At Wild Mountain Winery, everything is local, right down to the grapes and the process in which they're grown. Surrounded by the green hillsides of the St. Croix River Valley, Wild Mountain Winery utilizes the methods of Elmer Swenson?a pioneering breeder who revolutionized grape growing in regions plagued by cold, short seasons, and undomesticated snowplows. Having been perfected over the years, those time-tested processes now result in hardy varietals that represent the local climate, soils, and vines. Travelers along the Upper St. Croix Wine Trail can explore Wild Mountain Winery's territorial flavors in a number of ways, including during weekend tastings that come with a souvenir glass.
Nestled in a hunting lodge, Back Roads Bar & Grill specializes in the same thing hunters do: meat. Their juicy sirloin steaks come smothered in mushroom and onions or ensconced in a steak sandwich. Burgers boast similarly hearty toppings such as fried onions and bacon or swiss and fiery jalapeños. Quarter and half southern-style fried chickens brim with down-home flavor. Popcorn shrimp, assorted wraps, and salads round out the kitchen’s offerings, which patrons can pair with pours from the full bar or simply the crackle of the fireplace’s roaring flames.
Inspired by their love of Germany's Rhine Valley, the Shimek family shares the joy of their days abroad with their European-style vineyard without having to hurl their fellow countrymen across the Atlantic. Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard, a 55-acre plot, is complete with stables, a fishing pond, and an art gallery. The heart of the vineyard, though, is its 2.5 acres of grapes, nearly five tons of which are grown in six varieties for use in their award-winning wines. Visitors can sample Chateau St. Croix's sundry varietals and blends after a half-hour tour, pairing each sip with chocolates, cheeses, and crackers.