The Winery

About Us

Northern Vineyards Winery is located in Stillwater, the birthplace of Minnesota. From our location in the quaint historic downtown district, you can enjoy one of our delightful, award winning wines as you take in the panoramic view of the scenic St. Croix River and the historic Lift Bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Our wines can be sampled and purchased at our winery. Northern Vineyards’ wines can also be found at many local retailers. If you are not near St. Croix wine country, our fine wines can also be purchased online.

Patio Deck

The Winery

Northern Vineyards is a fully working winery. All of our wines are made on-site exclusively from grapes grown in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They are crafted by Robin Partch, our winemaker since 1989. Visit us to enjoy a wine tasting, explore our winery and gift shop, and then relax on our gorgeous deck that overlooks the St. Croix River and Stillwater Lift Bridge. Oh, and don’t forget to take home a few bottles of your favorite wines!

Wine Tasting

At the winery, we offer walk-in wine tasting every day of the week during business hours. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will lead you through your tasting and describe each wine and the history of our winery. Limited edition 40th anniversary tasting glasses are available for purchase.

For groups of 6 or more, we ask for at least 24 hours advanced notice. 18% gratuity is added for groups of 6 or more. We request 1 payment per group.

If you want to come with a group 10 people or larger, please consider scheduling a private party in our winery, barrel room, or on our deck. Find more information on our Private Events page or call us at (651)430-1032.

Our History

Northern Vineyards Winery has been making wines since 1977, one of the oldest Minnesota wineries in operation. In 1983 the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative acquired Northern Vineyards as a means of making and selling wines from the grapes produced by our grower members. We are one of the first wine cooperatives in the United States. Our members’ vineyards are located throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Robin Partch, our winemaker, came on board in 1989 and has been producing award-winning wines ever since.

We hope you will take a few minutes to explore our site and learn more about Northern Vineyards, our wines, and our local area…and then come visit us!

Wine Barrels

Our Growers

Northern Vineyards Winery is owned by the member-growers of the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative. We were the first modern wine cooperative in the United States. Each member of the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative maintains a vineyard between 1-15 acres. The wine coop members produce grapes that are brought to the winery in the fall to be transformed into wonderful wines.

Each vineyard has its own unique characteristics for growing grapes, depending on soil and sun exposure. Our Wisconsin and Minnesota grape growers are located as far north as Mora, Minnesota and as far south as Viroqua, Wisconsin. The wine coop members must provide meticulous care to their vineyards for them to withstand the rigors of Minnesota’s continental climate. Our Wisconsin and Minnesota grape growers specialize in cultivating grape varieties developed for our unique northern climate.

Wine Making Process

The winemaking process begins in late August or early September at our winery. The grapes are harvested and transported to the winery. Depending on the growing season and grape variety, the crush can sometimes last through late October. The complete process from vine to table is accomplished in our local area. The winemaking process is done on location at Northern Vineyards Winery.

We produce approximately 15 different wine varieties annually. The wines we produce may vary year to year depending on our growing season. Although a wine may not have the same grapes each year, it does maintain similar characteristics.

Our wines are available for purchase at the Northern Vineyards Winery, at local retailers and online.

Wine Maker

Robin Partch has been making wine at Northern Vineyards since 1989. He is one of the original members of the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative. Robin is an integral part of the Minnesota wine industry. Robin is also a founding member of both the Minnesota Grape Growers Association and the Minnesota Farm Winery Association. He has won more than 100 international awards for his good wines and is a recognized leader in the industry.

Robin Partch was a sixth-grade teacher in Redwood Falls when he got his passion for making wine from spending time in the Burgundy region of France. “[It] got me used to the idea of wine as part of daily life,” he says, “but as a teacher, I couldn’t afford to buy it, so I had to make it!”

He made a rose from wild grapes in 1977 that won a Blue Ribbon at the state fair and never looked back.

Robin’s passion and drive for making wine is apparent in the complexity of his good wines. “I’m interested in complexity. I would rather take a sip of wine and react to the citrus-like character of it when it first hits my mouth, and then the change to apricot or pear once it’s warmed up in my mouth and I start getting the fumes in my nose. Then, after I swallow it, there’s a third or fourth flavor. That’s complexity—I really admire that.”

Our Grapes

Northern Vineyards Winery uses wine grapes varieties that were bred to withstand our cold Midwest winters. Our main production is from locally developed grapevine varieties. The late Elmer Swenson of Osceola, WI is responsible for developing many cold-hardy varieties. They include La Crosse, Edelweiss, Louise, Prairie Star, Sabrevois, Laura’s Laughter and St. Croix.

The University of Minnesota grape breeding program has developed varietals to grow in Minnesota’s climate. The University of Minnesota varietals that we use are Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent, and Marquette. All of these grapevines are cold-hardy, disease resistant, ripen early, and provide wonderful flavors that come through in the wines.