-round, visit website for seasonal hours.
65 Vines Winery: open (July-November) Fri.-Sun. noon-6 p.m., (December) Sat.-Sun. noon-5 p.m.
Cracked Barrel Winery & Vineyard: open Thurs.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.


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