northern vineyard

Genevieve Gallagher feeds empty bottles to be filled with wine at Northern Vineyards Winery in downtown Stillwater. (Gazette staff photo by Alicia Lebens)

A cornerstone in downtown Stillwater will soon close up for good. Northern Vineyards Winery will shutter its doors Nov. 3.

“We wanted to give our customers some time to stop in one last time before closing,” said general manager Dennis Youngquist.

Northern Vineyards Winery is one of the oldest wineries in Minnesota, opening in 1977 to make wine for the members of the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative. Northern Vineyards crafts more than 15 wine varieties annually, using only locally grown, cold hardy grape varieties with a taste that is unique to Minnesota, according to Youngquist.

While the past few years have been good years and the business is healthy, the cooperative of growers that started the winery over 40 years ago is aging and wanted to sell the building and retire from the grape growing business.

“I tried to find several different options to keep the winery going, but the laws on making and selling alcohol are very complicated,” Youngquist said.

From now until Nov. 3, Northern Vineyards is selling its wine at $79 per 12-bottle case.

“That discounts our $15 to $20 bottles to about $6.50 per bottle,” Youngquist said. “We are also selling our wine barrels for $95, which is a great deal.”

This weekend, Northern Winery will continue is tradition of hosting a Chocolate and Cheese tasting, which includes locally made cheeses and chocolates with its wine tasting. The event takes place Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the winery’s tasting room, 223 Main St. N. in Stillwater.

“It’s been a sad time for us to tell our customers were are closing,” Youngquist said. “We have had people come in to buy wines to celebrate wedding anniversaries or other special events. It’s going to be a huge hole left in Main Street. ”

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