Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

One grand winery & pizza place in the Minnesota River Valley June 6, 2014

A vineyard at Grandview Valley Winery, rural Belview, Minnesota.

A vineyard at Grandview Valley Winery, rural Belview, Minnesota.

TWO YEARS AGO TOMORROW, in the scenic Minnesota River Valley north of Belview, a winery opened.

Folks have raved to me repeatedly about Grandview Valley Winery, located on land that’s been in a family (Wayne and Kari Rigge and John and Laura Rigge) for four generations.

Now, after visiting this winery, I understand their enthusiasm.

The winery and its vineyard.

The winery and its vineyard.

But it’s not just the great homemade pizza and the wine that appeal to me. It is the geographic surroundings, the pronounced pastoral loveliness of this peaceful place positioned within the southwestern Minnesota prairie.

Entering Belview from the north.

Entering Belview from the north upon returning from the winery. Grandview is nearly six miles north of this small town.

Pause to read the Boiling Spring historic marker.

Pause to read the Boiling Spring historic marker.

Another marker notes the Knutson family farm.

Another marker notes the Knutson family farm.

To get there from nearby Belview, follow Redwood County Road 7 north, winding past farm places, past historical markers for Boiling Spring and the Knutson family farm, where my Aunt Iylene grew up.

Turn onto this gravel road just off Redwood County Road 7.

Turn onto this gravel road just off Redwood County Road 7.

This is good pasture land.

This is good pasture land.

Incredible aged bedrock.

Inpressive aged bedrock.

And then, shortly after the markers, turn east, your vehicle kicking up dust as you pass more farms, cattle grazing in pastures and mammoth bedrock heaped in hills along tree-hugged gravel roads leading to Grandview.

Almost there.

Almost there.

Arriving at Grandview Valley Winery.

Arriving at Grandview Valley Winery.

Nearly six miles from Belview, you reach vineyard and winery.

Dine inside or outside on the patio to the left.

Dine inside or outside on the patio to the left.

Solitude embraces with the type of comfort that comes from being in a locale where you feel cocooned from the world, sheltered from the worries and stresses and rush of everyday life. For me, it was the “I could live here” thought. Or at least escape here for a few hours. This marks the perfect place to sip a glass of valley made wine with delicious homemade pizza.

The nearly full parking lot.

The nearly full parking lot.

Not that Grandview offers quiet dining. Quite the opposite. The gravel parking lot on this late May evening, is already nearly full. Inside the winery, diners pack tables while several groups gather on the patio. It’s almost a surprise to see so many here in this rural location, although I’ve been warned about the busyness and sometimes long wait for pizza.

The bacon cheeseburger and BBQ pulled pork pizza.

The bacon cheeseburger and BBQ pulled pork pizza.

But on this Saturday evening, probably because of area high school graduation parties, my husband, a sister, my older brother and his wife, and I need not wait all that long for our two pizzas—halves of German, BBQ pulled pork, buffalo chicken and bacon cheeseburger. To my surprise, I find the sauerkraut-topped German pizza to be especially tasty and my favorite of the four.

The guys order beer, my brother choosing  Goosetown, a German craft beer from August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm. Goosetown is an historic nod to an ethnic New Ulm neighborhood where primarily Catholic, German-Bohemian immigrants began settling in the late 1800s. They kept gaggles of geese. My husband opts for Grain Belt’s Nordeast, another Schell’s made beer, because Goosetown is not on the beer list he’s been handed and he doesn’t hear my brother’s order.

I failed to photograph the wine. But I did photograph the wine list.

I failed to photograph the wine. But I did photograph the wine list.

I choose a semi-sweet white wine made from Frontenac Gris grapes and finished with hints of peach, apricot and green apple. Rockin’ Coyote holds the promise of summer and the wild side of this land where I’m certain more than a few coyotes range.

Our conversation flows with the ease that comes from dining among those you love, those who know your history and your quirks and don’t care.

We laugh. And I am teased mercilessly for my gullibility as my sister-in-law reveals that crawdads will not be served at her daughter’s wedding as she previously told me.

Grandview feels like home to me, my connectedness as solid as the aged bedrock lodged in this land.

FYI: Click here for more information about Grandview Valley Winery.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “One grand winery & pizza place in the Minnesota River Valley”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    I do love to visit wineries—they always seem to be wonderful places filled with employees who are passionate about their product and willing to spend some time telling you about their process, their history, etc. This looks like a lovely place and to have a place to kick back and have a nice meal is a bonus. The last winery we went to around here was the Winneshiek Wildberry Winery in Decorah. I still have a bottle on top of my fridge of their Horny Heifer wine which I got just because of the name. 🙂

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    Love wineries and pizza. Hard to go wrong there. I am getting hungry just looking at your photo of the pizza. We are fortunate to have a few of these in our area. Falconer Vineyards in Red Wing is pretty good as well. My wife and I are wood-fired pizza buffs in the summer; one of our favorites is The Stone Barn near Nelson, WI. We really enjoy this type of thing – anything to escape the chain restaurants.

  3. bev walker Says:

    Mom, Joyce and I went there and enjoyed it immensely. Mom drove and we went barreling down the gravel road to our destination. When we got there, we climbed up on our stools and Mom proceeded to order a wine and Joyce and I ordered a cola, while thinking to ourselves and sharing a snarky grin that just in case someone needed a designated driver! We still chuckle about our outing and enjoyed every minute of it!! My 91 year old mom does okay!!

  4. Okay, I’m putting this place on my summer list of things we need to do! I was really hoping you’d tried the wine called “Squirrelly”!

    • I’ll leave that to you to try Squirrelly and report back. While you’re in the area, consider taking the Minnesota River Valley road, a gravel river road that runs, if I recall correctly, from near Granite Falls to Morton, past John Brown’s “castle.” Check regional tourism as there are many sites connected to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 along this route. You’ll also want to visit Alexander Ramsey Park in nearby Redwood Falls, an unexpected oasis in the prairie. It’s been called “the Little Yellowstone of Minnesota.”

      In Belview, you’ll find a sweet little antique shop, Rainbow Antiques, Crafts & Junque. It has very limited hours, meaning you may want to call ahead. Well worth the stop. Here’s a link to a post I wrote about Rainbow Antiques a few years ago: https://mnprairieroots.com/2011/08/09/follow-the-rainbow-to-a-charming-antique-store-in-belview/

  5. Love Your Captures and Adventure – Nothing Better Than Getting Out in the Country for Wine Tasting and Good Eats – Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 Happy Weekend – Cheers!!!

  6. Jackie Says:

    Well we love pizza….not so much the wine and beer, but I”m sure it’s a neat experience just the same. Looks like an adventure just to get to the place, looks peaceful. Rick and I passed a winery called “four daughters” on our little excursion a few days ago. I think these places are getting to be popular 🙂

  7. treadlemusic Says:

    What……no “mud bugs” at the wedding!!!?????? No matter. The pizza, et al look awesome!!!!!!!

  8. hotlyspiced Says:

    I didn’t know you have wineries in Minnesota; I would have thought the winters were too harsh for the vines to survive. The scenery is gorgeous and that pizza looks wonderful xx

  9. lanae Says:

    About those crawdads…….How do you like them cooked? We really did have a fun time. Love ya

  10. Kathryn A. Parker-White Says:

    I recently came across Audrey’s blog regarding 134 year old Faribault business: Parker-Kohl Funeral Home. She spoke a bit on the history of this establishment and she wondered about when Flora Ray Parker joined her Father David Ray @ the Ray funeral home wasn’t that a rare occurrence in that day for a woman to be operating her own Funeral Home. Well yes it was not a common practice but in this case it was inevitable. Flora Ray Parker graduated from the University of MN mortuary science program in 1929. She was the only female in that graduating class. The male gender dominated that profession during that time. Flora was an exceptional woman truly ahead of her time. She had 4 children to raise by herself and her Father was at the age of wanting to retire soon so it was a business she knew well and would be able to ease right into. Her Father died only a few years later and she continued on in the Funeral business but changed the name from Ray Funeral Home to her married name of Parker Funeral Home. My Father John Parker joined her in the business as Audrey pointed out in 1940’s after serving in World War II. He actually started helping his mother long before that time as a young boy and also graduated from the University of MN. Mortuary Science Program. My grandmother Flora Ray Parker didn’t march on the band wagon for women’s suffrage and liberation she just took on that role by coincidence out of necessity. But as I previously said she was ahead of her time. I just ran across this blog and wanted to answer Audrey’s question about the oddity of a woman funeral director back in 1929 and give some background and history as to the reason of this occurrence. I enjoy reading mnprairieroots.com blogs very interesting facts one can find out about their home town roots! I have always wondered about Fleckenstein’s brewery when it began and when the last bottle of beer was bottled before they closed their doors for good. So much small town history that influenced a global population. Keep blogging Audrey you have my attention! Kathryn Parker-White

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