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Two Silo Vineyards

Minnesota – the land of 10,000 lakes but is Minnesota a serious wine industry? You betcha! And its growing….Today there are more than 70 wineries.

This past fall 2018, marked our venture into the wine industry. We have designated 12 acres of the farmland as our “terroir,” that nebulous French term that basically means that the conditions in a given spot produce something distinctive in the wines that emanate from them.

Our long love affair with grapes and the wine they make is quite a passionate affair itself. Grape growing in Minnesota is a testament to the benefits of research and resourcefulness. Elmer Swenson, noted horticulturalist, created, among others, the cold-climate Edelweiss and St. Croix varieties. Our cold climate can be quite harsh for many grape varieties, but thanks to the research and perseverance of the University of Minnesota, we are ripe for a few cold-hardy hybrid grape varieties. And, that includes one of the state’s most important grapes.

This spring 2019, will mark the plantings of 684 vines as phase one. We have chosen two cold hardy vines; the Red Marquette and the White Itasca.

The Marquette


Marquette is a complex hybrid, one that involves Vitis vinifera as well as American species. It is named after Pere Marquette, a Jesuit missionary, and 17th century explorer in North America and has been said by the University of Minnesota to be a cousin of Frontenac and a grandson of pinot noir. In 2006, the Marquette was developed from a cross of MN 1094 – a complex hybrid including Vitis riparia and Vitis vinifera – with the French hybrid Ravat 262. The grape has high sugar, moderate acidity and good tannin levels.

The Marquette is called a “winemakers wine,” one where the winemaker can greatly influence the final wine depending on how the wine is treated in the cellar. Marquette is a liquid canvas that allows for all different expressions. Finished wines are complex, with attractive ruby color, pronounced tannins, and desirable notes of cherry, berry, black pepper, and spice on both nose and palate.

The Marquette grape

The Itasca


The new grape, which will be used to make dry white wines, is the latest in a series of cold-hardy cultivars released by the university that led to the nascent wine industry in Minnesota and other northern climates around the world. Itasca produces a wine that is light yellow to straw in color and has aromas of pear, quince, violet, melon, minerals, and subtle honey notes. “This is a very nice grape with lots of potential as a wine maker’s grape,” said Bryan Forbes, the university’s wine maker. “It is clean and pleasant with pear and floral notes and mineral notes with a long finish.”

The Itasca grape

This spring 2020, will mark the plantings of 804 vines as phase two. We have chosen five cold hardy vines; the Red Frontenac Noir and four White Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, La Crescent, and Prairie Star.

Frontenac Noir


It is a versatile grape variety with the ability to produce red, rose, fortified, or late harvest wines.  It can produce full bodied wine with notes of black cherry, blackberry, plum, chocolate, and coffee. As a Rose, it produces a predominant flavor of strawberry.

a close up of a green plant in a garden

Frontenac Gris


This is the most versatile grape variety with the ability to be made into sparkling, white, rose, fortified, late harvest and ice wine.  The poplar use of Frontenac Gris is for blending to elaborate other wines.  When blended with dessert or ice wines, it can add hints of apricot and walnut.  When blended with red wine it can produce tart cherry aromas.  Frontenac Gris is a University of Minnesota Hybrid that is a color mutation of the original Frontenac Noir.  It does not produce a true white wine; some color elements remain and presses out to copper or a salmon color.  The grape ripens with a very high acidity.

Frontenac Gris

Frontenac Blanc


Can be used to make sparkling, white, fortified, late harvest or ice wine wines.  When ripe, the berries can have tropical fruit, pear, peach and passion fruit aromas.  Frontenac blanc is a white grape variety with small yellow orange berries when ripe.

Frontenac Blanc

La Crescent


The La Crescent grape is very cold hardy and relatively high in sugar and acidity levels.  La Crescent is fermented into a sweet or semi-sweet style, with aromas of apricot, peach, tangerine, lime, citrus and pineapple.  The perfect choice for Riesling fans.  The fruit has high acidity and can be used to make off-dry to sweet/dessert and late-harvest wines.

La Crescent

Prairie Star


An Elmer Swenson Hybrid, established in the 1980’s for its cold hardiness – negative 40 degrees.  Characteristics similar to Sauvignon Blanc, crisp, clean, dry, full bodied wine.  Prairie Star produces a full-bodied wine with tropical fruit flavors and a long cinnamon spice finish. Widely used as a blend to other white wines to add body and finish.

Prairie Star

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Two Silo Farmhouse
(612) 860-8471

7040 117th N. St.
Grant, MN, 55110

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