“Minnescato” – Moscato Wine From Minnesota
I’ve watched the American love affair with Moscato wines for the past four years. I’ve seen sales rise dramatically; in some years the increases have been as high as 100%, particularly for Italian produced Moscatos.
It reminds me of the rise of White Zinfandel in the 80’s. Like white zin, young drinkers are powering Moscato’s rise. I’ve experienced this at our tasting bar, with Moscato currently the most requested wine by customers.
So I purchased about a dozen different Moscatos and set our staff to conducting a little in-house research. Research is one of our favorite winery tasks.
And what’s not to like? Even if sweet wines aren’t your usual drink, we found the peachy-apricot aromatics, clean, crisp finish, and lower alcohol levels of these Moscatos quite pleasant. Most Muscatos – made from the Muscat grape- were also bubbly, giving them a delightful mouth-feel.
Our process for making sparkling Minnescato starts with pumping 500 gallons of Frontenac Gris into a tank containing a sparging stone. (“Sparging” means introducing bubbles into wine.)
The tank cools the wine and is where the wine is pressurized. Co2 is injected into the Minnescato through the sparging stone in order to produce smaller, more delicate bubbles.
It takes about a month to complete the carbonation. We are purchasing a fully automatic counter pressure bottling machine this summer so we can increase our production.
Cold climate grapes make great sparkling wines! And though we can’t grow Muscat in Minnesota, we have plenty of cold-climate varieties that produce wines with peachy-apricot aromatics and a clean crisp finish.
Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, LaCrescent and Brianna are great examples of excellent cold hardy wines. Add a little fizz and a great name and we’d be able to offer a Minnesota grown alternative to Moscato to our customers. As for the name, ‘Minnescato” was the obvious choice for a Moscato-style wine made from Minnesota grown grapes.
Tami Bredeson is the owner of Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, MN; open to the public, growing grapes and making nationally award-winning wines at 45.8852 degrees north latitude since 2008.