It really is summer: The Waconia wineries are opening this weekend! Well, Sovereign Estate has been open throughout the winter, but they're kicking off the summer in the vineyard with lots of live music this weekend. Parley Lake Winery and Schram Vineyards officially open for the season on Saturday (May 31).
Schram Vineyards is poised to become Minnesota's first winery and brewery this season, when it opens the brewery side of its business (hopefully by mid-June, if all of the licensing goes through). The brewery has been in the works for a while, says winery co-owner Ashley Schram. It all got started when they were looking at their equipment, and realized it would lend itself well to a brewery. Schram and her husband, Aaron, started exploring what it would take to brew and sell beer at the vineyard, and realized that no other winery in the state had taken on a similar endeavor, even though the two businesses seem like a natural fit. About a year and a half and a lot of red tape later, the couple is almost ready to sell their first pint. They plan to brew beer in small batches, experimenting with different brews and offering a rotating menu of four to eight beers.
The Schrams are super busy, because in addition to launching a brewery, they're also adding a new building with a new tasting room to the site, which they hope to open in September. So make plans to sip some wine on the tasting pavillion this weekend, and then come back later this summer (perhaps, around Father's Day?) to sample some beer.
Think Waconia is at capacity when it comes to adult beverages with two wineries and a winery/brewery? Think again: Waconia Brewing Company is counting the seconds to its launch this summer, and J. Carver Distillery promises to open sometime this year.