Wisconsin winemaking reaches back to the early 1840s when Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian immigrant established a vineyard and winery overlooking the Wisconsin River. In more recent times, it is the home to Wollersheim Winery in Sauk City, which is one of Wisconsin’s thirty-six wineries. Nestled in the hillside overlooking the Wisconsin River, Wollersheim produces a breath of still wines including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Domaine du Sac is a bright Beaujolais-style red with raspberry and Bing cherry nuances and lively acidity.
Some of Wisconsin’s wine country is not conducive grown some traditional European varietals, so across the state wineries to produce a mix of styles, ranging from traditional European grapes, indigenous grape those made from fruit. Most wineries are open daily and many offer tours and not surprisingly, serve local cheese to pair with their wines. In fact, cheese makers are interwoven along the wine trail, which can make a fun wine and cheese outing.
The Badger State has five diverse wine regions, including some in sun-kissed southwest hillside, others peppered through verdant valleys and others along sparkly Lake Superior. The regions include Northwood in the North, Fox Valley semi-central, Door country along the east coast, Driftless in the southwest and Glacial Hill in the southeast.
Ledgestone Vineyards and Trout Springs Winery are located in Greenleaf, along the Fox River State Recreational Trail, which runs along the Fox River from downtown Green Bay to Holland. The twenty-five mile, mostly crushed stone with about ten miles of paved surface at the northern end, is a scenic jaunt used by cyclists, bikers, runners, walker and equestrians. Fox River State Recreational Trail: www.foxrivertrail.com
Simon Creek Winery and Orchard Country Winery & Market are located on the
Door County peninsula. With over three hundred miles of shoreline, five state parks, cherry and apple orchards and artist colonies, this narrow peninsula is a hub outdoor activity. There is a ferry to Washington Island, just off the tip of the peninsula, to a rugged state park on Rock Island, once the private estate of a millionaire investor. With ample kayaking, swimming and fishing on the mainland and plenty of fresh cherries to be plucked at nearby orchards. Following a visit to the wineries and farm, locals love to toss to a blanket on the wine sandy beach and picnic while watching the glowing sunset over the horizon.
Two miles further north, Devil’s Lake State Park www.devilslakewisconsin.com/, Wollersheim Winery, in the Sauk Prairie area is a favorite stop for outdoorsy wine lovers. The park’s ten thousand acres has nearly thirty miles of hiking trails and six miles of mountain bike trails leading up to buena vistas; including the three-hundred foot Devil’s Lake buff. There are also score of campsites. Sauk Prairie Information: 800-683-2453 or www.saukprairie.com.
Near the Rock Recreation area is Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery, which is nestled in the village of Maiden Rock, which is a quiet, historic river and railroad settlement. Surrounded by creek gullies and rolling farmland rustling with wild turkey and deer, at the Mississippi River's edge, it provides shelter and wetlands for thousands of birds on their annual pilgramage along the Mississippi Flyway. Maiden Rock Recreation: www.maidenrock.org/rec.php
Tourdot Winery is located in Wisconsin Dells, which has been christened “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®” There are more than twenty waterparks along the lush landscape, including some of the world’s largest. There are is also known for its terrific kayaking, canoeing, boating and parasailing on the Wisconsin River, which bisects the city, offering up-close views of the magnificent sandstone bluffs that tower above the water. The Dells is also home to the world’s largest fleet of “Ducks,” restored WWII amphibious vehicles popular for land-to-water tours.
Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton Information: 800-223-3557 or www.wisdells.com.
Situation on State Highway 26 in the heart of Milton, Northleaf Winery and nearby Apple Barn Orchard and Winery are surrounded by a wealth of recreational opportunities, including horseback riding, trail running and cycling. Area information: www.ci.milton.wi.us/Tourism/Recreation.aspx
While Apple Barn Orchard and Winery, in Elkhorn, neighbors the scenic 12.6-mile limestone White River State Trail, which is popular for biking and hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. There is also a two-mile stretch dedicated to horseback riding. White River State Trail: www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/specific/whiteriver/
Voted the 2010 Kraft Single Best town in America, Three Lakes, is a quaint community tucked in the 650,000-acre Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest; known for its crystal clear lakes, sprawling rolling trains and array of wildlife. The Largest Inland Chain of Lakes in the World - consisting of twenty interconnected lakes – it is water sport Mecca, delighting kayakers, canoers, stand-up paddlers and water skiers during warmer months. The area is also home to Three Lakes Winery Three Lakes Winery and Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard.
Untamed rivers through picturesque surrounding offer adrenaline pumping kayaking and rafting, with the Flambeau, Chippewa and Brule rivers topping the list. But, for the best whitewater, head to the Peshtigo River in northeastern Wisconsin. While Copper Falls State Park offers zigzagging trails through fragrant forests rich in gurgling streams and gushing waterfalls
Area wineries include Bayfield Winery overlooking Lake Superior and the impressive Apostle Islands. Nestled in the forests of Bashaw Valley, Clover Meadow Winery, which makes it a terrific après hike or bike destination.
Apple Barn Orchard and Winery W6384 Sugar Creek Road, Elkhorn, WI 53121 * 262-728-3266 * www.applebarnorchardandwinery.com
Bayfield Winery 35096 County Highway I, Bayfield, WI 54814* 715-779-0121* www.bayfieldwinery.com
Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard 1998A State Road 87, St. Croix Falls , WI 54024 * 715-483-2556 * www.chateaustcroix.com
Clover Meadow Winery 23396 Thompson Road, Shell Lake, WI 54871 * 715-468-4224 * http://cmwinery.com
Ledgestone Vineyards 6381 State Highway 57, Greenleaf, WI 54126 * 920-532-0271 * www.ledgestonevineyards.com
Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery W12266 King Lane, Stockholm, WI 54769 * 715-448-3502 * www.maidenrockwinerycidery.com
Orchard Country Winery & Market 9197 State Highway 42, Fish Creek, WI 54212-9712 * 920_868-3479* www.orchardcountry.com
Three Lakes Winery 6971 Gogebic Street, WI 54562 * 715- 546-3080 * www.TLwinery.com
Trout Springs Winery Simon Creek Winery 8150 River Road,Greenleaf, WI 54126-9415 * 920-864-7761 * www.troutspringswinery.com
Wollersheim Winery Highway 188 Prairie du Sac, WI 53578 * 608-643-6515 * www.wollersheim.com