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Minnesota wines benefit from summer heat

You may not think about our northern state when grabbing a bottle of red or white for your table, but grapes have been grown here for vino since the 1800's.

DELLWOOD, Minn. — Minnesota summers: You either love them or hate them.

It's hot, there are too many bugs buzzing around and the humidity can jump off the charts on any given day in our, albeit brief, summertime.

But you know who absolutely loves summer in Minnesota? The wineries. Guy Brown took a trip to 7 Vines Vineyard in Dellwood to learn more about the ways grapes can be affected by the weather.

People might not always think of the Land of 10,000 Lakes when choosing a bottle to pair with a meal, but grapes have been grown here for wine since the 1800's.

After a busy spring with plenty of surprising weather, like downpours, severe hail, and even some late-season frost, Matthew Scott, general manager of winemaking and the wholesale at 7 Vines said this year's crop is still standing strong.

"Last year was our previous largest harvest by quite a bit, and it's nice to see that happen two years in a row, even with the drought conditions from last year," Scott said.

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Not only are current drought conditions helping the grapevines, they don't need very much water, but heat is also playing a key factor in pushing toward a bountiful harvest.

"This little bit of extra heat has really helped pushed them forward, and we're sitting at a spot where we will probably be picking again in late August," said Scott.

Grapes are usually harvested in September, and picking in late August is a much earlier harvest than a "normal" year.

"I've been doing this 19 years, and last year was the first time I picked in August," Scott said.

The grapes harvested this year could even be picking up some West Coast vibes after a hot summer, especially the whites, which will have a lower acidity.

So raise your glass to Minnesota's growing vineyards, and also to the hot weather before our better-known Midwestern snowflakes start to fly again.

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