The Great River Road follows the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. We think the bluff lands of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa are the most scenic: filled with millions of years of geologic history, centuries of human habitation, and now one of the world’s newest wine producing regions.
Upper Mississippi River Valley American Viticulture Area
The Upper Mississippi River Valley (UMRV) American Viticulture Area (AVA) established by the U.S. Government in June 2009. The AVA is the largest in the US and includes the drift-less or bluff-lands regions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Plan an extended visit this summer to explore this beautiful region of America’s heartland by following the Great River Road.
Today, the UMRV AVA boundary represents over 50 wineries and hundreds vineyard acres. Active programs and associations exist to help more wineries and vineyards to come on line in our four state area.
Area grape growers appreciate the work of Elmer Swenson. Swenson lived near the cross-roads of the four states involved in this petition and was responsible for introducing and further cultivating the French-American hybrids. These varietals carrying more diverse taste qualities based on their winter hardiness and disease resistance. Our grapes carry regional identification with names such as; Frontenac, La Crescent, La Crosse, Marquette, and St. Pepin.
All 12 wineries of the Great River Road Wine Trail are located in the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA. This permits wine produces exclusively from grapes grown on our own vineyards to be label “Estate Grown” wines.