We had a beautiful fall day this past Saturday so we decided to venture out to an apple orchard for the first time this year. Minnesota has many wonderful choices when it comes to apple orchards. Growing up my family usually went to Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake. It's a great place, definitely family friendly. Their baked goods are to die for. But, that is not where we chose to go this past weekend.
We chose to go to Aamodt's Apple Farm in Stillwater because they also house the St. Croix Vineyard and we thought it would be fun to also do some wine sampling. I had been to St. Croix a couple of years ago with a girlfriend, but had never had the opportunity to bring Nate there.
We approached the turn to get to the parking lot and let me tell you, it was quite a zoo that day. I am sure being that it was the first nice Saturday of the entire fall, many folks had the same idea as us. We managed to squeeze into a parking spot out amongst the apple trees and walked the reasonably short distance to get to the vineyard and orchard.
We started at the winery, as it didn't appear to be quite as crowded. I was disappointed to learn that you now had to pay for your wine sampling. In the past, this was a free event. However, they do refund your $5.00 if you buy two bottles of wine.
We stepped up to the counter and were taken through three whites, two reds and a dessert wine. I loved most all of the white wine, Nate only liked the Chardonnay. I have to say - if you don't like Chardonnay - give this one a chance, it is not nearly as dry and bitter as Chardonnay tends to be. The reds were pretty good, we enjoyed the Marschal Foch the best out of these. We both enjoyed the Raspberry Fusion dessert wine that St. Croix is known for as well.
Since the sampling didn't include every type of wine available at St. Croix, we stepped outside where they were selling wine by the glass under a tent. Here they had all of their wines available, although at a pretty steep price ($5.00 a glass). Still, we decided it was worth it to get to sample just a couple of more so we could decide if we wanted to buy any to take home. And it was fun to sit outside in the semi warm air.
After we finished our glasses we decided to pick up a bottle of Chardonnay and a bottle of marschal foch and head over to the apples. Unfortunately, the inside building of the apple orchard was super packed. I was also a little disappointed that they did not have many apple samples. It's nice that they let you pick your own to put in a bag, but I wanted to taste some so I knew if I liked what I was getting! We settled on some Haralsons - good for baking - and also grabbed a gallon of apple cider. I would've liked to maybe get something from the bakery, but the line was rather long. Fortunately we were able to check out rather quickly.
Overall, it's a decent place to go, they were serving popcorn and apple brats and I'm not sure what else outside. I believe they have hayrides for families as well. Even with all the people we managed to have a pretty good time.
Aamodt's Apple Farm/St. Croix Vineyard
6428 Manning Ave N
Stillwater, MN 55082-9462
Price: Free to wander, apples, baked goods, cider, jams are available for purchase.
Wine tasting $5.00 with a discount for bottles of wine purchased.