Paula’s Passion: Morgan Creek Vineyards

By Randy Gutzmann

For many Minnesotans, the town of New Ulm is known for a long history of locally produced beer and the Schell/Marti family. But what most people may not know is that the Marti family is also in the business of producing great Minnesota wine.

Paula and Georg Marti established Morgan Creek Vineyards in 1993 and opened Minnesota’s only underground winery in 1998. That’s right, I mean “underground” in the literal sense. The on-site underground earth shelter at this vineyard provides perfect cellar temperature for wine production and aging.

Paula explains that, in a trip looking for firewood, they found and bought the 10-acre farm site along Morgan Creek. She and Georg have always been interested in agriculture and gardening, so what initially was going to just be a grape-growing venture turned into creating a full-blown winery.

Morgan Creek Vineyards

Courtesy of Morgan Creek Vineyards

Paula has a true passion for what they are doing, which is such a joy to see firsthand. A winemaker’s passion for his or her craft is the reason why I love making winery visits!

My conversation with Paula lasted several hours, sitting at a table in the tasting room overlooking their beautiful grounds with their historic red barn, which is used as an event center, on the edge of the property. Paula says the preservation of the wooden barn is a great opportunity to honor the history of the area, since it is part of the uniqueness of Morgan Creek. Georg, equally as passionate as his wife, says the barn creates a connection to the past.

“Paula and I both appreciate the beauty that you see that comes out from that history, and you have an innate desire to hang onto some of that,” he says.

While specializing in growing and producing German, French and American style wines using its Minnesota cold-hardy varietals, Morgan Creek Vineyards also offers a cycle of seasonal events celebrating the joy of living and the art of fine winemaking.

The Marti Family

Adam, Paula and Georg Marti of Morgan Creek Vineyards.

Paula and Georg are striving to make Morgan Creek a family business with involvement from their two sons. One of their sons, Adam, is the full-time winemaker, and their other son Ben, a full-time musician, is a featured artist at the winery and leads the effort in harvesting their grapes.

They state their mission is to make Morgan Creek Vineyards a regional leader in the Minnesota farm winery scene, producing distinctive national award-winning fine wines using environmentally and socially sustainable agricultural business practices. Morgan Creek Vineyards is an “agri-tourist culinary destination” that promotes itself and Minnesota wine through education and events, and continues to grow mutually beneficial relationships based on regionally produced foods and wine.

Paula is also very proud of their Grapes and Grain-New Ulm project, which is a culinary adventure to discover the local styles of wine and food produced by Morgan Creek and August Schell Brewing Company. As their special menu states: “Through improvisation and contrasting flavors we create a colorful menu […] exploring old world and emerging new flavors associated with the histories of grapes and grains.”

They say they find inspiration in the New Ulm area where growers, winemakers, brewers, chefs and artists offer a local experience with the flavors, aromas, colors and rhythm of each new season.

Morgan Creek centers around all of the principles I love about Minnesota’s wine. Paula and Georg’s passion is why it is so much fun to make a visit to see firsthand what is going on at Minnesota wineries.

Put a trip down the scenic river route on your calendar to visit the Martis at Morgan Creek Vineyards, and hurry, because grape harvest will be starting soon! Or, if you absolutely can’t make it out this fall, check out this great video about Morgan Creek Vineyards here.

Morgan Creek Vineyards is located in New Ulm, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.morgancreekvineyards.com or find them on Facebook by searching “Morgan Creek Vineyards.”

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