Situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is perhaps best known for its famous breweries, but there’s more to the city than beer and big-bearded guys. Milwaukee has a growing wine scene ̶ both vineyards and wineries.
While not in the league of California’s Napa Valley, Wisconsin wines are coming into their own and attracting quite a lot of wine lovers from the upper Midwest areas. The wine industry in Wisconsin is becoming a major part of the state’s economy.
Milwaukee also has quite a large wine bar scene even though the city is known for its brews, sports bars and restaurants.
This is a round-up of 6 of the best wineries near Milwaukee. Sit back as we guide your choices as to which winery to visit, and what kind of wine experience can you expect. There’s lots to discover despite the wine industry being quite small.
Most of the wineries are located within a few hours’ drive of bigger cities such as Madison and Milwaukee, making visits to wineries the perfect day trip.
Winemaking in Wisconsin
Grape growing in Wisconsin dates back to the 1800s. Its first modern winery was Von Stiehl Winery, established in 1967. Wisconsin has around 100 wineries, and there are between 15to 20 wineries around Milwaukee to explore.
But what about that cold climate one may well ask? The wines produced in Wisconsin’s unlikely climate are the result of years of selection, cultivation and hybridisation of many grape varieties. With only 80 to 180 frost-free days across different parts of the state in an average year, Wisconsin’s cold climate and soil pH is not particularly hospitable to many wine grapes.
Despite this, the upper Midwest has good soil and micro-climates for grapes and fruits and a hybrid, cold-hardy grape.
Some fun facts
What’s the largest winery in Milwaukee? Wollersheim Winery & Distillery is the largest winery in Milwaukee. Located on a scenic hillside overlooking the Wisconsin River, Wollersheim Winery has long been part of the Midwest’s wine legacy.
What’s the oldest winery in Milwaukee? Visit von Stiehl Winery, Wisconsin’s oldest licensed winery, which has been crafting wine from carefully selected vineyards from the West Coast since 1967.
How many wineries are in Milwaukee? There are around 15 wineries near Milwaukee.
Let’s not beat about the bush and get to that list of the 6 best wineries you must try in Milwaukee.
6 Best Wineries Around Milwaukee
Milwaukeeans are known for the beer brewing scene, but winemaking is growing. Whether it’s just a glass or a bottle or two that you’re after, these six wineries are just a stone’s throw from Milwaukee, and they’re well worth visiting.
Cedar Creek Winery
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This is arguably the Greater Milwaukee area’s best winery. This family-owned winery in the quaint town of Cedarburg offers beautiful scenery on the river while tasting a variety of wines.
Open Daily, Sun-Sat: 10am-5pm. Wine Tastings are available by reservation on most Saturdays.
Apple Works Winery (Germantown)
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Located 20 minutes Northwest of Milwaukee, Apple Works Winery is on a vineyard that used to be an orchard. The winery produces barrel-aged red sand crisp whites together with a Reserve Collection. The wine tasting room provides a warm experience for punters to learn about their winemaking process and taste a variety of wines from dry to semi-sweet.
The winery is open year-round for guests and private events. Visitors of 21+ years of age are welcome to enjoy wine tasting flights, wine by the glass or bottle, cheese, and antipasto platters, as well as flatbread pizzas during select hours.
Enjoy the summer months on our beautiful patio and the winter months by our brick fireplace! We heat our outdoor tent in the winter months too.
Carry-ins and pets are not permitted. Apple Works Winery is open Thursday-Sunday from 12pm-8pm, except Sundays when they close up at 5pm.
Pieper Porch Winery & Vineyard (Waukesha)
This family-owned winery and vineyard is located just outside of Milwaukee in Mukwonago. Situated on 11 acres of open woods, this porched winery makes unique wines, including their zesty Lemon Wine, great in summer. Please note the winery closes for the cold months but the good news is it’s open from 6 May 2022.
They are open, May-December on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11am-5pm. They welcome walk-ins to have a glass and relax on their porch or punters can take a stroll through the beautiful Wisconsin natural surroundings. Note they are open for wine purchases from January-April by appointment.
Chiselled Grape Winery (Cedarburg)
This tiny little micro-winery shares Cedarburg with Cedar Creek. In fact, they are literally across the street from each other. This little winery sits upon a tiny 1-acre vineyard and is said to be much loved by locals.
Chiselled Grape Winery can be found in beautiful downtown Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and is home to the Sexy Signature Series of wines. These award-winning reds, whites, dry and sweet wines come from some of California’s most prestigious vineyards.
The winery requests visitors to try to make reservations at least one day in advance. They are closed Monday-Tuesday, open from 12pm-6pm Wednesday-Thursday, open 12pm-9pm Friday-Saturday and from 12-6pm on Sundays. Each seating lasts 2 hours.
Vines to Cellar (Port Washington)
This small-batch winery in the historic downtown area of Port Washington is great for a day trip from Milwaukee. This unique winery is a great place to sip on wines and learn how it’s made. They offer wine by the sample, glass, bottle or custom batch ranging from 3-40 gallons.
Their winery provides the perfect location for a private party, reunion, special occasions or celebrations.
They are open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12pm-6pm, Friday and Saturday from 11pm-6pm and Sunday from 12pm-4pm. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Two Brothers Wines (Pewaukee)
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Two Brothers Wines opened their winery in Pewaukee in June, 2009. They offer featured events throughout the year. Seasonal tastings, bottling, and other special events are a great way to introduce yourself to or indulge yourself in the “country style” of wines they produce. You can watch the winemaking process through an inside glass window too.
Grab a glass or a bottle, spend a day sipping, and then move on to explore Pewaukee Lake.
Hours are: Monday 12pm-6pm, Closed Tuesday, Wednesday 12pm-6pm, Thursday 12pm-6pm, Friday 12pm-8pm, Saturday 11am-8pm Sunday Closed.
We hope we have opened a new unexpected wine area to wine lovers. Besides the good locally produced wines, wine lovers can also explore wines from all over the world in the thriving Milwaukee wine bar scene.