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Minnesota's New Ve

Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery, and Distillery

Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery, & Distillery is proud to announce its new Itasca wine which uses game-changing grapes developed by the University of Minnesota. This new wine has its first dibs with the Wine Circle at Chankaska, after the Wine Circle members get it there will be very few bottles left because only 97 cases were made! So, sign up today for the Wine Circle at chankaskawines.com/wine-circle for this exclusive wine.

“We’re really excited about it. We ferment it in our smaller oak 60-gallon wine barrels and leave it alone for 10 months,” our winemaker John Taylor said. The wine itself reminds us of a ripe honeydew melon scent with honey. On the palate the wine is like a prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe with honeysuckle, and with an oaky butterscotch character. The finish is like a creamy crème brûlée you’ve never experienced before!

A wine like Itasca is going to make a new stance for cold-climate grapes, the Itasca will hopefully bring Minnesota to a new level in the world of wine. Like our winemaker John Taylor
said, “As we build more history, Itasca is going to help put cold-climate grapes on the world stage.”

According to the U of M, ripe Itasca grapes come in at 8.54 grams per liter of total acidity, while other Minnesota wines like Frontenac averages 13.8 and La Crescent 12.6. Some varieties with higher acidities require modifications after being harvested and crushed. This makes the acid a lot lower, so we don’t have to make it sweeter.

The cold weather in Minnesota can devastate other types of Grapes, but this one just wants to keep growing even in the harshest of climates. Cold weather has a large impact on acidity in grapes, but a feature of the Itasca is that it has disease resistance as well as mildew resistance, many grapes are often discarded due to these issues.

Chankaska Creek winemaker John Taylor also has been impressed. “It’s very vigorous,” he said of the Itasca, “and thrives in poorer soils; we’re growing it next to a ditch. It ripens early, ripens very similarly to vinifera.”

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