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Wine enthusiasts, vineyard owners gather in Rochester for “Cold Climate” conference

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Winemakers, vineyard owners, students and wine enthusiasts from all over the area are gathering in Rochester at the Mayo Civic Center for the 2020 Minnesota Grape Growers Association Cold Climate Conference.

The conference kicked off Thursday morning with an exclusive tasting of area wines. Friday and Saturday will feature a variety of workshops that include how to protect your product and promote business.

Innovations in grape growing will also be discussed.

"The differences between Minnesota and California Napa is our weather. California would have a longer growing season for their fruit and so with Minnesota it has to be developed that they ripen sooner," said Minnesota Grape Growers President Jenny Ellenbecker. "It's kind of fun. We get some fun characteristics and embrace that and we might have a higher acidity but if you look at the parallel line, we are the same as they are in France."

Saturday's Spring Wine Fest is open to the public starting at 5:30 p.m. There will be wine tasting and a charity silent auction.

The auction proceeds will go to help students pursuing a career in the wine industry. Tickets are $30 at the door and $25 in advance. More information can be found on the website.

Megan Zemple

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