AxeBridge Wine Company Opening in Minneapolis North Loop Next Spring
Ashley and Aaron Schram of Schram Vineyards Winery and Brewery develop their vision for a new urban winery
IIt’s been a busy year for Ashley and Aaron Schram, owners of Schram Vineyards in Waconia, Minnesota’s first winery and brewery combination. The Schrams launched their modern German-inspired Schram Haus brewery and brewery this spring, the first brewery in Chaska for over 60 years. Now their next project, AxeBridge Wine Company, takes them straight to the heart of Minneapolis in the North Loop.
“When we decided to expand to have two wineries, I thought we had to bring it to an area that is booming, and where nothing like that exists today,” says Aaron Schram . “North Loop seemed a perfect fit for all restaurants, breweries and people who appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship we will have with our wines and space.”
AxeBridge Wine Company will be Minneapolis’ third urban winery behind Urban Forage Winery and Cidery in the Longfellow neighborhood and Number 12 Cider in the North Loop, respectively. But it will be the first winery in the North Loop to produce wine from grapes on site when it opens in late spring next year.
As Schram’s two wineries will complement each other, they have decided to launch the project under a new brand. Ashley says they made this decision because AxeBridge will have their own winery operations, and they believe the urban winery experience will be markedly different than their on-farm winery.
The name AxeBridge Wine Company itself is both a nod to the couple’s children, Axel and Bridget, and a metaphor for their grand vision. “Making wine in Minnesota and having a winery in an urban setting are two things that can still be met with skepticism. We want to eliminate any preconceptions of what a winery should be, and build the bridge between agriculture and the city and bring them together,” says Ashley. “We are making locally produced wine and the experience of a winery more accessible by bridging this gap.”
Located in the Internet Exchange Building at 411 Washington Avenue, renovations are underway to the space that will feature a natural color palette and elements and textures that will bring that vineyard feel indoors.
“It’s a good place. We have fantastic breweries that are doing well and we think [the winery] will be well received, and it’s a different concept,” says Tim Bildsoe, president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association. “What we’re seeing is a creative trend in the North Loop with media, marketing and the arts. It’s a perfect fit.
Plans for the 10,000 square foot space include a tasting bar, multiple lounges, private tasting rooms, a VIP club room, 3,000 square feet for production and an outdoor patio. A small kitchen will provide culinary options that accompany the wine. The Schrams will source grapes from multiple vineyards with an emphasis on local growers, and ferment, bottle and sell wine on site.
“It’s not just a wine bar, it will be a real winery since we will be producing wine on site. We will take the elements that have made our existing winery work and bring them to this new location, such as tastings and tours, people seeing the wine being made, winemaker experiences and unique tastings from the barrel,” explains Aaron.
Likewise, they will borrow from their techniques in Waconia for new and distinct wines at the North Loop winery, including a barrel program for reds, different recipes for their rosé and blushes working with the local New Itasca varietal, and some hors of the state varieties of California and Washington.
“There has been tremendous progress over the past several years with Minnesota grapes, as we and other quality wine producers in the state continue to win new consumers with our quality varietals and wines. and award-winning,” says Ashley. “The grapes that we can grow have evolved over the past few decades and we now have some really fantastic varieties to work with in winemaking.”