Reader Jonathan Millner responds to Why Minnesota wine is so middling, and the lawsuit that aims to make it better:
Just... wow. Like... really wow.
Ok, I'm going to try to educate for a bit here. Minnesot has the second largest grape breeding program in North America. Yes, larger than any out of California, Oregon, Washington, etc.
In fact, the Pacific Northwest region referred to in the article is planting Minnesota varieties. Yes, you can buy Minnesota grape varieties in Washington and ship them back to Minnesota if you wish.
Ready for your mind to be blown a bit further? Every single state -- from Washington to New York and up into Maine -- is putting in some very real amounts of Minnesota-bred grapes.
Why? Because, contrary to what the article says, there are many in this industry who genuinely believe the quality of our grapes to be just as good or in some cases even better than many traditional varieties.
Growers in every one of these states really see the potential waiting to be exploited. So, not only do we in Minnesota believe in our grapes, but growers in Oregon, Washington, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania do too, just to name a few states with larger impact.
The program here in Minnesota is so good that we actually have created almost a monopoly on high-quality, truly cold hardy grape varieties. When a Minnesotan goes to Quebec or Michigan or New York and talks grapes with someone there, they all know about our program simply because it really is the best one in the country for super cold hardy grapes, and they're all planting Minnesota varieties.
The fact that this author likely knew nothing of this and took such a one-sided stand on the article with no counter argument from the other side, with what appears to be very little article research, well... if the author would like to learn much more about our industry, I would be very open to chit chatting in depth.
There are some of us in the industry, myself included, who do import grapes from other states because we might have a hard time getting enough from within Minnesota. But when given the choice of working with Riesling or La Crescent, some of us choose Minnesota-bred grapes anyways, simply for quality reasons.
We really do have some great grapes here and I would like to invite the author to try a few more of them out. The issue isn't that our grapes are crap. The issue is that we have more and more customers learning about and drinking so much Minnesota wine that we have a hard time growing enough grapes.
Yet this article paints a picture as though the reason for needing to bring stuff in is simply because our quality is horrid. Just... wow.