Our family bucket lists are overflowing with all the outdoor events to bring joy to any child’s face. Why not add something to that list the grownups enjoy too? Visiting a winery is the perfect fall experience. Fall leaves floating around, smell of bonfires, cozy jackets and blanket scarves, and a smooth beverage in your glass just ripe for autumn.
But bring children to a winery, you might ask? Of course! You know what children need? Wide open spaces. You know what wineries have? Wide open spaces for children to enjoy just that! There’s something magical that happens to my children’s bodies when they are outside and away from the confinement that indoor spaces provide. They breathe easier, we breathe easier. And if someone needs a break to walk around, there are worse places to have to be stuck on child duty.
An afternoon picnic at a winery is the fall family activity you didn’t know you needed and this list of seven different family-friendly wineries near the Twin Cities is the perfect place to start.
Sovereign Estate Winery| 9950 North Shore Road, Waconia, MN
A stunning winery on a lake sounds too good to be true so you’ll have to visit this one to believe me. If that isn’t reason enough surely their Chili Fest on October 22 will draw you in with live music, an evening bonfire, and of course tasty chili and wine.
Hours: Wed-Thur 12-8 PM, Fri-Sat 12-9 PM, Sun 12-6 PM
Schram Vineyards | 8785 Airport Rd, Waconia, MN
This is a beloved Twin Cities institution with plenty of space for your family, good food, and a brewery for the non-wine lovers in your group. With food on site, you won’t bring a picnic but you also won’t want to because everything is delicious.
Hours: Tues & Wed 2 – 8 PM, Thur-Sat 11-9 PM, Sun 11- 6 PM
Javens Family Winery | 20011 589th Ave, Mankato, MN
Javens is a family-owned business that makes a point to involve their children, and dog children, in the entire process. This shows in their friendly service and welcoming atmosphere. Be sure to say hi to their two friendly dogs! Bring a picnic or enjoy pizza on Fridays from a local pizza farm. Be sure to say hi to their two friendly dogs Charlie and Cooper!
Hours: Fri 4-9 PM, Sat 1-9 PM, Sun 1-5 PM Check Social Media for daily updated fall hours.
Parley Lake Winery | 8280 Parley Lake Rd, Waconia, MN
Located in the stunning rolling hills of Waconia, this winery happens to be adjacent to Deardorff Orchards making it a one-stop fall experience for the whole family. Live music and food trucks are a fun weekend draw.
Hours: Fri 4-8 PM, Sat 12-6 PM, Sun 12-6 PM
Saint Croix Vineyards | 6428 Manning Avenue, Stillwater, MN
Here’s another great winery that boasts an apple orchard on the same grounds as the winery. Don’t miss their Halloween weekend event Wine-o-Ween where adults in costume receive a free glass of wine with each paid wine flight and each child visiting with an adult will receive free candy!
Hours: Open Daily 10 AM – 6 PM
Alexis Bailley Vineyard | 18200 Kirby Ave So., Hastings, MN
Come for the award-winning wine. Stay for the cozy atmosphere in this beautiful family-owned vineyard. Take a walk through the sculpture, try your hand at bocce ball, or enjoy a picnic and live music. If you are a biker, Hastings is a great place to bike and they invite you to bike over to the vineyard, too!
Hours: Fri-Sun 12-6 PM
Next Chapter Winery | 16945 320th Street, New Prague, MN 56071
As a writer, the name of this winery caught my eye first and their story of the family beginnings charmed me. A former bookstore owner turned vineyard owner is a dream. They have Thursday Family Nights with specials on slushies, both wine and kid-friendly versions. Sounds like a great way to convince my children to enjoy a night at the winery!
Hours: Tues, 5-8 PM, Wed-Thurs 5-8 PM, Fri 3-9 PM, Sat-Sun 12-5 PM