Beautiful vines and a park-like setting are what sets Round Lake Vineyard and Winery apart from others, says Scott Ellenbecker. He and wife Jenny have grown their operation to 27 acres, the largest winery-vineyard operation in Minnesota today. They’re located on Round Lake south of Worthington.
“We got into the vineyard business because we had 10 acres of tillable ground and cash rent didn’t turn much revenue,” Scott said. “We also like hobbies that include working with our hands.”
The social aspect of the winery has always appealed to Scott and Jenny, too. “It’s a lot of fun to visit with people about wine,” Scott said. They also liked how their kids—who were teenagers when they started the winery—could learn about responsibility while enjoying a family hobby.
“With rolling hills covered with vines in one direction and a lake in the other,
we have a beautiful and unique place,” Scott said. “Southwest Initiative Foundation gave us a boost to be a destination winery for more than drinking wine.”
Their banker told the Ellenbeckers about Southwest Initiative Foundation. Through our Business Finance Program, we were able to help finance a loan package for their event space expansion.
“Having a building to host large groups has made us a destination location for those needing a special wedding reception venue,” Scott said. “We also get many off the interstate. In the last two weekends, we’ve had people stop on their way to another state and ended up staying here for music and then stopping in Worthington overnight. In both cases, they didn’t plan on even stopping in Minnesota.”
Southwest Initiative Foundation has invested in other southwest Minnesota wineries and breweries, including Brau Brothers Brewing Co. in Marshall, Glacial Ridge Winery near Spicer, and the Historic 313 on Fourth Street building that houses Foxhole Brewhouse in Willmar.
Read more about our connections to this industry here. The story even has a handy map of wineries and breweries in our region.