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AREA BUSINESS NOTEBOOK: Three wineries featured in magazine

Wineries in Hastings, Cannon Falls and Red Wing are highlighted in the September/October edition of AAA Living magazine.

Author Berit Thorkelson leads several of her old school friends on a tour of the Three Rivers Wine Trail, visiting Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings, Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls and Falconer Vineyards in Red Wing.

They find the ideal spot they are looking for at Falconer Vineyards, a place where "bands play monthly and Harvest time volunteers rest."

Thorkelson starts her article by commenting on the "not Minnesota" feel of vineyards, describes some of the hybrid grape varieties that can tolerate harsh winters, and offers this conclusion: "the combination of Minnesota and grapes feels perfectly natural."

Cooperative goal

Paul Bauer has a simple goal during his tenure as chief executive officer and general manager of the Ellsworth Co-op Creamery.

"To keep up the tradition they've established," he said. "They've got a great group of people here that have done a quality job."

Bauer recently replaced Ken McMahon, who retired after 14 years with the company.

The Wausau, Wis., native's first choice for a career was a veterinarian. However, he didn't like the sight of blood. So Bauer, who grew up on a dairy farm, turned to agriculture. He attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and earned a degree in the field.

After graduation, Bauer spent five years working as a dairy farm specialist for the Kraft plant in Antigo, Wis., before joining the Ellsworth creamery.

Downsville upturn

Also in Pierce County, The Creamery in Downsville has new owners.

Terry Vajgrt bought The Creamery along with his wife, Paula, his brother Clay and his wife, Jennifer. They recently reopened it after a remodel.

"I wanted to freshen it up and give it a more modern feel," Vajgrt said. "We put in some love and some color, and we contemporized it."

The Creamery will have a staff of 45, including chefs and attendants. It will be open every day but Wednesday at 5 p.m., and there will be a weekend brunch at 10 a.m.

Grand times

Grand openings and commemorations galore are coming up in Red Wing.

• Perkin's celebrates its 15th anniversary on Friday, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m.

• White Rock Bank celebrates its new branch location in the Cogel Phelps Building downtown on Sept. 23. There will be a ribbon-cutting at 11 a.m. and an open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Hanna No Eau Custom Framing & Art will have its grand opening Sept. 27. There will be a ribbon-cutting at 1 p.m. and a sale, raffle and snacks from 1 to 6 p.m.

Business After Hours

The Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce will have its Business After Hours event at Ebenezer at Fairview Sept. 23, starting at 5:15 p.m.