No need for Napa: 10 wine destinations less than 2 hours from F-M

FARGO - When you think about wine tasting, you might dream of destinations like California's Napa Valley, the sunny villas of Tuscany, Italy, or even New Zealand's lush, rolling hillside. But surprisingly enough, wineries and vineyards exist much...
In North Dakota alone, 24 wineries and vineyards exist for wine enthusiasts. Courtesy of North Dakota Tourism / Special to The Forum

FARGO – When you think about wine tasting, you might dream of destinations like California’s Napa Valley, the sunny villas of Tuscany, Italy, or even New Zealand’s lush, rolling hillside. But surprisingly enough, wineries and vineyards exist much closer to home.

Thanks to “cold-hardy” grapes, the Midwest – and yes, even the frozen tundra of Fargo-Moorhead – is home to several wineries and vineyards.

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On the east side of the Red River, wine enthusiasts can visit any one (or all) of these five wineries and vineyards within 2 hours of the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Richwood Winery

Location: 27799 Co. Hwy. 34 Callaway, Minn.

Distance from F-M: 55 miles (1 hour, 10 minutes)

Contact: Penny Aguirre at (218) 844-5990

Open during spring, summer and fall, Richwood winery is home to live entertainment, off-sale wine and outdoor seating that’s perfect for Minnesota nice weather. Amongst other events, the winery holds grape stomps, painting classes and a Summer Solstice Festival each year.

Grape Mill Vineyard and Winery

Location: 18696 430th Ave. SW East Grand Forks, Minn.

Distance from F-M: 85 miles (1 hour, 20 minutes)

Contact: (218) 499-9463

Complete with a vineyard, winery and tasting room, Grape Mill Vineyard and Winery is open seasonally. Home to off-sale wine and occasional live entertainment, the vineyard also hosts events, including birthdays, bachelorette parties, bridal showers and corporate events.

Eagleview Winery

Location: 15237 300th St. Ashby, Minn.

Distance from F-M: 82 miles (1 hour, 20 minutes)

Contact: Shannon and Lynda Moerke at (218) 747-2261

Open by appointment only, this winery is nestled in west-central Minnesota just off Interstate-94.

Having planted their first vines in 2007, the Moerkes opened the winery in 2015. According to the website, the couple hopes to offer accommodations for weddings and events in the future.

Burr Vineyards

Location: 10522 County Rd. 58 NW Brandon, Minn.

Distance from F-M: 98 miles (1 hour, 35 minutes)

Contact: Florian Ledermann at (320) 815-3810

Burr Vineyards is a boutique, family winery that offers 14 varieties of “cold-hardy” grapes which can withstand temperatures of -40 degrees. With the addition of an outdoor brick oven, guests can enjoy pizza and homemade breads. The vineyard is open by appointment only and for special tastings and events.

Carlos Creek Winery

Location: 6693 County Rd. 34 NW Alexandria, Minn.

Distance from F-M: 105 miles (1 hour, 45 minutes)

Contact: (320) 846-5443

Open year-round, Carlos Creek Winery is home to a plethora of happenings, including “Murder Mystery Dinners,” “Sparkling Sunday,” the “Lakes Area Wedding Expo” and an annual grape stomp festival. Guests can rent the venue for weddings and other events and enjoy the “Self-guided Wine Museum” during open hours.

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On the North Dakota side, locals can make a quick trip to these five wineries and vineyards located within just an hour of the Fargo-Moorhead area. (One, perhaps, is just down the street.)

4e Winery

Location: 3766 156th Ave., SE, Mapleton, N.D.

Distance from F-M: 24 miles (30 minutes)

Contact: Lisa and Greg Cook at (701) 936-9693

Located on a 100-plus-year-old 12-acre farmstead, 4e Winery uses five grape varieties – including marquette, Petite Pearl, Frontenac, Frontenac Blanc and Brianna. Open seasonally starting in April, guests can call for appointments, schedule events or visit the public tasting room to try five wines for just $5.

Maple River Winery

Location: 628 Front St., Casselton, N.D.

Distance from F-M: 25 miles (30 minutes)

Contact: (701) 347-5900

Serving wine-enthusiasts Monday through Saturday year-round, Maple River Winery is known for its unique Strawberry Rhubarb Wine. Tours are available on Saturdays or weekdays, Sundays and evenings by appointment.

Wild Grape Vineyard

Location: 5720 160th Ave., SE, Kindred, N.D.

Distance from F-M: 34 miles (35 minutes)

Contact: Jason and Curt Kesselring at (612) 741-5691

As the only wild grape vineyard in the country, Wild Grape Vineyard is dedicated to growing the North American River Grape variety (Vitias Riparia). Just a vineyard now, the owners hope to build a winery and make their own wine on site in the coming year.

Red Trail Vineyard

Location: 510 142nd Ave. SE, Buffalo, N.D.

Distance from F-M: 38 miles (40 minutes)

Contact: Susan and Rodney Hogen at (701) 633-5392

Located along Buffalo Creek, Red Trail Vineyard provides tours, wine tastings, full catering services and has hosted many unique events since it opened in 2003. In 2017, the vineyard hosted the “Friday Nite Supper Series” on the first Friday of the month May through September where guests could enjoy dinner for $8.95.

Long Shadow Vineyards

Location: 922 150th Ave. SE, Galesburg, N.D.

Distance from F-M: 49 miles (52 minutes)

Contact: Allison and Greg Krieger at (701) 430-0281

Having planted the main vineyard in 1998, the Kriegers have had 20-plus years to experiment growing 30 varieties of grapes – most of which was used as a screening process to see which varieties would survive the cold winters. This year, the grapes produced 30 gallons of wine which the couple is currently aging. Though just a small vineyard, Long Shadow Vineyards occasionally hosts groups and individuals who are looking to learn more about the process.