MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –Cold-hardy wine aficionados and experts gathered at the University of Minnesota on Thursday to judge wines from this rapidly-growing part of the industry.

A total of 350 different types of wine are blind tested in the International Cold Climate Wine Competition, with each judge testing 50 wines.

The annual competition is in its eighth year, and judges say that competitions like this benefit both the grower and consumer.

“If you’re asked to pay to pay $20 for a bottle of wine you’ve never heard of, never know anything about, but it got a medal in a competition, you’re willing to try it,” said Ellie Butz, of Purdue Wine Studies.

Experts say cold-hardy wines have come a long way in the past 15 years as far as taste, specifically regarding acidity.

“So we have newer wine grapes that produce lower acid wines, and then we have wine makers with much more experience making those wine styles,” said Matt Clark, a professor of grape breeding at the University of Minnesota Horticulture Department.

In this cutting edge and rapidly growing industry, the progress in cold-hardy wines is a welcome boost for local wine lovers, vineyards and wineries.

The winners of Thursday’s competition have not yet been released. Although we can’t give out names of the wines, there are a number of different varieties from Minnesota in the competition.

The results of the competition will be released Thursday night.

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