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Carlos Creek wines win medals at State Fair

Five wines produced by Carlos Creek Winery were awarded medals this week at the first International Cold Climate Wine Competition in St. Paul.

The contest, hosted by the University of Minnesota, included 60 commercial wineries from 16 states with more than 300 entries.

Fifteen judges from a cross-section of the wine world sampled wines in 34 categories.

Carlos Creek Winery's winning entries were a gold for its apple wine, a silver for its apple cranberry and bronze medals for its port, "Hot Dish Red" and "Apple Pomegranate Ice Wine."

"Carlos Creek Winery is dedicated to producing quality Minnesota wines and we are proud to have our wine recognized by the judges of the International Cold Climate Wine Competition," said Kim Bredeson, owner of Carlos Creek Winery.

The winning wines are on display in the Horticulture Building at the Minnesota State Fair through Labor Day.

Tom Martell, president of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association, said the contest shows that grape varieties developed to survive in frosty northern climates can produce fun, enjoyable wines.

"We're not trying to compete with California and the chardonnays and whatnot," Martell said. "We're taking the grapes, the varieties that grow well in our geography, in our climates, and we're creating a wine market."

Jim Luby, a horticulture professor who leads the University of Minnesota's fruit breeding program, said the main challenge is developing vines that can make it through the winter.

Minnesota summers actually provide good conditions for ripening grapes, he said. Parts of the state get more heat and sunshine than some premier grape-growing regions around the world. But Minnesota also gets temperatures of 20 below in the winter.

The leading varieties bred at the University of Minnesota include the whites La Crescent and Frontenac gris, and the reds Frontenac and Marquette.