Carlos Creek Winery hosts annual grape stomp this weekend
At Carlos Creek, you'll find more than wine. Also music, food, chainsaw carving, belly dancing, and lots of Lucille Balls.
Carlos Creek Winery
These last few temperate weeks feature no shortage of weekend events around the Twin Cities, but if you're feeling, say, more Enlightenment than Renaissance, consider instead a visit to the Carlos Creek Winery this weekend for a Grape Stomp and Fall Festival. Live music, chainsaw carving, comedy, juggling, glass blowing, belly dancing, beer tasting, and an old-fashioned grape stomping and costume contest delight the 15,000 fans who make the annual September trek to the Alexandria, Minnesota, winery.
Dozens of craft and food vendors will also be supplying such State Fair-esque delicacies as walleye bites, fried pickles, kettle corn, Caribbean pork sandwiches and tons more. There will be plenty of opportunities to taste and purchase Carlos Creek's award-winning wines, but beer enthusiasts will be relieved to note that Schell's beer can be sampled in the "Man Cave" from noon to 3 on Sunday, while watching -- what else -- the Vikings game.
Two-person grape stomping teams can register online to compete for the grand prize--a case of Carlos Creek wine. Campier still, pre-register and visit the festival on Saturday, September 15, dressed as Lucille Ball from the famous "I Love Lucy" grape stomping episode for the opportunity to win a $50 Carlos Creek gift card. An episode "reenactment" by the AAAA Theater follows the costume contest.
All frivolities aside, the festival provides an excellent opportunity for foodies to become more familiar with the hardy Minnesotan wine grapes: Frontenac, Sabrevois, Valiant, King of the North, Brianna, Marquette, Petite Pearl, and Prairie Star. No, Alexandria is not exactly the new Sonoma. But the Carlos Creek winery did win an impressive 16 medals at the recent Mid-American Wine Competition, including a gold medal and a Sweepstakes Nomination for Frontenac, three gold medals for Marquette, and a gold medal for Hot Dish Red. Not bad for the fourth coast.
If you plan to go a little overboard on the wine and beer, shuttle service to Alexandria hotels and downtown Alexandria is available for $2. Festival admission is $3 on Friday and Saturday, with free admission on Sunday.
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