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ABOUT US - Cultivating Grapes Since 1999.



Laughing Otter Winery began with the love, and passion my dad found for wine after living in California for 17 years. There he worked as a professional photographer, and on one of his assignments for LA Magazine he was sent to a local winery. The owner was kind enough to sit down, and have a long, in depth conversation with him about the art of wine making. Thus his love and appreciation for wine began. After moving back to Minnesota where he was born, and raised he discovered in 1998 the University of Minnesota had developed a cold hardy grape in 1996 called Frontenac. He planted the first 10 rows in 1999 that over a span of 20 years would grow into almost 70 rows today.



The 6 acres of grapes that we have today include 10 different varieties, allowing us to provide a good balance of red and white wines along with some of our signature blends. We are proud to say all of our wines are estate grown, but as we grow we look forward to working with local vineyards. We specialize in dry blends, both red and white using cold climate hardy grapes both produced by the University of Minnesota and Elmer Swenson. Our goal is to promote best practices and innovative viticulture while crafting good quality wine with complex flavor profiles.




We are happy to say that Laughing Otter Winery continues to be a family run business with my husband Zack managing and making the wine. My oldest son, Tyler, and I, Cori, manage and operate the vineyard, ensuring we are producing the highest quality in grapes each season. My dad, Steve Nelson, still remains owner and operator of the winery, and is taking more time enjoying the fruits of his labor after all these years, as we begin to take on more responsibility. We look forward to having you visit the winery and serving you in the future.

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"I am the vine and you are the branches. He who dwells in Me, as I dwell in him bears much fruit." – John 15:5
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