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We make world class wines from grapes grown by us and our friends. We use technology to make our raw wines. We rely on our senses and blending to produce our finished wines. We believe that the combination of technology, our skill at blending and our patience in aging wines will allow us to create outstanding, well-balanced wines.

COVID-19: Our wine making is little affected by COVID-19. We continue to grow grapes. We have completed fermentation of our 2020 vintage. We’re in the process of transferring our red wines to barrels for aging in our new barrel room. We will have enough wine from this vintage. However, tours of our production facility have been suspended.

The Winemakers

We believe that two winemakers are better than one. Each winemaker has an individual set of sensory skills and perceptions. Our winemakers explore, challenge, and, hopefully, discover which winemaking techniques are best for our grapes.

Villa bellezza Wine Tasting

Derick Dahlen is the Head Winemaker and is responsible for the development of product concepts and winemaking processes. He also leads Villa Bellezza’s wine blending team. He believes in tradition and innovation in winemaking; tradition in aging reds in oak, and innovation in aging whites with acacia. Technology is used where helpful in testing, production control and harvesting.

Katie Kujak - Villa Bellezza Staff

Katherine Kujak joined Villa Bellezza for her first harvest in 2013. She received her B.S. Degree in Enology from California State University, Fresno, and improved her craft by working harvests in California, Chile, and New Zealand. She applies these experiences to help create World Class wines at Villa Bellezza. Katherine is responsible for day-to-day operations of the winery and participates in all decisions regarding winemaking. She is also responsible for training wine sales and hospitality staff on wine.

She is also committed to training her Italian Spinone, Brunello, on how to be an effective vineyard dog. Brunello is less committed.

Vineyard Grapes

The Grapes

Our wines are made from grape varieties that are suited for our terroir. Our red grapes are V. vinifera hybrids. Our white grapes are both V. vinifera hybrids and selections of north American selections. Our grapes include:

Reds

  • Marquette

  • Frontenac

  • Marechal Foch

  • Petit Pearl

  • St. Croix

Whites

  • La Crescent

  • Brianna

  • Prairie Star

  • St. Pepin

  • Edelweiss

  • Itasca

The Vineyards

We want the best possible grapes from which to make our wine. We have selected different terroir for our red and our whites.

Our red wine grapes are grown on sandy soils above Lake Pepin. The sand provides heat to ripen our grapes, producing more intense aromas and more concentrated flavors.

Our white wine grapes are grown on loam soils at higher elevations. Cooler temperatures allow development of more subtle aromas and flavors.

Cold temperatures in the middle of winter and bud killing frost in spring can be a threat to our crop. With our newest plantings, we sculpted the land to allow the cold air to drain away. In other problematic areas, we will rely on the use of specialized vineyard heaters to increase the air temperature.

As grapes ripen, they are at risk from the fall migration of birds along the Mississippi Flyway. To protect our crop, we use a laser to scan our vineyards and deter the birds from eating the fruit.

Villa Bellezza Winery Aerial View

Villa Bellezza

Varieties: Frontenac Gris, Frontenac Blanc, Marquette, Prairie Star, LaCrescent, Petit Pearl, Foch, St. Pepin
Vineyard Size: 5.5 acres
Soil Type: Sandy
Planted: 2010-2013

Villa Bellezza Winery

Casa della Pantera

Varieties: Frontenac, St. Pepin, Marquette, Edelweiss, Itasca
Vineyard Size: 5 acres
Soil Type: Silt Loam
Planted: 2003, 2017, 2018

Sopra del Lago Vineyard

Sopra del Lago

Varieties: Foch, Marquette, Frontenac, Swenson Red, Brianna, St. Pepin, LaCrescent
Vineyard size: 10 acres
Soil Type: Sandy
Planted: 2016, 2018, 2019

La Macchina

La Vendemmia / The Harvest

As the fruit ripens, we monitor the vineyards daily, using both our sensory skills and our OenoFoss to monitor chemistry. We seek to balance sugar and acidity. We decide when to pick based on chemistry, aroma, and flavor. We pick the fruit at the right time by using Gian Carlo, our Pellenc mechanical harvester which can pick up to 4 tons per hour.

The Winemaking Process

Winemaking

Once the fruit arrives on the Crushpad, it is quickly processed to begin fermentation. White grapes are destemmed and pressed to a stainless-steel tank. The juice is clarified through flotation– a process that uses Nitrogen bubbles to float the grape solids to the top of the tank. The clarified wine is then racked, taken from the bottom of the tank.

Grapes for red wine are destemmed but not pressed. They are then fermented on the skins, often whole berry. Twice a day, we pump the fermenting juice over the cap of grapes to keep the juice in contact with skins. We press the red grapes after fermentation is complete and the skins have imparted the flavors that we desire. Soon after, we transfer our red wines to be aged in barrels before being released as a ‘Reserve.’

For both white and red wines, we carefully select specific yeast strains to ferment each wine and use temperature-controlled tanks to promote fresh fruit aromas and flavors. During fermentation, we frequently test the fermenting juice to ensure that the wine is progressing well.

Barrel Inspection

“Vin Che Dorme” / Sleeping Wine

For aging our reserves, we constructed a new, specialized red wine facility where the wine can peacefully sleep until it is ready to be bottled and released to our customers. ‘Vin che Dorme’ is comprised of thick, concrete walls to create a stable environment for the wine with temperature and humidity control. We use French Oak barrels, at different toasting levels, to create structure and complexity in our Reserves. Our new red wine building reflects of our commitment to making world class red wine.

Wine Blending

Blending

Most of our wines are blends of different raw wines or blends of different barrels of wines. We blend to achieve balance and complexity in the finished product. Old World wineries have long blended wines. We, at Villa Bellezza, follow this practice to create our wines.

Join our Wine Club

Il Circolo Wine Club

The Il Circolo Club Room is located in our red wine production facility adjacent to Vin che Dorme. For those who want to be closer to Villa Bellezza wines, you can become a member of our Il Circolo Wine Club.

Join the Club