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Chisago grapes are the newest grape variety in Minnesota

by Dec 16, 20162 comments

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Chisago is a red wine producing grape variety grown popularly in Minnesota. It is the newest grape variety of the region.


The production of the grape is limited yet, but even then dessert wines, ice wines and even red wines are made from it. To make ice wines, the buds of vines are kept intact until they freeze and are plucked in late November or December.

A number of other grape varieties drop the fruit if the temperature goes too low or if not dropped, the berries split.

Wine grape varieties

Chisago Grape variety has the potential to maintain its shape even in such cold temperature which is why it is used to make ice wine.

The grape is very new and so a number of experiments are being done the wine to make more out of its taste and aroma.

Dessert wines as well as iced wines, both are gaining popularity very hastily while the red wine, in spite of winning a number of awards for its taste could not make its way out.

Origin of Chisago

Peter Hemstad and Elmer Swenson are the most important contributors to the trend of grape breeding in Minnesota.

Peterson family started a grape breeding program 15 years ago in order to support their start-up winery.

They (Kyle and Kevin Peterson) received a patent for the Chisago grape variety on 16th September 2008. They are the owners of Win eHaven winery, which is the major producer of Chisago grape wines.

It has about 15 acres of land which cultivates Chisago grape on a large scale. They have been growing this grape variety since 1995. They named the red wine Deer Garden Red which also won a gold medal in 2006 Riverside International Wine Competition held in California.

A number of other awards have been awarded to this wine in the subsequent years. The Deer Garden Red is said to be non-existent now, although the Slippery Slope ice wine is still produced on a large scale.

Features of Chisago

Chisago grape wines are the ones which can make even a non-wine drinker want to drink wine. It has vanilla, plum and cherry characters and gives a cola-like finish.

Red wines, dessert wines and ice wines are made out of these grapes. It is said that the red grape wine is no more available but it makes among the best ice wines ever found.

Peterson family had a bee farm prior to the vineyard and so they make very good semi-sweet wines from Chisago grape. To make these ice wines, the buds of the grape are never harvested before November or December when they freeze absolutely.

Most of the other grape varieties damage their buds before even reaching to this season, but Chisago grape has a very strong resistivity to winter and is therefore the best ice wine making grape found.

Round berries are usually not found in a number of grapes, which is among other specialities of the Chisago grape.

The Chisago grape has a very unique taste and so you must at least make an attempt to bring the bottle home and taste it for yourself.

Food Pairing

The wines made from this grape variety grape have a high acidity making it easy to be paired with almost all food items. You can enjoy the flavour of the wine with roasted cheese with thyme-infused stuffing.

It can also be enjoyed with sheep’s milk cheese and potato chips. Salted dishes and sushi are among the dishes which can be enjoyed with Chisago grape wine. Roasted vegetables with haloumi cheese are often taken with this wine.

Spaghetti can be taken with this wine. It is also possible to consume the wine without taking any other food item. The alcohol content is also not so high that you will need to neutralise it.

You can order Chisago grape wines from all over the world. The wine is renowned and you will find no trouble in its availability as the production of grape is on a huge scale and the wine makers are eager to use the grapes to make amazingly aromatic and delightful to taste wines!

If you are looking for ice wines, then there can be no other place you should look for. Chisago grape will serve you with the best ever ice wine!

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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  1. Gary L Magruder

    Exciting! Someday ,wine drinkers will get over their follow -the- crowd perspective and become more adventurous discovering the joy of tasting wine from newly created grapes . When it happens ,the results will be transformative for the wondrous pleasure of drinking a new discovery of excellence. Minnesota appears to be the leading explorer in the adventure. Wisconsin is catching on . Michigan is still devoted to its micro-climate along its famous peninsula. Iowa is shamiming Illinois . And ,of course , their are others in unexpected states ( Vermont) etc. that should speak up and do some bragging about their wines from cold hardy grapes . I may be 76 and only have an acre on which to “play” for the last 34 years , but what thrills Marquette and Petite Pearl has brought to my ever changing wine making . This fall, Itasca will have my first chrush . It was super to read about your Chigago and Nokomuis grapes . You deserve more press . Keep up your journey .

    • Michael Bredahl

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks, I’m glad to hear that 🙂



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