Aspelund Winery: An intimate tasting room offering great wines

By Randy Gutzmann

At Aspelund Winery, Bruce and Dawn Rohl have built a blooming side business on their 10-acre property. Besides growing and selling peony plants, they have invested in planting 450 elderberry bushes, 150 apple trees and 80 grape vines. And I can tell you first-hand they are wonderful hosts, who love what they are doing with their winery and wines, and enjoy entertaining tasting room guests.

Dawn and Bruce Rohl of Aspelund Winery

Dawn and Bruce Rohl, the owners of Aspelund Winery

When you set out to visit a Minnesota farm winery in the summertime, you are likely going to get a chance to see how “green” Minnesota is this time of the year: you’ll pass lush fields of corn and soybeans, and watch livestock roam on verdant pastures. And one of the reasons why visiting Minnesota’s countryside is such a fun adventure is because in the midst of this environment, there’s a wonderful assortment of unique Minnesota farm wineries.

Aspelund Winery is only an hour’s drive south of the Twin Cities metro area on State Highway 52, a few miles down a county road and, as Bruce puts it, in all likelihood a visit to a Minnesota winery is going to give you a chance to travel on a gravel road for a few miles.

You can see a wonderful variety of flowers and crops growing as you turn onto the driveway, including peonies, apple trees and much more to be explored. The tasting room is attached to the Rohls’ home, and is purposely designed for smaller groups to create an intimate environment for tasting room guests.

Aspelund Winery - High Country Spice

Aspelund Winery’s newest wine, High Country Spice, is made with sun ripened heirloom tomatoes.

The first wine Bruce poured for me (as he challenged me to identify its origins) had a little sweetness, with characteristics I’d never tasted before. Although at the time they were waiting for final approval from the state, that approval has now come through, and the Rohls are introducing High Country Spice. Dawn explains, “It is made from organically grown heirloom tomatoes allowed to sun ripen on the vine, from which we save seeds from year to year. The wine is spiced with other vegetables and spices to give it a Bloody Mary flavor.”

I tried Mingo Red, which is their only Minnesota grape wine, a unique blend of seven varieties of cold climate grapes, which is a nice mix of all the characteristics the varieties have to offer.

I also tried Elderberry which, as published and I can attest, has a taste all its own. I always like to think about how wine would pair with food, so it was great to hear that Elderberry pairs well with beef, venison and salmon, or great as a dessert wine with dark chocolate.

I heartily enjoyed my visit to Aspelund Winery, and the Rohls were wonderful hosts, so I know you will, too. The winery is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit www.aspelundwinery.com or find them on Facebook by searching “Aspelund Winery.”

 

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