We are in the middle of summer in Minnesota. The excitement of the first blossoms of Spring are long behind us, the anticipation of the State Fair is in the air. Some days are sticky to the point of New Orleans dreams at night (very fitting considering the focus of this post).

Weekends start to take a lazy air in Minnesota in August, as we take our last sip of the warmth and enjoy what we will surely miss in six months.

These beautiful Sundays of July and August can be easily enhanced. A little wine and a little jazz goes a long way, and our own Alexis Bailly Vineyards in Hastings combines them every Sunday in the summer with Jazz in the Vineyard sponsored by KBEM 88.5 fm

For as many wine lovers as the Twin Cities boast, it’s surprising to discover just how few have made the 35 minute drive to the oldest winery the state. Open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Alexis Bailly has an ‘open picnic’ policy — bring your own chairs, blankets, food, and more and kick back to enjoy the grounds. All of this is free, and of course it’s good form to head into the winery to buy some beverages. Who says you can’t buy wine on Sundays in Minnesota? A change to the state retail laws (about 15 years ago) allows for Minnesota wines to be sold from Minnesota wineries on Sunday!

If you forget your picnic blanket, cheese, cutting boards, or stemware have no fear. All are available at the winery.

The Doug Little Quartet was playing yesterday. Due to some rain in the forecast, the first set was held in the winemaking facility under the tasting room. With wine in the air, bistro tables throughout, and Little playing classic jazz on his 1946 Parisian saxophone, you could suddenly imagine you’re in Paris. Seriously. (Except for the guy next to me with the Nascar t-shirt.)

Here is a video of part of the performance, along with some photos that will hopefully cause you to make some new plans for your summer weekends. Take a look at the full schedule of Sunday Jazz in the Vineyard as well as Doug Little’s website. Support local music and local wine!

We’ll be following up soon with an interview with Nan about the current state of Minnesota wine and what she has planned for the future. For now, enjoy the video and pictures!

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