La Dolce Vita (Our Interviews & Upcoming Events)
We invite people to our Funny Farm Laughter Club. It meets every Sat. at 11 am. We practice Laughter Yoga for one hour. Laughter Yoga is an exercise, routine anyone can do, that promotes happiness, health, and peace.
Laughter Club is free but sometimes people want to pay something. We suggest they donate to “NJ Farmers Against Hunger.”
Matt Williams, Hawkins Organic. 903 769 1017
Full Name of Business & Address.
11 Wells Spirits Co.
704 Minnehaha Ave N
Saint Paul, MN 55106
Website & Contact Information.
What are your hours?
Cocktail Room, 5-9 Thursday, 5-10 Friday, 4-10 Saturday
Tours of the distillery by appointment.
Please answer these in more detail...
1. How does your business represent the ideals of craftsmanship and artisan quality?
11 Well Spirits prides itself on using Minnesota grown grains and MN Barrels to produce handcrafted whiskies, rums, and other craft spirits in small batches from grain to bottle. All of our spirits are produced in house and aged on site. Each whiskey released is selected and blended to reflect our vision of each variety we produce.
2. What is your story? How did the business come to be?
Located in the historic Hamm's Brewery on Minnehaha Avenue in St. Paul, 11 Wells is proud to be part of the revitalization of the Payne Avenue Corridor. 11 Wells is found in the old Blacksmith and Millwright Shop buildings on the vast Hamm's site. These buildings are home to our production facility and Cocktail Room. 11 Wells was founded on our passion for making great whiskey and spirits from farm field to glass for our customers and community. We believe in handcrafting spirits born from both tradition and experimentation to develop our versions of classic as well as innovative products. Drawing on the deep moon-shining and bootlegging traditions of Sterns County, Minnesota, made nationally famous by Al Capone during prohibition, 11 Wells uses heritage varieties of grain including MN 13 corn released by the University of Minnesota in 1897. Standing on the traditions of our state's agricultural spirit and distilling history, and experimenting with new and exciting methods and ingredients we tie history and innovation together.
3. What makes your company unique and/or special?
11 Wells is Veteran owned and operated. We are very involved in the local community and participate in many community fundraising activities. Our use of heritage varieties of grain and our relationship with our farmers allows us to make the kind of spirits we enjoy, and our customers love.
4. What is your personal favorite beverage you produce? Why?
My personal favorite is our Straight Rye whiskey, It's rich and bold, with lots of subtle spice and oak undertones that drinks well any time.
5. Do you have any events coming up? Tell us about them...
RagApple Lassie Vineyards and Winery
Voted Finalist - Best New Winery in US
by The Wine Appreciation Guild.
Open daily noon to six
3724 RagApple Lassie Lane
1-866-RagApple or 336.367.6000
Their Favorite “Hobson’s Choice”
Type: Red Reserve!
Our Rating = 9/10
Special Note = Sourced 100% from the Vineyards of RagApple Lassie.
***This wine absolutely DID reflect the overall location and region it is produced.
QUESTION: How did you name your Winery? Can you tell us the story?
Once upon a time in the land of Yadkin, near the heart of what is now the Yadkin Valley Wine Appellation Region, Frank W. Hobson, Jr. and his wife, Lenna, grew 125 acres of tobacco, rotated the land with crops of corn, wheat and soybeans and expected to happily continue this routine for many years to come. Then came the demise of tobacco giving rise to Frank’s worst nightmare: that his beloved family farm would become a housing development. So with the unwavering goal of finding a ‘Plan B’ that would allow the farm to remain agricultural and profitable, Frank began a hunt that ended with the planting of a vineyard in 2000 and the subsequent construction of a winery in 2002.
Confident that the burgeoning viticulture industry had great potential and would also honor the goals of Frank and Lenna to keep the land agricultural and profitable for the next generation, planting a vineyard was a natural choice. Frank planted the first vineyards in April 2000 and after a season of watching the his first grape vines take root, grow and thrive, Frank and Lenna looked at each other and said: “Let’s get both feet wet! Let’s plant more vines, hire a professional winemaker, build a winery and become real vintners!!” After the decision was made to enter the arena of vintners, Lenna and Frank Hobson named their vineyards and subsequent winery after Frank’s championship show calf. RagApple Lassie, a registered Holstein, was given to Frank by his father to raise as his 4-H Show Calf in l956. In the fifties it was de rigueur for farm boys (and girls) to have a show calf, and Frank did such a good job caring for and training RagApple Lassie that together they won the Grand Championship Trophy at the 1957 North Carolina State Fair.
Hence, the RagApple Lassie Vineyards logo is RagApple Lassie wearing the ubiquitous black cocktail dress , appropriate jewelry baubles, and swinging on the ‘Carolina Moon’ with knees together and ankles crossed just as all Southern belles are taught. This depiction of RagApple on a new moon,
indicative of a “new” beginning, venture, etc. adorns all things RagApple Lassie, including, of course, the signature Holstein design. An additional nuance of the logo is the left facing crescent which is a symbol of ‘Good Luck’ in Chinese lore (as opposed to the traditional right facing crescent)!
RagApple Lassie Winery is constructed of common galvalume and concrete. Designed by UNC
Charlotte School of Architecture Graduating Seniors led by their Professor Greg Snyder, it was designed to look like typical farm buildings in Yadkin County complete with the requisite silo. However, that is where ‘typical’ ends. The silo houses a circular staircase that leads to the underground wine cellar where wine is aged in French and American oak casks. A forty feet wide wall mural painted by a local artist, Janet Key, depicts the romance and mystique of vineyards.
The winery’s main entrance is via a catwalk running along the North wall ceiling allowing one to look down upon the fermentation tanks, the Wine Tasting Room and the entrance to the Wine Cellar. The catwalk displays pictures of Frank with RagApple Lassie, pictures of the first grape harvest, and other family mementos. Parading across a large wall at the end of catwalk is a storyboard titled “A Year in the
Life of a Vineyard” outlining the monthly activities required to maintain a vineyard.
RagApple Lassie Vineyards, its owners and winemaker have garnered lots of great publicity and many awards for its stable of fine wines, but don’t take our word for it! Come taste for yourself! As the only winery in North Carolina owned by career farmers, you will be welcomed every day year ‘round except Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, noon to six pm, as a special guest , and at least one family member is always present in the tasting room.
Guests are encouraged to linger, ask questions, check the score of the day’s big game on the big screen TV, enjoy a leisurely glass of wine, walk through the vineyards, or enjoy a picnic on the grounds.
According to Frank, getting from ‘Point A’ (a five hundred acre farm growing tobacco, corn, wheat and soybeans) to ‘Point B’ (the planting of a vineyard in 2000) to THE ‘PLAN B’ (construction of a winery in 2002) was a “hell of a ride,” but both Frank and Lenna say the ‘trip’ has been phenomenal , and they would do it all over again! They’re having a great time!
QUESTION: Do you have a "personal favorite" in terms of your wine?
Hobson’s Choice: RagApple Lassie Vineyards Owner, Frank Hobson, waited seven long years for a wine
worthy of his name to emerge as the first Grand Reserve. Now, after another seven years, the second Hobson’s Choice Reserve has vaulted onto the stage with the verve and
class of a major leading lady!
“Hobson’s Choice” is the famous phrase from Seventeenth Century England which loosely, translated means ‘what you see is what you get’ and this alone would be a perfect description of Frank even if his name was not Hobson!!
In the true style of all outstanding vintners, each special grape variety (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Zinfandel), was hand- picked over a couple of seasons specifically for this blend, fermented and aged separately and then blended without regard to vintage, into an awesome wine worthy of your discriminating
palate and the name Hobson’s Choice RESERVE!
Five years in the making, this wine has the finesse and style of a polished lady with its perfect balance of oak and fruit, yet its wonderful, long, silky taste is as seductive as the eyes of a beautiful lady coyly following your every move. Exuding rich, meaty Bordeaux style with the divine aroma of Cab Sauv, characters of cherries, chocolates, blackberries and the sultriness of smoke, the pleasure of this lady will remain on your palate and in your mind, long after the last sip!
QUESTION: What's in store or special in terms of 2018? Any cool events upcoming?
MAY 12 – PART-TIME PARTY-TIME BAND
JUNE 23 – THE ENTERTAINERS
JULY 14 – THE PLAIDS
AUGUST 11 – THE CASTAWAYS
SEPTEMBER 15 – THE CATALINAS