State Profile: North Dakota Wine Country

North Dakota was notably the last state since repeal of Prohibition to license a winery—in 2002!    Bordering Canada, it is also one of the many states which have benefited from the extremely cold hardy “Minnesota” grape varieties.

In the past two decades, the local wine industry has benefited from the state Department of Agriculture’s Grape, Wine and Fruit Program as well as the educational and promotional resources of the North Dakota Grape and Wine Association, established in 2006. Its first president, Rodney Hogen of Red Trail Vineyards, was recently elected to that position for a second time this year. Like other North Dakota wineries, that winery’s focus is on several Minnesota varieties along with other fruits.

Great Grapes: Frontenac 

Specifically recommended for the North-Central regions of the U.S. due to its extreme cold-hardiness (to -30F) and other viticultural assets, Frontenac grapes are typically harvested relatively late at Brix levels of 24-26 to reduce typically high acids. Frontenac is versatile both as a full-bodied red wine with cherry and plum aromas, as well as a popular blending wine.