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.
In the open autumn air at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Twin Cities Oktoberfest celebrates all that is German during its two days of festivities. Throughout the weekend, live bands such as The Squires Band, a four-piece band with 30 years of experience, entertain guests with traditional German harmonies and live renditions of the ER theme song. Between shows, audience members peruse vendors' booths, noshing on brats and German snacks. Beer from Summit and wine from Pedroncelli flow into glasses, keeping guests lingering into the evening hours as they discuss the latest in lederhosen fashion.
Though Little Venetian opened in 2002, the family behind the operation has been treating locals to Italian flavors since 1928, when Mama and Papa Vitale opened a modest vegetable stand. Now, decades later, diners can enjoy their fresh produce whipped up into hearty meals, made in accordance with Vitale family recipes. Pastas and pizzas come coated in slow-cooked marinara or alfredo sauces, and plates of chicken parmigiano and Italian sausage warm forks and souls with homemade flavor.
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.