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Experts to drink up at U of M's Cold Climate Wine Competition

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Nearly 300 wines from 66 wineries in 12 states and Canada will be sampled and judged Friday the fifth annual International Cold Climate Wine Competition at the University of Minnesota, The Associated Press reports.

The competition is one-of-a-kind event for wines made from fruit grown in cold climates.

Awards will be handed out in 31 categories, based on blind tastings by 21 judges. The panel includes prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers and wine educators.

The competition comes after a study last month by the U of M that examined the sustainability of the state's booming wine industry.

The study, conducted by U of M Extension center found that state-made wine grew to a nearly $60 million industry in 2011, and created 3,250 jobs in the process.

MinnPost reports that state-made wines make up about 1 percent of all wine sales.

Cold climate wines tend to be lighter, lower in alcohol content and are sweeter.

Friday's competition is the result of a partnership between the Minnesota Grape Growers Association and the U of M.

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