RED WING WINERY TOUR
Visit the land known for its shoes, pottery and growing winery scene in Red Wing
By Claire Noack
Famous for its shoes and pottery, Red Wing is also home to an impressive winery scene that is a must-visit this fall. Break up the hour drive southeast of Minneapolis and St. Paul with the first tasting of the day at Minnesota's first vineyard, Alexis Bailly Vineyard, in Hastings. Start off the morning easy with a round of bocce ball, a walk through the winery's sculpture park and a glass of the first commercially produced wine made entirely from Minnesota grapes. Need another rest stop? Don't miss the Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings for hiking trails, an apple orchard and up-close views of live falcons in the visitor center.
Forge on to Falconer Vineyards & Winery to sample wine grown on the family-owned vineyard and take in views of the brightly colored valley. Pack a picnic to share on the vineyard grounds or munch on wood-fired pizzas available on the winery's bistro menu. Then head into downtown Red Wing for an afternoon shopping spree at local antique stores, or stretch your legs with a hike up Barn Bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Tour the Pottery Museum of Red Wing to learn about the area's historic clay industry and take a look at local artisans' work in town.
Pay a visit to Flower Valley Vineyard & Winery and sip on their versions of classic favorites like Cabernet and Pinot Noir, along with unique Midwest varietals. Stroll through the vines with a glass in hand or play yard games at this rustic, farmhouse winery. Before driving back to the Twin Cities, don't forget to take a picture with the 20-foot-tall Red Wing boot at the Red Wing Shoes Museum and enjoy tapas and live music at Oliver's Wine Bar in downtown Red Wing.
Alexis Bailly Vineyard: open April-December, Friday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Thursday (Memorial Day through Labor Day) 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Falconer Vineyards & Winery: open Wednesday-Sunday, check website for seasonal hours.
Flower Valley Vineyard & Winery: open Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday-Tuesday noon-5 p.m.