What do you do when the weather fails you and your plans have to change? Head over to Waconia of course for an afternoon of winery tours.
I love heading to Waconia for the day – even if I just have a quick afternoon. It’s the perfect distance from the Twin Cities and you can have a fun-filled day – even if you have 5 hours or less!
Since the leaves are in full color changing mode right now, the end of September to mid October are prime time to winery hop! You will be driving on winding back roads while taking in all of the colors.
This time around we visited Schram, Parley Lake, and Sovereign Estate. Each one is conveniently an 8 minute drive in between each other! Just make sure to bring along a designated driver. Read below on our day and my favorite things about each winery!
Our first stop was Schram Vineyards. I love this stop because they have equal options of beer and wine to choose from so everyone in your party can enjoy something! Open since 2013, their tasting room is large and inviting and has killer views of the vineyard and the lake below. I enjoyed their seasonal Honey apple Ale, while my friends tried their cream ale and their signature IPA. When the weather is nice, there are lawn games, bocce ball, and plenty of seating outside too.
Schram is a great option to keep on your radar as they are always hosting fun events. That night they were hosting their annual harvest bonfire complete with cigar rolling and food trucks. I’ve seen them host make and take succulents, goat yoga, live music, and more! They also offer wine tastings and even elevated tastings in their barrel room below too.
Parley Lake Winery
Our next stop was Parley Lake Winery. If you’re visiting in the fall you are in luck because this is a one-stop-shop for wine, apples, and pumpkins. Not to mention the drive there is beautiful! Parley Lake Winery and Deardorff Orchards share a space in the barn, conveniently combining the best of both worlds. This makes for a great family-friendly visit.
The winery itself boasts 7 acres of Minnesota grapes including the Frontenac, Marquette, La Crescent, and Frontenac Gris. I love how warm and cozy the winery section of the barn was, complete with barn lights and live music. After our wine flights, we toured around the property and took in the smells of the brick oven pizza stand that was there that day – so delicious! The barn shop had apples galore and everything apple-flavored thing you could think of to purchase. When you stepped outside there was a small pick your own pumpkin patch as well that was too cute! I think this was my favorite stop of the day – the barn had so much charm and the live music and great crowd topped it all off.
Lastly, we ended at Sovereign Estate, one of my ultimate favorites! The stroll up their drive is so pristine. Catch a view of their vineyards and apple trees until you’re met with a beautiful little barn and sign that has the perfect fall colored trees as a backdrop. I’ve been going to Sovereign Estate for a few years now and every year it gets better and better. There is always something going on during the weekends here too. This time they had pumpkins to pick, tractor rides around the vineyards, and all the brats and sausages you could eat! They are known for having live music often and it’s always a great time there.
We cozied up by the outdoor fire pits with our mulled wine. It was one of the tastiest mulled wines I’ve personally had! However, their La Crescent wine is a personal favorite of mine. I love wandering the property, wine in hand, checking out everything they have to offer during that season – because honestly it changes every season! My favorite time to visit is actually in the winter when they have a breathtaking light display set to holiday music. The property changes into a winter wonderland lined with festive lights, fire pits, ice rinks, sleighs, and all the cider, hot cocoa, and mulled wine you can drink!
The whole afternoon turned out to be so fun – whether you go with your partner, a few friends, or a group of people each winery has something for everyone! And you’ll be sure to make some friends along your winery hop too since they are all so close to each other!
Have you visited all of these wineries before? Stay tuned for more Waconia love too! 🙂