CANNON FALLS, Minn. (WCCO) — There’s never a good time for a natural disaster to strike, but Thursday night’s storm couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Cannon River Winery.

When the power went out, thousands of gallons of wine were fermenting in tanks that need electricity to keep cool.

“The tank temperature went from 40-50 to 90 degrees, which in a relatively short period of time can destroy all of your wine,” said Ron Stowell, owner of Cannon River Winery. “We currently have about $2 million worth of wine in the tanks, so it’s a pretty big deal and insurance companies are concerned.”

Stowell brought in a back-up generator but still doesn’t know whether the wine will be drinkable.

They say misery loves company, and the Winery is not alone.

All across Cannon Falls, trees are down and gravestones are destroyed in the city’s oldest cemeteries.

Connie Bongiorno lives about a mile away from Saint Ansgars Lutheran Cemetery. The path of destruction began across Highway 52 and hit her home.

“It took the side of our house out and it not only took it out, but it mangled everything there,” Bongiorno said.

Even in the face of such a mess, Bongiorno believes her family is lucky.

“We feel blessed and we are very happy everybody was OK, including the dogs,” she said.

According to Cannon Falls Police, the majority of the power was restored to the city by Saturday night.

They are posting regular updates with more information on the storm damage and clean-up efforts on their Facebook page.

The National Weather Service is still surveying the damage. Four tornadoes were confirmed yesterday, but the NWS said Saturday night at least 10 could have swept through communities.

Mary McGuire


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