{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Craft beer has captured the hearts and pallets of the region and breweries have been basking in the popularity of craft pale ales, lagers and stouts. But, craft wine is about to have its day in the sun. Many local wineries are popping throughout the region, offering locally grown and sourced bottles. Additionally, bottles of craft wine from around the globe are taking up shelf space in local liquor stores. {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}These bottles, which come from independent or family-operated wineries, are not the bottles usually seen flashing across the television screen during a football game or award show. Some of those sparkly big-name wine brands may actually have some hidden ingredients that aren’t so delicious,{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“{/span}{span}Some of the largest brands of your favorites have a lot of sugar and chemicals added,” explained certified sommelier Jean Taylor. “Others blend in a percentage of wine from a cheaper source in order to stretch the volume.”{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Big-name brands have to maintain a uniform taste and a consistently high volume of product, so their bottles may not be the most authentic of wines.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}But, what makes a wine “craft” anyway? “Although there’s no official or legal definition,” said Taylor, “I would say wine that has a sense of place; it comes from a specific vineyard or regional group of vineyards. It is grown and produced by an independent or family operation. And doesn’t rely on additives to make it palatable.”{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}The Fergus Falls Municipal Liquor Store store has one of the largest selections of wine, beer and spirits available in central Minnesota, including a vast selection of craft wines. Anyone who has shopped at the store on Lincoln Avenue may have noticed some signs posted alongside certain wine bottles. These small yet significant signs identify bottles of craft wine, and the selection is tantalizingly generous. Living in a town where any varietal is available for tasting, why not try something new? {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Manager of both Fergus Falls liquor stores, Brandon Currie, says that he makes sure he has all of the “main hitters” available in store when it comes to wine, “Your meat and potatoes,” he said, “your Captain Morgan’s of the wine world.”{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}But, he also enjoys keeping a large variety of craft wines stocked on the shelves.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“When you want to come in and you want that unique bottle you’ve not had before, you haven’t seen before, you haven’t tasted before, a certain expression or a certain style that you’ve never even seen … this is a great place to go and shop,” he said. “You can get exactly what you want here.” {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Though Currie says it’s important to drink what you like, he also encourages people to step outside of their wine comfort zone and try something different.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“You have your standard bottles that you’re always going to drink and are always on your table,” he said. “Try some new stuff; try other parts of the world, try other parts of the country, try other styles, and if you don’t know, ask. We’ll help you out.” {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Taylor also encourages wine drinkers to give craft wine a taste.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“{/span}{span}For me, it is very important to support the efforts of those who are trying to maintain authentic craft wine as a viable option,” she explained, adding that craft wine maintains the integrity of the way in which wine has been made for thousands of years — “with a connection to the Earth, and to people.” {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}For those who might be interested in dipping their toes, or tongues, into some craft wine selections, Taylor and Currie have some delectable suggestions. {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Fall is here and the cooler temperatures make it a great time of year to sip a cozy red wine. Currie says the store will be stocked with a plethora of light-bodied, medium-bodied and full-bodied red wines. There will also be signs alongside tasty bottles that pair well with ham or turkey. {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Taylor recommends pinot noir as her favorite fall choice and says it pairs wonderfully with Thanksgiving dinner.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“There are often flavors of cherry, cranberry, baking spice, mushrooms, leaves and forest floor,” she described. “Raptor Ridge, or the Maison L’Envoye Two Messengers are two of my favorites at Fergus Falls liquors.” {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Chardonnay is another one of Taylor’s fall favorites because of its caramel apple and buttered popcorn flavors.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}“Try ‘Pacificana’ by Winc, or ‘Sand Point’ for some great value picks that have great quality,” she recommends. {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Craft wine has so many flavors to offer, and it can be overwhelming when one doesn’t know what to expect from any given bottle. But, Currie assures that his staff is always there to help and will gladly assist in finding the perfect bottle of wine — all the customer has to do is be willing to give it a taste. {/span}

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