Urban Winery AxeBridge Opens In North Loop

AxeBridge Wine Company is a full-production winery from the family behind Schram Vineyards, and their brewery, Schram Haus (3:33) WCCO 4 Saturday Morning - March 27, 2021

Video Transcript

- An urban winery opens today in Minneapolis. AxeBridge Wine Company is a full production winery from the family behind Schram Vineyards and their brewery Schram House. We checked out the winery in the North Loop and talked with the owner about the experience.

AARON SCHRAM: This AxeBridge concept is an urban winery. In this case, we have to manufacture it here. So we bring in raw grapes and juice and actually ferment it and make it into wine. And so we have a production facility along with education classes. All those deeper stories that you'll get, way above what a wine bar will do.

- You said so you think about it as a winery without the--

AARON SCHRAM: The vineyard.

- Without the vineyard.

AARON SCHRAM: Yeah, yeah. And we're going to tell the vineyard story. We just can't show you as easily as walking out there and seeing the grapes. So we have eight growers throughout the state that grow for us. I'd love to say we have it all ourselves. But we don't have vineyards of that size.

But the neat part is these eight also have their unique story. We have a growers wall. So when you walk in, we're gonna also tell their story as well.

- What is the experience you're hoping that people feel when they come in here? What can they expect?

AARON SCHRAM: Yeah. So once they come to the host stand, I call it choose your adventure, right? You might be here just for a social call with your friends. And this is some of the most sought-after wine right now in the Midwest. You can come and have a sampling, come in and sample our different products and get a little bit of history there.

- That's really nice.

AARON SCHRAM: The third part is a seated wine tasting. And that's what I encourage anybody that's into wine at all to come and experience. This is the actual grape that is Marquette. There, we're going to talk about Minnesota.

- It's very smooth.

AARON SCHRAM: What we do at the University of Minnesota to develop these new types of grapes that are much more intimate than even California in a lot of cases, right? And so everybody loves this. If you get a sense of that story of what you're consuming and the stories behind them, you have a lot better relationship. And when you talk about local, there's nothing more local than a local wine.

- Now you have the Schram out in Laconia. Why do an urban winery? And why this location?

AARON SCHRAM: Yeah. That winery got up and running. It was very successful for us. We all grew it though a little bit too in terms of size and capacity. And so one of the bigger growers in the state approached us and said, hey, I want to sell just to you. I love your wine that much. And so that was our catalyst to say, hey, let's do a second location. We're going to have enough volume to do that and expand Minnesota wine into a market that's never seen it before.

And so naturally, Minneapolis, North Loop is one of these areas where just we fell in love with the art, the culture, the people, the restaurants. Checked all our boxes about, hey, if we're going to put something, this is probably the spot to do it in.

And this second location was three years in the making. This wasn't an overnight adventure. COVID hit, and we got delays and all those things. But ultimately, this location proved to be, I think, one of the best between foot traffic and also easibility for the whole metro, just North Loop.

- Opening day, what's your hope for your new winery?

AARON SCHRAM: If there's anything for me is that winning people over, not from what I would call from the standpoint of just entertainment. That's fine. Winning them over from wine, that's important to me, right? So when they come through the door, I want them to be the community winery. I want them to feel that this is their winery.

And so that, to me, is the most critical part, that I want to make sure they walk through the door and go, oh, god, this is great. I love this. You know what? I don't need to go to California. I can actually come here and get really good wine and make it their own.

- All right, AxeBridge Winery opens today at noon. It's first come, first served, more of a walk-in reservation system to start. And if you're wondering about the name, the couples kids are Axel and Bridget. So the name is a nod to them. And part of the bigger vision, they say, is of axing the idea of what Minnesota wine is, what people think it is, and building a bridge to showcase the quality of it. We have more information at wcco.com/links.