In the five years Cannon River Winery has been producing wines in Cannon Falls, their vineyard has grown to become the largest in Minnesota, many of their wines have won national acclaim and local growers have started raising grapes used to create the unique Cannon River brands.
John and Maureen Maloney planted their first vines in 2002 at their vineyard located in the picturesque Sogn Valley, south of Cannon Falls. Since then, the vineyard has grown from 12 to 20 acres. Wine varieties have expanded from the original three - Cannon River Red, Mill Street Red and Sogn Blush - to 20 different red, whites, blushes and a port.
Cannon River Winery has become a popular spot for friends to gather. The building once housed an automobile dealership, but was transformed into a warm, welcoming space with a comfortable wine tasting bar and retail space. The wine-making area is accessible to visitors and winemaker Vincent Negret teaches wine appreciation classes and enjoys answering questions about his craft.
Cannon River Winery is part of the Three Rivers Wine Trail which is made up of wineries located along the St. Croix, Mississippi and Cannon Rivers. There are several events each year that involve all five of the wineries along these waterways. Each winery offers samples of their wines, entertainment and special events. "Wine Trail weekends have brought an estimated 1,000 visitors to the winery and Cannon Falls," said Maureen Maloney. "Our Cheese and Chocolate event is a very popular one."
A twice-yearly event that is a "must" on the to-do lists of area women is "Girls Day Away." The holiday version will be happening on Saturday, Dec. 12. The winery is filled with local vendors who create unique gift items with merchandise ranging from pottery to soap to one-of-a-kind fashions. "We seek out small producers who make the specialty items they sell, themselves. This is a fun-filled day to get the girlfriends together, shop in a welcoming setting, drink some great wine and have a good time!"
Cannon River Winery makes up beautiful gift baskets with discounts available for corporate gift packages. The winery offers on-line ordering at their website: www.cannonriverwinery.com. "Create your own special Cannon Falls gift baskets containing locally produced wines; add some tasty local sausage and cheese, locally roasted coffee beans and delicious baked goods. Give a special 'taste of Cannon Falls' basket this holiday season," Maureen suggests.
The Winery and Vineyard are available for special events. The main room at the winery provides a comfortable setting for larger gatherings. The Reserve Room is perfect for smaller groups such as bridesmaids luncheons and baby showers. The Winery works with several local caterers.
Dreaming of a vineyard wedding? The Vineyard offers a beautiful and exclusive venue for an outdoor wedding. With an avaialble pavilion and seating for 125, the view of the Sogn Valley provides all the decorating and ambiance needed.
Cannon River Winery is located on Mill Street in downtown Cannon Falls. A calendar of events is available on the website: www.cannonriverwinery.com