Inspired by France’s wine-growing regions, a Minnesota lawyer started Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Minnesota’s oldest operating farm winery, in 1973. He named it after an ancestor who helped settle the area in the early 1800s. Located about 30 miles outside of Minneapolis in Hastings, Minnesota, the vineyard made history in 1978 when it released the first wines ever produced commercially with only Minnesota grapes. The award-winning, nationally recognized winery is now owned by the founder’s daughter, Nan Bailly.
Nan has continued her father’s legacy, making Minnesota wines with her vineyard’s grapes and other locally-sourced ingredients. However, she also enjoys blending her grapes with grapes and juices from different regions, including Wisconsin, California and even overseas, and her vineyard’s visitors enjoy these wines too. She would like the freedom to offer new and greater varieties of blended wine to the public without worrying about an arbitrary limit on how many of her grapes crossed Minnesota’s border.
A little-known but onerous state law prevented Minnesota vineyards from making a majority of their wine from grapes grown outside Minnesota. IJ partnered with two vineyards to fight this law, and eventually a federal district…