01/29/15 More Little Iza found, Double Trivia, Valentine's Half Full already, Home from Caribbean


01/29/15   10:00 am
Good Morning:
      Did you notice that last week I had no newsletter?  For good reason, Mary and I were on a Caribbean Cruise with 4 other couples.  We sailed out of Puerto Rico, visiting 4 islands.  We did two snorkeling outings, a sunset cruise, an under the water glass bottom boat over a sunken German ship, and zip lining and more.  All went well other than one hitch upon our arrival onto the ship, details below.  We ate too much, drank enough, and came home tired.  Again, it is a good vacation when home looks good, I wouldn't trade Minnesota for living on any of the islands, maybe that's just me.
If you'd like a short action video click below:

      I think this is as good of a time to give away two bottles of wine.  Be sure to submit your answers separately.
1. Leaving on the above cruise I was sure to pack my close friend of over 10 years in my suitcase.  He traveled fine with the airlines but the cruise line put him in solitaryconfinement.  The first night on ship I had no suitcase and nearly no cloths.  The next day security finally made contact that my suitcase with my friend inside was being held because it had a weapon inside. My friend has the initials of L.M.  Who is my friend?  To enter send to donmillner@gmail.com with the subject line "Who is my Friend?"
2.  Above I mentioned that we ate toooo much, this really reminded me of the ducks and geese that are force fed in France to make  a popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver. Sometimes I think after eating I even waddled like a duck.  What is the name of this French delicacy? To enter send to donmillner@gmail.com with the subject line "Waddle like a Duck!"
   On to more news: This is good news for all Little Iza lovers.  We have been sold out at the winery of the label Little Iza since December 20th.  Jon has just informed me that much of the metro liquor stores likely still have some inventory, the locations are listed below. The new vintage of Little Iza in the tank is about 1,500 gallon, up about 500 gallons.  We apologize for selling out of this label, we are trying to avoid this problem. At the same time this is a good problem, thank you.
Mac's Liquor - Hopkins MN 952-935-9291 River Liquors - Minneapolis MN 612-781-4545 Lowry Hill Liquor - Minneapolis MN 612-871-2500  South Lyndale Liquor - Minneapolis MN 612-827-5811 Richfield Liquor Cedar Ave - Richfield MN 612-861-9370 Liquor Barrel - St. Louis Park MN 612-861-9370 MGM - Burnsville MN 952-435-5000 Viking Liquor Barrel - Prior Lake MN 952-447-2127 Central Spirits - Blaine MN 763-780-1168 Lakeridge Wine & Spirits - Champlin MN 763-333-2411 Crystal WIne & Spirits - Crystal MN 763-537-5945 Coyote Liquors - Dayton MN 763-428-0200 Angel Liquor - Maple Grove MN 763-420-6215 Haskell's - Maple Grove MN 763-400-7888 Princeton's Liquors - Maple Grove MN 763-559-3257 Premier Wine & Spirits - Osseo MN 763-425-4680 Cellars - Plymouth MN 763-559-2114 MGM - Plymouth MN 763-557-1080 Robbinsdale Wine & Spirits - Robbinsdale MN 763-537-9012 St. Anthony Village Wine & Spirits - St. Anthony MN 612-782-3452 Cellars - Eagan MN 651-405-6681 Wine & Roses Liquor - Forest Lake MN 651-464-7130 Furlongs Liquor - Oakdale MN 651-779-7757 MGM - Rosemount MN 651-344-7700 Cellars - Roseville MN 651-636-4404 Wine Time - Roseville MN 651-697-0162 Lowertown Wine & Spirits - St. Paul MN 651-222-3661 Grayscale Liquor - Vadnais Heights MN 651-483-0159 Lakeridge Liquor - Vadnais Heights MN 651-483-6272 Cellars - White Bear Lake MN 651-426-1028 Cellars - Woodbury MN 651-738-8110 Liquor Works - Wyoming MN 651-408-2337
         If you are interested in our Valentine's Party, book now.  We are already half filled.
"Have I told you lately that I Love you..."
Join us for an



I Love You
Valentine's Day
 Saturday February 14th.

  • Charcoal Grilled Pork Loin with BBQ Sauce
  • Chicken Alfredo
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Baby carrots and full length Green Beans
  • Asian Lettuce Salad
  • Dinner Rolls & Butter


Plus 1 glass Millner Heritage Wine

Minnesota Crisp Apple Cider, Mixed Drinks and Beer Additional cost.

Also don't miss Free Wine Bingo and more Valentine Games.
Live Music by: Cathie English, Performing 5:30 - 8:30
Central Minnesota singer/songwriter whose American finger-style guitar playing an easy listening Americana folk music.
Seating & Social starting at 5:30 with
Serving Time Promptly at 6:30 pm
Priced at $22 plus tax/person, secured reservations required.
For reservations call 320-237-1958 or email to donmillner@gmail.com, include return phone number.

     Now if you are a video person, please try the video below. Again, I gave it all I had telling about the Valentine's Party.  Don
You are invited to Valentine's Day with your sweetie!
You are invited to Valentine's Day with your sweetie!

Finally a pay check, from Jon!
Below is a copy of Jon's comment on facebook about the last 10 years.
     Today is actually a historical day for myself, but also for the winery. For those of you who don't know, the winery business in general is not as easy to make money at as some might think. The big reasons for this are the long lag time between starting the wine and actually bottling it, (often 6-18 months) let alone selling it. The upfront capital needed to start it up is a lot higher than most start up businesses. All the pumps, stainless steel tanks etc... aren't cheap. Also, it's a competitive market. If people couldn't get wine from anywhere in the world and were willing to pay $50/bottle, I suppose we'd be rich, but that's clearly not the case. And then the last thing for us has been expansion. Expanding tanks and press and all of this once again is another big capital outlay. This last one is a big one for us as our production has more than quadrupled from when we first started. What happened today could've happened a fair amount sooner if we weren't expanding so fast.
     So, what's historical about today? Today I signed my first profit check. I am a paid employee of the winery, but I'm also part owner, and today is the first day where I got something beyond my regular salary. It was about this time 10 years ago that we first started scouting for land. It was fall of 2005 when we bought the property we are currently on. We opened to the public in 2009, but most people don't know of the years prior to opening. We were searching in 2005 already. So, this year, it's basically 10 years on project, and finally now with first profit check coming in, feels a little bit like the plan is working out pretty much as hoped smile emoticon I think we always felt there was money in this industry, but boy you have to fight for it I think a lot more than some businesses. My dad always used to joke that I should've gone into dentistry. Far easier money.
     Here are some fun facts about how things have changed from the beginning of the winery:
- 2006 was first planting. Planted about 400 vines. Now we have about 5,000.
- 2008 was first crush. I made 2,800 gallons of wine. This year, we're going to be over 12,000.
- My dad was doing about 30 hours a week at the dental office and probably another 30 hours a week at the winery from 2006 till April 2014 when he retired from dentistry. Now, I think he mostly works at the winery just to have something fun to do.
- Anna was here with us when we were staking out the very first rows of vineyard.
- Izabella Millner, whom the famous wine Little Iza is named after wasn't even conceived yet. In May she'll be 8.
- I think we were the 21st winery to open in MN. Now, I think there are like 70. Most cideries fall under winery license too though as it's considered wine in MN.
- I think when we started, we were like the 9th largest winery in the state out of 21. Now, I would suspect we are likely the 6th largest of about 70.
- Every year I make Little Iza, it sells out. I'm sorry, I'm increasing quantity pretty much every year and we still can't make enough. Sorry... It seems as I make more, the demand goes more too.
- My mom, mother Mary used to come out to the vineyard early in the morning when we first started to "check up" on the vines and make sure they were doing fine. First time she did this, my dad woke up wondering where she went.
- We still bottle all by hand.
- My dad has always sung at the winery. Just now, he wrote songs about the wines and sings his own tunes instead of someone else's.
- Anna probably weighed about 15lbs more after having Iza than she currently does. So, she lost some weight. On the other hand, I weigh about 15lbs more now then I did then.
- We started with 10 wines. As of this year we will be up to 16 wines and 1 hard cider.
- We also didn't have any beer or mixed drinks on site available. Hard to book weddings without at least having those as options...
- I didn't know Hungarian dance when we first started up. Began that February 2010.
- In 2006 and 2007, I went back down in the winters to make wine in Iowa before we had wine of our own to make here in MN.
- My dad worked on every single post that got pounded at the winery. I actually wasn't. I was there for about 90% of them but sometimes some got pounded while I was in Iowa.
- First year of grape growing, the first 400 vines was mostly my parents work. Anna and I stayed down in Iowa as it wasn't enough work to be full time for us in the summer. Following year we put in 2900 more vines and that's when we came back up to work full time in the summer.
- Marquette, the last grape from the U of MN just came out in 2006. Now, the U of MN is releasing their next grape this spring. Sorry, I don't know details yet...
- When we started, Frontenac was the most planted grape in MN, followed by Frontenac Gris and then La Crescent and then Foch. Now Marquette is the most planted, Frontenac Gris is still #2 and to be honest I'm not sure what number 3 is. I suspect it might be Frontenac, LaCrescent or possibly Prairie Star... not sure though... I know Foch isn't really high on the list anymore though as the U's grapes and Swenson varieties are replacing some of the earlier French hybrids.
- At first we only sold in probably the 30-40 liquor stores relatively close to us. I think now, we're probably in around 200 and climbing. We sell in central MN, in the cities and south east quadrant. The cider will be going into bars/restaurants mostly I think.
- I started with 8 tanks and a dairy for racking. Now, I have 14 wine tanks and 1 brite tank for carbonating.
- I have a lot more grey hair now, and a little more wisdom along with it.
Thank you for your time.
Don Millner 
Millner Heritage Winery
April 1st through December 31st Open:
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Fri. & Sat.  11 - 8
Sunday  11 - 6
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