Paul Werni had a lot of time on his hands. After relinquishing the successful landscaping business he helmed for 10 years, his mind wandered to thoughts of what he might do next. A love of well-crafted spirits eventually turned his attentions to books on distillation, which in turn brought him to workshops across the country and tours of distilleries in Austria and Germany. With a few in-depth lessons with experts from a Christian Carl distillery, Werni finally learned enough to create refined, flawless libations, and his own distillery was born. Lauded by critics and connoisseurs alike, 45th Parallel Distillery distills quality vodka pours from local ingredients and zero additives, overseeing the entire process from grain to glass within its facility. In addition to 45th Parallel Vodka—a name derived from the line of latitude on which France's Bordeaux region, Italy’s Piedmont region, and Vermont's Appletini region lie—the distillery also fills bottles with whiskey, limoncello, and Midwest vodka and gin, a budget-friendly alternative to top-shelf spirits that pairs well with mixers or stands alone for delicious home imbibing.
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.
Taste of Stillwater's annual festival, established in 2011, directs the spotlight toward the palate-popular offerings of local wineries, breweries, restaurants, and food trucks. Throughout the daylong celebration, empty tummies shuffle from station to station filling up on samples of refreshing beverages and foods, fueling bodies to explore the festival grounds' shopping opportunities and to tour Saint Croix Vineyards. Families stake their claim on the lawn area with blankets, foldable chairs, and giant bronze statues of their great-grandfathers before they feast their ears on live music. Taste of Stillwater dedicates a portion of its proceeds to charities including Valley Outreach, a community-based nonprofit organization that supports low-income people with donations of food, clothing, and other necessities.
Your Boat Rentals helps people enjoy the benefits of boat ownership without hassles such as towing, cleaning, and repairs. The club maintains a fleet of boats, including leisurely Luxury Bennington pontoons that can hold up to 11 people. Renters need only make online reservations for one of these vessels, arrive at their dock of choice, and speed away with a fully fueled and clean boat. Six different lakes set the stage for these aquatic excursions, giving families many boating options. On any given day, Your Boat Rentals' vessels carry passengers across a number of lakes including White Bear Lake, Forest Lake, Waconia, Prior Lake, and Lake Minnetonka.
Voted "Best Yoga Studio" for two years in a row from the Stillwater Gazette, Pure Yoga’s dedicated and enthusiastic professional instructors guide benders through rejuvenating and inspiring classes honed for any level of experience in a studio with natural light and a state-of-the-art sound system. Power yoga incorporates breathing techniques to help build strength and flexibility with powerful, flowing movements that hone concentration while draining stress. Through Barre Yoga, namaste novices strengthen and sculpt bodies using the ballet barre. Pure Yoga also offers some heated classes as well as Pre-Natal Yoga and Yoga For Dudes. The studio also sells yoga-related paraphernalia to encourage backbends in the future instead of bends in the space-time continuum to get to the future.
The youngest of nine children, Luna Rossa’s owner and chef, Raffaele Virgillo, grew up at his mother’s side, studying her every move as she cooked in the kitchen of their small cottage in southern Italy. Emigrating to the United States in the 1970s, Virgillo put the culinary skills and magical Italian incantations he learned from his mother to use here in the States. He settled in the Twin Cities, where he cooked his way through four restaurants before opening the original Buona Sera, and eventually, Luna Rossa. There, he works alongside his daughter, Anna, son-in-law, Jesse, and grandson, Vinny, serving a menu of Italian-inspired cuisine within a rustic eatery near Stillwater’s historic limestone caves.