Kathy, Steve, and Luke Watrin

Kanabec County
2019

Kathy and Steve purchased their land in 1990. Corn and soybeans had been growing on the farm and the Watrins converted to alfalfa in 1993 to help rebuild the soil. The land remained in hay production until 2006 when the first 500 of the family’s grape plants were planted. 

The Watrins’ son, Luke, wrapped up his studies at South Dakota State University in 2009 and the family’s business plan moved forward with 10 acres of grapes and a winery. Each year, the Watrins planted an additional 1 to 2 acres of grapes from the University of Minnesota grape program. The vineyard now has 6,300 vines producing 50 tons of wine grapes, on average, per year.

The Watrins are in a partnership with each member of the family owning a third share. The vineyard and winery are each their own business entity. Luke manages the vineyard with support from Kathy and Steve. Luke is also the manager for seasonal labor and he maintains the equipment. 

In 2017, the winery was completed and licensed. The first crush of the Watrins’ grapes went into tanks. In August the following year, a kitchen and retail sampling room opened. Steve manages the winery. Kathy manages the sampling room. They both have financial management responsibilities.

The Watrins are members of a variety of community and agriculture organizations including the Mora Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, and Dala Business Women. The family is also involved in the Minnesota Grape Growers Cooperative, Minnesota Grape Growers Association, Minnesota Farm Winery Association and Minnesota Grown.

 

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