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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
May 21, 2009     Tri-County News
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May 21, 2009

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Thursday, May 21, 2009 Tri-County News * Kimball, MN nnnl Page 7 By lacqui DuBois, Staff Writer A project in the making since fall 2005, the Millner Heritage Vineyard and Winery opened last Friday, May 15. The Millners - Don, Mary, Ion and Annamaria - were searching for the right land six months prior to choosing the 40-acre parcel located 7 miles south of Kimball. The land search, Don says, took time because they had to base their decision on "the type of soil, topography, rolling hills, and loca- tion, location, location." Don says another reason for the area they chose was the traffic flow on Highway 15 and its prox- imity to other major highways. Heritage Winemaking goes back to Don's father's generation where Don has made wine since he was 15. The idea for the winery, though, came from son Jon. After Sept. 11, 2001, Ion was deployed to Afghani- stan with the Army Reserves where he saw grapes and vineyards. Ion eventually went to Iowa where he learned how to make wine; he also managed a winery there. The theme for the winery is "Celebrating our European Heri- tage." Don is mainly German with a bit of Polish, Mary is German and Polish, and Jon's wife Annamaria is Hungarian. In Hungary, Annamaria stud- ied six years in agriculture, set up vineyards in Germany, and came to the U.S. through the University of Minnesota MAST program to learn English. She met Ion by work- ing in the same vineyard together. The young couple is now married and has a 2-year-old daughter. Preparing for opening day When asked what they're doing to prepare for opening day, Don says "everything," and work- passion ing around the clock to be ready. They're working on bottling, pre- paring to plant for next year, con- tinuing construction, landscap- ing, and preparing the retail store. Amenities "The vineyard experience is really what we're about," Don says. There are winery tours, wine tasting, wine sales, gift items for sale, and a vineyard tour by wagon. As for big events, they've had to limit space to groups, of 100 indoors. They hope to open the open-air events center, which can be used to host weddings and par- ties, by next year. How growing grapes in Minnesota works Don says it all starts with the grapes. The Millners' 9 acres (and growing) of vineyard has grapes that are a hybrid from a traditional grape and a native grape. The tra- ditional grapes are the wine-mak- ing grapes, and the native grapes help with growth and resistance to cold and disease. "Then the rest is like any other crop," Don says. When it comes to covering the spectrum of white to red and sweet to dry, Don says usually the color of the grape makes that type of wine. To make a blush wine you can either do it the traditional way by using a freshly pressed red grape or a blending of red and white grapes. Though there are numerous types of wines, Don says the vine- yard plans to only sell regional wines to promote this area and what it's about. "From the heart of Europe to the heart of Minnesota," Don says is one of their slogans. The project has been a group wlne The Millners were busy on serving guests, are (left to opening day, May 15. Above, behind the counter meeting and greeting and right) Jon, Annamaria, Mary and Don. Staff photos by Jean Doran Matua. effort since spring 2006, and the Millners are thankful for all the help and volunteers. "We want people to think it's not just our winery, but it's their winery," Don says. They always welcome help from volunteers, especially for bottling and the fall harvest. For more information you can check their Web site at . Their phone num- ber is (320) 398-2081. The winery features a gift shop with wine accessories, wooden bowls hand-carved by Don, and plates and decorative items china- painted by Mary and her sister Pat Otremba. They also offer tours and tast- ing of their nine varieties of wine. Millner Heritage Winery is open Thursdays from 11-7, Fridays and Saturdays.from 11-8, and Sundays from 12-6. They will celebrate with a grand opening]uly 17-19. r~ Vintner Jon Millner finishes off a batch of red wine. The winery makes and bottles nine varieties of wine. The heart, soul and passion of Millner Heritage Winery are Jon, Annamaria, Mary and Don Millner. They invite you for tours and wine- tasting. Their facility can also host events indoors or (next year) out- doors. Hearth Marto Fast, Friendly and Convenient. A Pharmacist You Can Trust. We've Got You Covered. We accept 1,O00s of insurance plans, so most likely we accept your Kodak Picture Kiosk NOW AVAILABLE! 4-6 Prints Camera cards CDs & floppy disks USB flash drives - Prints of almost any size Camera phones IrDA~ or Bluetooth~ technology enabled devices ~ Visit us at L { The winery is easy to find, just north of Kingston, 7 main building long before you see the signs or the days for tasting and tours. miles south of Kimball. You can see the red roof of the driveway. The winery is open Thursdays through Sun-