CANNON FALLS, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota wine industry has been growing and improving over the last few years.

And right in the heart of downtown Cannon Falls, you can find the Cannon River Winery. It’s a dream come true for owners John and Maureen Maloney.

“We are a staple of Cannon Falls, you know. Cannon River Winery is one of the big attractions to the town,” Head Winemaker Sam Jennings said.

The downtown winery looks like it was always a part of Mill Street, but it started out as a livery stable for horses. Now, tasters line up at a former soda fountain bar to try Cannon River’s Minnesota-inspired wines.

“Minnesota is kind of a difficult place to grow grapes,” Jennings said.

Jennings says their grapes are special, developed at the University of Minnesota to survive Minnesota’s harsh winters.

“Marquette, La Crescent, Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Noir, there’s a new variety that just came out named Itasca,” Jennings said.

Sam says if you pick one bottle during your visit, you should try their Reserve White.

“This is a blend of 100 percent Minnesota grapes. It’s La Crescent, St. Pepin and Prairie Star, all barrel-aged in Minnesota oak barrels, which is kind of neat to be able to use Minnesota oak for aging the wine,” Jennings said.

Pour a glass and you’ll also get hints of vanilla, coconut and caramel. It’s a wine that showcases Minnesota grapes and the Cannon River Winery.

“It’s a great place to visit. It’s a great place to come sit down, have a glass of wine, enjoy the nice weather,” Jennings said.

One of the wineries best sellers are the “Grandma Series” named after the owners grandmothers.

On Maureen’s side there’s Grandma Roselle, a Rose wine, and Grandma Irene, a Moscato due to her love of strawberries and raspberries.

And, on John’s side – German grandma Lorraine has a white Riesling and Grandma GoGo’s red is their most popular wine (the kids couldn’t say Grandma so she was GoGo).

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