Your Favorite Local Winemakers
the top three local wineries from the most recent Best of the Chippewa Valley Readers Poll
Hillary Bell, photos by Lee Butterworth
In the most recent edition of our annual Best of the Chippewa Valley poll, River Bend, Autumn Harvest, and Infinity Beverages took home to honors in the Best Winemaker category.
1. River Bend Vineyard & Winery
River Bend has a warm, welcoming atmosphere and a knowledgeable, friendly staff who provide quality service and can’t wait for you to walk through their doors. Since 2009 they have been proving the Valley with some of the finest wines, all made from locally grown grapes.
The wine speaks for itself, with award-winning tastes that appeal to all types of wine drinkers. Sweet desert wines, dry reds and whites, and even sparkling wines are available to try free in their tasting room once the winery opens until they close. Outside is a beautiful patio area where customers can sit and enjoy a glass – or bottle – of their favorite wine.
There is always something great going on at River Bend (10439 33rd Ave., Chippewa Falls) including live music, pizza, wine releases, and other fun events. A spring open house is planned for 11am-5pm Saturday, May 6. To learn more, check out riverbendvineyard.com.
2. Autumn Harvest Winery & Orchard
Known as the first winery to open in the Chippewa Valley in 2004, Autumn Harvest has grown over the years from making six wines to 13, and now they even bottle a hard cider. Using apples from their long-time family-owned orchard, Autumn Harvest makes crisp, fruit-flavored wines that give you a real natural taste. All production, bottling, corking, and labeling are done by hand right in their own facility.
The orchard has lots of family friendly activities, including pick-your-own pumpkins, free wagon rides on the weekends, and a free corn maze for the kids. Visitors are welcome to complimentary wine tastings, to sample gourmet foods, and even to find cool souvenirs to take home from the gift shop. On their patio, you can enjoy wine and Wisconsin cheeses as well as the enchanting sights of blooming apple trees, flowers, and endearing wildlife.
They have something fun for everyone at Autumn Harvest (19947 County Highway J, Chippewa Falls). The winery will open for the season on Saturday, April 29. Opening day runs 10am-6pm, with live music from Jerrika Mighelle and QuinnElizabeth 3-5pm. To learn more, visit autumnharvestwinery.com.
3. Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery
Infinity Beverages established its roots in the Valley in 2010 when proprietor Matthew Rick was the youngest commercial winemaker and distiller in the state. Built on determination and innovation, the winery has developed unique and distinctive wines, spirits, and specialty drinks for the community to enjoy.
In their new, year-round tasting room (3460 Mall Drive, Eau Claire), you can sit by the cozy, elegant fireplace or grab a seat at a table or the bar with some friends. Every Friday night they have local musicians play live, original tunes that you can listen to while you try their one-of-a-kind drinks. Tours and reservations are also available.
At Infinity, they can create custom wine labels for special events such as weddings, graduations, holidays, or any occasion you want to celebrate. They also ship their wine to your door if you live a little further away.
You’ll find anything but the ordinary at Infinity Beverages. For more details, visit infinitybeverages.com.