Tippling into fall
In November, taste the fruits of the harvest on wine trails.
© Torsten Muller
As fall winds down on forest trails, the season is just gearing up on wine trails, where groups of wineries invite folks to take a little drive, sample the wares and maybe take home a few bottles.
Since wineries tend to be in very scenic areas, that’s not such a bad idea. And in November, many offer special events to put buyers in the holiday spirit.
Here are wine trails in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan that have planned events in the fall of 2012.
Mississippi River Valley
Great River Road Wine Trail: Most of the members of this Mississippi River Valley group are between Red Wing and Winona, but they stretch from Prescott at the mouth of the St. Croix to Marquette in northeast Iowa.
For the Holiday Harvest Wine & Food Festival Nov. 10-11, a $25 ticket ($30 after Nov. 2) buys a wine glass, bottle tote and wine and food tastings at all 10 wineries.Iowa Wine Trail: Nine wineries are part of this group in the Mississippi River Valley between Decorah and Clinton.
They're hosting Around the World With Iowa Wines Nov. 3-4 with food and sampling at all nine wineries. Tickets are $30, $40 after Nov. 2. Buy three by Oct. 22 and get one free.
Three Rivers Wine Trail: These five Minnesota
wineries are within an hour of the Twin Cities, in Stillwater, Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Chisago City, in the Cannon, St.
Croix and Mississippi river valleys.
They're holding Cheese and Chocolate Weekend Nov. 17-18, with free sampling and a glass of free wine for those who visit all five wineries.
Northern Illinois Wine Trail. This trail includes 15 wineries between the Chicago suburbs, the Starved Rock area and Galena.
In Galena, Nouveau Wine Weekend is Nov. 16-17 and includes a Friday parade, tastings, music and vineyard tours.
Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail: There are 18 wineries along
the spine of this peninsula north of Traverse City, Mich., wrapped by the warm waters of Lake Michigan.
During Toast the Season Nov. 3-4 and 10-11, a $50 ticket ($75
for couples) buys wine, food, glass, ornament and gift bag with local chocolate, coffee, salsa and tea. It sells out, so buy
Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail: Seven
wineries line this sliver that stretches into Grand Traverse Bay north of Traverse City, Mich.
It's pairing its wines with comfort food for the Great Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off and Gourmet Comfort Food Competition Nov. 24, $40.Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail: Ten wineries occupy the hills between Ann Arbor, Lansing and Battle Creek.
Its Big Grape Tour by motorcoach, Nov. 3-4, sells out early every year.
IowaWestern Iowa Wine Trail: Six wineries are in the Loess Hills around Council Bluffs and one to the northeast in Elk Horn.
Their Holiday Entertaining Event is Nov. 3-4, with wines paired with holiday appetizers at each winery. Tickets are $25, $35 for couples.
Wisconsin River Valley: This isn't an official trail, but it's easy to go from one vineyard to another in the Wisconsin River Valley, from Spurgeon and Weggy near Muscoda to Botham near Barneveld and Wollersheim in Prairie du Sac.
Wollersheim Winery holds its free Ruby Noveau Tasting Nov. 17. A Vintage Christmas is Nov. 24, with festive foods and carolers.
More wine trails
Many other wineries welcome visitors in fall as well as year-round.
For more, see Following a wine
Last updated on October 9, 2012
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