Wisconsin may be known for cheese, beer and the Green Bay Packers, but it also has a long history of winemaking.
In fact, one could argue that the origins of the American wine industry are firmly rooted in the rich soil of the Badger State.
In the early 1840s, a Hungarian immigrant named Agoston Haraszthy established a vineyard, winery and wine cellars overlooking the Wisconsin River at what is today the Wollerscheim Winery in Prairie du Sac. Haraszthy went on to establish some of the first successful vineyards in Sonoma, Calif.
The many German settlers who came to Wisconsin in the 1800s also brought with them their winemaking skills, producing versions of traditional German wines as well as new varieties made from North America’s own native grapes.
In addition, winemakers learned to utilize the many fruits that could be grown in the state. Over time, a number of Wisconsin grape and fruit wines were born.
The state’s famous and remote Northwoods region has a surprisingly high concentration of wineries, including Bayfield Winery, which makes a number of fruit wines, including one apple wine that tastes amazingly similar to Chardonnay.
White Winter Winery creates world-class meads and hard ciders using age-old techniques.
Hook Stone Winery crafts its wine from grapes grown in California and Washington.
The European-style Chateau St. Croix features a carriage house, stables, vineyards, formal gardens, picnic areas and a fishing pond.
Eight acres of vineyards provide the fruit for the well-balanced wines of River Bend Vineyard & Winery.
At Cap-N-Corks, you’ll find a variety of wines poured daily at the tasting bar, as well as fresh-roasted coffee.
Autumn Harvest Winery is surrounded by picturesque countryside and a lush orchard.
Munson Bridge Winery is located on a historic farm in Clark County.
Woodland Trail Winery is situated in the Nicolet National Forest.
And Three Lakes Winery is located in a turn-of-the-century train depot, stocked with delightful antiques.
For information on the Northwoods wineries as well as wine estates throughout the state, visit: www.wiswine.com