Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In rural southern Minnesota: Peonies & wine June 19, 2019


UNDER INTERMITTENT GREY SKIES, fragrant blossoms of pink, burgundy, coral, rose and more popped brilliant color into the landscape at a rural Minnesota winery which doubles as a peony business.



On the deck at Aspelund Winery. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2018.


Within miles of the winery, the beautiful landscape of southern Minnesota.


If you love the showy and elegant peony, appreciate good wine and delight in the quiet of a countryside location, Aspelund Winery and Peony Gardens (outside Aspelund and to the northwest of Wanamingo) is a must-visit. Randy and I met friends there Sunday afternoon to view the peony fields and to sip raspberry and apple wines.






It was exactly what I needed—to relax in a beautiful natural setting accented by peonies. There’s still time to tour the farm between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday to see the peonies before their brief blooming season ends. (Check Facebook for updates.)


Co-owner Dawn Rohl wears a peacock pin on her denim jacket. The peacock is the winery symbol/mascot.


Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.




Co-owners Bruce and Dawn Rohl greet visitors to their hilltop location with the welcoming warmth of long-time friends. They are a salt-of-the-earth and knowledgeable couple who work hard to grow magnificent peonies and craft tasty wine. I recommend Rascal Red, a raspberry wine. Below the tasting room, the Rohls develop their wines, the newest an in-progress asparagus wine made from asparagus grown near the vineyard.



The list of peonies available for purchase.



During our visit, flower lovers meandered among the peonies, some selecting bushes to buy and pick up to plant in the fall. Soon Bruce will sell his hybridized peonies lining the entry to the tasting room.





Whether you’re serious about peonies or wine, or simply appreciate both, this rural Goodhue County winery and peony gardens rate as a unique, enjoyable and ideal way to spend an afternoon in a stunning rural setting among friends. Be sure to pet Rascal, the family dog who can open the door to the tasting room.

FYI: The winery is located at 9204 425th Street, rural Wanamingo (just outside Aspelund). If you take Minnesota State Highway 60 between Kenyon and Wanamingo, you will see a sign directing you to Aspelund, which is basically a church, a town hall and a farm site. Click here to read previous posts I’ve written on the winery and gardens.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “In rural southern Minnesota: Peonies & wine”

  1. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Hi Audrey – those peonies are gorgeous! Not so sure about raspberry or asparagus wine, though. 🙂

  2. I love peonies and I love trying different wines, so this place looks amazing. The peonies are so vibrant! I’m very curious about the asparagus wine–I’ve never heard of it before!

    • I’ve never heard of asparagus wine either until Dawn told me about it. The wine is not yet available for tasting. But when it is, I will definitely try it.

      Faribault, where I live, was once “The Peony Capital of the World.” This was long before I moved here. Sadly the peony gardens are gone. Back in the day, an annual parade featured peonies on floats and more. Brides also picked peonies, which were then stored in caves in town until the wedding day.

  3. valeriebollinger Says:

    So glad you were able to see the stunning peonies. And taste some good wine.
    It’s also fun to learn about Faribault’s peony past…and storing peony’s in the cave…very interesting!

  4. Philip Holum Says:

    I’ve lived here for 21 years on the farm outside of Eagle Bend, and the peonies never bloomed. 2 years ago I moved all of them into the full sun, and they are just about to bloom! I consider it a big accomplishment and am really excited about it.

    • Congratulations, Philip. I am excited for you that your peonies are blooming this year. I learned the same about peonies. Once I relocated a plant to a more sunny location, it bloomed. A lot this year. The second bush died before I could transplant it.

  5. Almost Iowa Says:

    Asparagus wine…. words fail me

    Back in the day, I lived along a road in Wisconsin called County QQ. It ran from the towns of Knapp to Downing and was famous for wild asparagus.

    Once when I commented on this to a very, very old neighbor, he snickered. “Well,” he said, “it’s not exactly wild. When they built County QQ, the bulldozer pushed through my asparagus patch and spread it all the way to Downing.”

    He may have been pulling my leg, but it is a great story.

  6. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    My Mother was crazy about peonies but could never grow them. However, an aunt who lived about five miles away had them in prolific bunches. We always came home with some for the vase.

  7. Bella Says:

    wow what could be better than wine and peonies. Sounds like a winning combination to me! And your photos are just stunning

  8. Beautiful flowers, I could almost smell them through my computer screen. Sound like a a nice Sunday get together with friends.

  9. Littlesundog Says:

    I am a lover of peonies, something passed down from a Grandmother. I have quite a few planted around the house, but their longevity of blossom is short-lived here, with the usual heat and humidity. But for a few days, I take in the lovely scent and blooms.

    Asparagus wine? That sounds like an adventure for the taste buds!

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