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From first date, seed grows for family business

Scott and Julie Andrzejczak are planning to open a winery in the town of Kinnickinnic this coming autumn. They planted 750 vines of Marquette grapes last June with help from family and friends. Scott said the snow will insulate the grapes from too much cold and hopefully protect them from too much cold-weather damage.

Scott and Julie Andrzejczak spend one of their first dates picking grapes at St. Croix Vineyard in Stillwater, Minn.

“We picked grapes for three hours …and had fun doing that,” Scott said. “It’s kind of evolved into something that we’ve just done as a date.”

Those dates planted the seed of an idea for the couple—they decided to open their own winery.

After about seven years of preparation, Scott and Julie will open 65 Vines Winery this fall, on the same property as their town of Kinnickinnic home. Scott said he and Julie called the winery 65 Vines because of its location at 1105 Coulee Trail, just off of Hwy. 65 between River Falls and Roberts.

Julie will act as 65 Vines proprietor. She said the winery will offer winetasting and walks through the vineyard. She said it will be “A nice experience for people to enjoy the outdoors and learn the process of growing grapes and making the wine, and hopefully selling a good-tasting product.”

Scott is 65 Vines winemaker and vineyard manager. He spent about seven years learning about winemaking and vineyard management. He took online classes through Des Moines Area Technical College. He also worked at Parley Lake Winery in Waconia, Minn. and consulted at two other nearby wineries, until he and Julie moved to the town of Kinnickinnic in July 2012.

Scott and Julie began going to Kinnickinnic Town Board meetings in August 2012. They received the first liquor license ever issued by the town of Kinnickinnic during the town board’s regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 7.

65 Vines is the first winery in the town of Kinnickinnic, and the first winery in St. Croix County, Scott said.

He said the town board and county board were also concerned about the effect of extra traffic on roads and noise levels for the neighborhood.

65 Vines will be open by appointment only, noon-6 p.m., Friday -Sunday, September through November. Scott said this limited availability should minimize traffic and noise.

In addition, Julie said the winery will only host about 12 visitors at a time.

Scott said he and Julie eventually want their business to be their only jobs. But for now, Julie is an oncology nurse at Fairview Hospital in the Twin Cities area.

Scott and Julie are planning a soft opening in the first week of September and a grand opening in the third week of September.

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Look for the full story in the Jan. 23 print edition of the River Falls Journal.