Northern Vineyards is a shared winery owned by the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative, a group of winemakers who own 1- to 15-acre vineyards across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Members grow Frontenac, Prairie Star, and other grape varieties that perform well in the region; since the region has a cold climate and short growing season, grapes grown here must tolerate lower temperatures, ripen early, and be able to knit their own woolen mittens. In the fall, growers lug their mature grapes to the main winery in Stillwater, where award-winning winemaker Robin Partch transforms them into 30 kinds of wine.
The winery?s barrel room hosts wine tastings seven days a week at a glossy, wooden tasting bar. There?s also an outdoor deck that overlooks a historic lift bridge along the St. Croix River. In nice weather, visitors can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with a glass of wine on the deck.
A staff of sommeliers, beer experts, and cheesemongers helps customers to navigate Sunfish Cellars Wine Bar's impressive spread of wine, beer, and gourmet cheeses from throughout the globe. Cordoned off by region, the staggering wine selection includes classic vinos and rare varietals that instructors highlight during regular tasting classes. Cheeses plucked from an onsite shop pair with fine wines during tastings, as sommeliers draw on their extensive expertise to discuss restaurant wine lists, evaluate cost versus value, and explain why wine doesn’t come in an electric-blue variety. Beer-tasting classes are also available, as are congratulatory gift baskets and a personal wine-shopper service, which sources wine selections for fancy dinners and business meetings.
The menu at Café Cravings, sister restaurant to Cravings Wine Bar & Grille, is in essence an encyclopedia of classic American cuisine. There are the sandwiches, which run the gamut from crisp BLTs and triple-decker clubs to the sizzling, strawberry-kissed Monte Cristo. There are the soups, which fill sourdough bread bowls, and the rotating selection of quiches. But most impressive has to be the breakfast. The 25-strong selection is served all day, ensuring that even those who wake up late or have their watch on backward get a bite of fluffy, ham-stuffed Denver omelets and apple-walnut pancakes topped with maple butter.
The eight-page dessert menu is no slouch either. Those who call ahead get their pick of whole cakes, tarts, cobblers, pies, cheesecakes, and other sugar-laden delicacies, which they can pick up inside or at the convenient drive-through window.
Corralling groups for a night on the town can be difficult, as partygoers must wait for everyone to finish their drinks and grab their stuff before moving on. The team at Amsterdam Pedals helps smooth out such roadblocks with their 16-person pedal bar?a group bicycle outfitted with comfortable, inward-facing seats, a table, a cooler for BYOB drinks, and a driver to steer the whole rig. The trips cruise around the easy slopes of three signature routes, which can hit a variety of hot spots downtown, pubs and restaurants on 7th Street, or parks, where passengers can uproot and steal valuable trees. Guests can adjust their seats to suit their leg span, accommodating heights of 5 feet and taller, with three bench seats available for shorter clients. Tours can meander about St. Paul until 2 a.m., when the pedal bar must be returned to Amsterdam Bar & Hall.
Although it’s known for comedies such as the two-man, 24-character A Tuna Christmas, Actors Theater of Minnesota also places a significant emphasis on education and corporate training. At The Creative Institute, the ensemble trains students how to work theatrical media such as improv and writing into their everyday problem-solving skills.
Extracting odors and stains from clothing for 62 years, Martinizing Dry Cleaners serves 19 locations around the Twin Cities. Free men's dress shirts of stains, creases, and nametag residue ($2.89), or slide legs comfortably into the spotless surfaces of men's and women's slacks ($7.19). Blouses ($7.19) can frolic in the fresh air and warm sunshine of summer after spending quality time with sanitary solvents, and men's and women's suits ($12.59) can seek out water-free cleansing after food fights with hostile raiding parties from HR. Cleaning tips give customers insight into the mysterious and mostly nonmagical world of stain abolition.