Fermentation – The Movie

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Sadly, this is our last installment of Wollersheim Winery videos. After this we were tasting and well, it was just too hard to keep up with videoing. Hope you enjoyed!

If you are near Madison, Wisconsin you should stop by Wollersheim Winery and enjoy the tour as well.

Wollersheim Winery
7876 State Rd 188
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578

The Hall of Fermentation

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Do you remember the Superfriends? The ones that hung out in the Hall of Justice? Well, in my world, me and mine hang out in the Hall of Fermentation.

This particular fermentation hall is at Wollersheim Winery as I continue my tour.


Visiting a Winery

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

Yes, I realize that this is much later in the day than I usually post, but it has been a crazy busy week and I wanted to start this next series. Hard core wine lovers have almost always have gone to visit a winery before. But if you don’t get to travel much and don’t realize that there are wineries in your area you might not be familiar with what it is like. Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin was on my way home from the Wine Bloggers’ Conference and therefore the perfect last stop before I got home later that day. The winery at Wollersheim was established in the 1840s by Agoston Haraszathy, better known to wine lovers as the “Father of California Viticulture” and the founder of Buena Vista Vineyards. Before he made it to Napa, he stopped for several years in Wisconsin, where he established the oldest incorporated village in the state, Prairie du Sac. The winery is still in operation to this day and this is from the tour when I visited at the end of June. Enjoy.

Wollersheim Winery
7876 Wisconsin 188
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578
1-800-VIP-WINE (847-9463)

Lake Wisconsin AVA

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

You might have thought that I forgot to say much about the Lake Wisconsin AVA. You would be wrong. I wanted to talk about it here.


Well, it is the only AVA wholly located within the State of Wisconsin (The Upper Mississippi Valley covers four states).

This appellation is smaller than that. It is 28,000 acres as opposed to 29,000 square miles. Currently there is only one winery operating in the AVA and that is the Wollersheim Winery. I mention this, as I have visited its sister winery Cedar Creek Winery in Cedarburg, WI and enjoyed their wines.  The winery produces a number of wines from grapes grown outside of the AVA but also from their own fruit of the Marchel Foch, Millot, St. Pepin and Lacrosse varietals

But there is even more to this appellation and its sole winery. Indeed the first vines planted on the property were placed their by Agoston Haraszthy who later became known as the “Father of California Viticulture”.

In addition to planting the vineyard Haraszthy was also the co-founder of the oldest incorporated village in the state, Sauk City, Wisconsin. Sauk City is also home to the first Culver’s Butter Burger Restaurant (a client of mine from my days as a franchise paralegal) and is the birthplace and childhood home of Jacob Leininkugel of the Lieninkugel Brewing Company.

Hopefully, this will be a stop on the trip.

Road Trip Planning in Wisconsin

Gretchen Neuman
VinoVerve Editor

As I have mentioned before, I have two potential routes. Ironically, both take me initially to the same place. Wisconsin.

I realize that most people do not associate Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland with wine. Cheese? Clearly. Beer? Definitely. Badgers? Oh, yeah!

Wine has been part of Wisconsin since the first vines were planted in 1847 by Agoston Haraszthy, who is known as the “Father of California Viticulture”. The majority of wineries in the state grow hybrid varietals which are better acclimated to cold temperatures.

The Wineries of Wisconsin website indicates that there are five distinct wine regions in the State:

  • Northwoods is home to 9 wineries and is famous for its lakes, forests and trails. Sadly, the deepest I will probably get into this region is Chippewa Falls.
  • Driftless Region is part of a multi-state region and home to the Upper Mississippi River Valley AVA and the smaller Lake Wisconsin AVA.
  • Glacial Hills are in the southeastern portion of the state close to Lake Michigan. There are five wineries in this area including one that I have visited before, Cedar Creek Winery.
  • Fox Valley is located from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay. Again, sadly this will be too far northeast for my travels.
  • Door County has long been a winery destination for us Flatlanders (Illinoisans). I like this area because the geography reminds me of home as the Niagara Escarpment re-emerges from Lake Michigan.

As for other places to stop?  Well there are plenty.

Places that I am considering include:

  • The Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center. I love cranberries. ‘Nuf said.
  • The Janesville Ashbeds. This would only be a destination for a geek like me. You can take the nerdy girl out of her EPA past, but you can’t wipe it from her memory. Apparently this site is all cleaned up. That sounds like our work paid off.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Historical Society. The nerdy little girl might have grown up, but she still remembers about sugaring parties in the Big Woods.
  • Leinenkugel Brewery. For Kevin and my Dad.
  • Taliesin. A bit off my path… but as a former Hyde Parker it seems wrong not to stop and see this.
  • Aztalan State Park. One word. Mounds. (did I mention that archaeology was a passion of mine in my distant youth? Consider yourself warned.)
  • Yerkes Observatory. A UChicago site. I have been here before but they were nice to me and let me look at the telescope close up. Why is this an obsession? Two words. Carl Sagan.

So there are my initial ideas. Any others would be most welcome. Also something iconic to eat (and no, I won’t be there on a Friday, so Fish Fry is out. Also, I also came from the land of the Friday Fish Fry… Niagara County, NY, so I might be fished out). And did I mention wineries? Someplace that might tolerate a gal and her video camera would be appreciated! You can email me here