The 5 Wisco Wine Regions
tasting your way across the Dairyland
If you think the only good wine comes from Napa or some other name-brand locale, think again. Right here in Wisconsin winemakers are creating a wide variety of world-class bottles. The Winemaker’s Association of Wisconsin breaks the state up into five distinct regions of awesomeness, each with its own styles and specialties. Time to go tasting.
1. Northwoods Region
Most the Chippewa Valley falls into the Northwoods Region of Wisconsin wineries (though we’re right on the border of Driftless, along the Mississippi). Northern wines come from a long tradition of fruit wines, brought by the first German immigrants who settled in Northern Wisconsin. The wines are sweet and usually considered to be dessert wines, but they pair well with all sorts of foods – including holiday feasts. Not all northern wines are fruit wines though; the grapes throughout the region have produced award-wining bottles of all varieties.
2. Driftless Region
The Chippewa Valley’s other bordering region is the Driftless Region, which spans the Mississippi River and reaches east about halfway across the state. The south-facing hillsides of Western Wisconsin allow for vineyards that are reminiscent of many parts of Europe and offer more traditional varieties of grape wine than other parts of Wisconsin. What to try: Wollersheim Winery, Prairie Du Sac; New Glarus Primrose Winery, New Glarus; Seven Hawks Vineyard, Fountain City.
3. Door County
When most people think of Wisconsin wine, they probably think about Door County. The peninsula has some of Wisconsin’s largest and oldest wineries with a wide variety of everything from traditional grape wines to unique, sweet fruit wines. The region is also naturally beautiful, with Lake Michigan on either side. What to try: Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery, Kewaunee; Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery, Sturgeon Bay; Stone’s Throw Winery, Bailey’s Harbor.
4. Fox Valley Region
The Fox Valley Region is all about unique wines. The intriguing wineries include Trout Springs Winery, which doubles as a Class A trout hatchery, and Kerrigan Brothers Winery which offers a huge variety of fruit wines, including lemon, Dutch apple pie, and pineapple. What to try: Trout Springs, Greenleaf; Captain’s Walk Winery, Green Bay; Kerrigan Brothers Winery, Freedom.
5. Glacial Hills Region
It’s tough to imagine rolling, lush vineyards in urban Southeastern Wisconsin, but the Glacial Hills Region has a plethora of wineries on the outskirts of the cities. You’ll find plenty of traditional vineyards, but also unique locales like AeppelTreow Winery, which creates sweet ciders. What to try: Apple Barn Orchard & Winery, Elkhorn; Cedar Creek Winery, Cedarburg; Vines To Cellar, Port Washington.