Greg and Lisa Cook, the founders of 4e Winery, are originally from Michigan. However, their love of good wine was developed during a few years spent living in California. The couple moved to the Valley in 1996 for Greg’s first job as a professor of chemistry.
Greg has been interested in fermentation and wine-making since he was young. In fact, he made his first batch of wine from mulberries in his parents’ basement when he was only 15. No, he did not drink it, and yes, it was terrible.
Greg started his hobby as a home winemaker shortly after arriving in North Dakota. At the time, he used whatever fruit was available, which was sometimes a vegetable. His first real wine was made with rhubarb from his backyard. Fast forward 15 years to when cold climate grapes became increasingly available in the upper mid-west, including North Dakota, and Greg asked the question that would launch their next adventure: ‘What if we just started looking for a place to maybe open a winery someday?’
Greg and Lisa quickly found an old farmstead for sale just outside of Casselton, North Dakota. The farmstead was actually part of one of the original Bonanza Farms in the late 1800s, owned by Oliver Dalrymple and passed down through his family until it was eventually sold by former Governor Jack Dalrymple in 1992. They purchased the 16 acre farmstead in the spring of 2012 and spent three years planting grapes and turning the original 1901 farmhouse into a tasting room and winery, which they opened in July of 2015.
What They Serve
Greg and Lisa believe that wine is all about “place” and should reflect the land upon which it was made. Because of this, almost all of the wine they make at 4e Winery is from grapes and other fruits that grow, or can be grown, in this part of the country. All of the grapes that they use are cold climate grapes that have been developed specifically to survive our harsh winters and to make good wine.
They have about a quarter-acre of Frontenac grapes used in their estate grown Frontenac wine that they make as a dry, oaked red wine. They also have, at any given time, about a dozen offerings of wine, ranging from dry to sweet, white to rose to red.
“We develop our wine list to appeal to a range of palates, while ‘listening’ to what the fruit wants to become,” Greg said.
One of their more unique wines is one they released for the first time this year called Polar Light which is made from the Haskap berry, also called honeyberry. The Haskap berry is a berry with a “tropical blueberry” taste that thrives in our climate, but isn’t common in this area yet according to the Cooks. They use this berry to make a delicious and uniquely fruity, sweet wine.
(Left to Right)
1. The Bison Tail wine is a sweet sip. Enjoy this fruity wine while enjoying the wonderful label artwork by Barbara Benda Nagle.
2. Enjoy the Polar Light wine, made from a blend of Aurora and Borealis varieties of haskap (honeyberries).
3. For a dryer taste, try their Marquette wine. This is aged with both American and French oak.
Food For Thought: 4e Winery offers an extensive menu of vegan and vegetarian offerings.
Where and When to Find Their Products
Their wines are available at their tasting room during their regular season, as well as at the Red River Market in Fargo every Saturday that it is open. The Cooks also participate in the Pride of Dakota Fargo Holiday Showcase every November. A variety of their wines are also available at the following Fargo retail stores: all three Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop stores, the Spirit Shop, Bernie’s Liquors on South University, Bottle Barn in West Fargo and the Osgood Hornbacher’s Wine and Spirits. You can enjoy a glass of their dry rhubarb wine at Nichole’s Fine Pastries & Cafe in Fargo. Also, the Nome Schoolhouse in Nome, ND offers 4e Wine exclusively.
Using Their Space
4e offers a space with great views of the prairie. The space can be rented for events such as bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate events and more. Information on renting their private event space can be found on their website at 4ewinery. com.
When The Tasting Room is Open
Their tasting room is open May through October and their summer hours are typically 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
During the spring and fall, they are open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
“We may also hold special events during our off-season,” the Cooks said.