Wisconsin, one of the leading dairy producers in the USA, is famous for its beer and houses the headquarters of the Miller Brewing Company. However, it’s not beer just that is well-loved here. Wine is popular too and there’s an impressive tally of more than 80 wineries across the state.
These wineries each offer something special, and while some follow wine industry trends closely, others stick to a tried and tested approach. Regardless, there are plenty of twine farms that deserve a visit
The Oldest Winery in Wisconsin
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The oldest of the licensed wineries in Wisconsin is the von Stiehl Winery, which was built by immigrants in 1868 just after the Civil War. In 1967 it was bought by a local physician Doctor Stiehl who wanted to sell his cherry wine legally.
Grapes from Door County and Kewaunee County orchards and other carefully selected vineyards go into making the von Stiehl wine which is stored in underground tunnels. More than 40 types of wine are on offer which you can sip next to the fireplace in winter or enjoy outdoors while gazing meditatively at the Algoma Harbor.
Opening hours are between 10am to 4pm and if you choose the gorgeous, gently-sloping terrace, you can dance to music presented by a live band. On weekends in July, a host of amazing bands will get you boogying and shimmying.
Take a Step Into the Past
One of the most enchanting of the Wisconsin wineries is Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard. Visiting this magnificent building is like stepping into another time as it is based on the style of a European castle. It includes an art gallery, a vineyard, a carriage house with stables and a fishing pond. Here you can enjoy buying from a gift shop, dining and sampling from a choice of different wines including white, rose, red and dessert wines.
You can sit outside and enjoy the view of a majestic garden leading to the verdant vineyard. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the winery is open for wine tasting on the other days of the week between 11am and 6pm. Find out more about the old-world charm of the winery with walk-in tours (which are free and open to all ages) or private tours.
Private tours require advanced bookings and they are perfect for family outings, a group of friends celebrating an event such as a birthday, corporate events and bachelorette parties. After a tour of the winery, you can appease your taste buds with a wine-tasting session that includes a cheese and cracker platter for 10 people.
Some of the red wines available include:
- Buckhunter Red, a medium-bodied blend that has undertones of blackberry and bramble fruit.
- The Cabernet Sauvignon also has hints of blackberry with delicious chocolate notes and tannins that are sure to please Cabernet lovers.
Beautiful Artisan Wines on Offer
Visiting hours at Pieper Porch Winery and Vineyard are between 11.00am – 5.00pm from Friday to Sunday. You can taste five types of wine for free and if you buy a bottle, you are welcome to sit and enjoy it in the large outdoor seating area. Although Pieper Porch Winery does not serve food, you can bring your own.
In the winter months, you can enjoy your tasting in the tasting room, making this the best winery in Wisconsin for colder visits. If fruity wines are your thing, this is just the place for you and in the hot summer months, you can enjoy a wine slushy.
Pieper Porch Winery and Vineyard is proud of their artisan wines which are not mass-produced and which include:
- River Road Red, a lightly oaked cabernet/merlot
- Red Fox which is finished with a peppery spice and goes well with hot food and
- Big Bear Red, a full-bodied wine that pairs well with red meat, fish or cheese.
You can book wine tastings at Cedar Creek Winery on Saturdays and their opening hours are Monday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. The winery is a historic building which was constructed as a wool mill in 1864 until it was converted into a winery. The limestone underground cellars provide an excellent environment for ageing the wines.
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People enjoy visiting Cedar Creek Winery for free tastings in a splendid outdoor setting. There is a shop in the winery, and you will also find shops and restaurants right next door. An array of wines on offer ranges from dry to sweet and includes both red and white varietals.
If you want to experience one of the best Wisconsin wineries you are sure to love the Wollersheim Winery, a dreamy hillside retreat that boasts a rich history. The land was discovered in 1840 by a Hungarian nobleman, Agoston Harazthy and was converted to a winery in 1972 by Robert and JoAnn Wollersheim.
It has grown into a thriving business with some rating it as one of the best wineries in Wisconsin. The tasting room is open every day of the week from 12pm until 5pm and you can choose from:
- A Seat Wine & Cocktail Tasting
- Wine Flight Tasting or
- A Winery Guided Walking Tour
The guided walking tour is highly recommended because it includes the history of the winery and the pleasure of sampling three delectable wines. Wollersheim Winery has a first-class bistro where you can dine on delicious food, paired with wines of your choice.
The winery offers red, white and blush wines and ports. It also offers ice wine, a dessert wine that is produced from grapes that are frozen while on the vine resulting in the development of a concentrated grape juice. If you love wine with fruity tones, taste the Prairie Sunburst which is made from Foch grapes and tastes of raspberries.
If you visit the Midwest, spend a weekend discovering some of the Wisconsin wineries, when you can drink the best locally produced wine near a meandering river or you can take in the beauty of a magnificent vineyard. If you visit in the late summer, you can enjoy a variety of harvest festivals such as live music or grape stomping. Don’t forget to take a bottle or three back home to remind you of your time spent at the best wineries in Wisconsin.