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Minnesota has more than just snow (especially this year!); it has some great wine producers. I recently tried the Parley Lakes Winery selection Brianna Breeze, grown and bottled right here in Waconia, and I highly recommend it.
In early March, I got to take a tour of Parley Lake Winery and Deardorff Orchards. Lin Deardorff was nice enough to show me around his home. He lives in a farmhouse dating back to the Civil War, surrounded by apple trees and 150-year-old fire resistant oak trees. Lin showed me the wine-making process, the outbuildings the Deardorffs have restored, and the work-in-process barrel room. He mentioned that this year is the earliest growing season ever on record and that they will be bottling soon!
Parley Lake has 5 acres of vineyards and ranks as the 6th or 7th largest vineyard in Minnesota. It is also the home of Deardorff Orchards with 15 acres of apples. There are 4000 of apple trees and 3000 grapevines on the property. Do I see a theme developing here?
The Deardorff barn has displayed on it one of the many quilt boards that you see in western Carver County. The quilt boards are replicas of old quilt patterns. Made by many of the ladies of the county, you see them on many barns in the area. Keep an eye out for them. Bonnie Deardorff, Lin’s wife, has appropriately added an apple to the old design on their barn.
One building of interest is the corn crib, used to store the corn before feeding it to the animals. Another is the wood house used by the previous owners to take their children to for a whipping! The fireplace in the old farmhouse is built from stones taken from Parley Lake . The boys of the previous owners had to drag the stones from the lake to build the chimney. The previous owner—rest his soul—was known fondly as the "old tyrant." No surprise.
At one end of the Deardorff property is Parley Lake. Wow, how beautiful and peaceful! DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET IN A BOAT ON PARLEY LAKE AND GO ALL THE WAY TO LOUISANA! Amazing, but I don't think I'll try it.
Lin mentions the Fishing Opener coming soon—May 10-12th—get ready Waconia! It's only a few weeks away!