When it comes to wineries in the Midwest, those in Missouri and Michigan usually get most of the attention. However, the Badger State boasts a number of excellent wineries, with one of the most famous being Wisconsin’s Wollersheim Winery.
Dating back to the 1840s, Wollersheim Winery is named a National Historic Site and is located in Prairie du Sac near the Wisconsin River. The vineyard was planted by Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman who went on to have an important role in the founding of the California wine industry.
Eventually, prohibition curbed production on-site and the property was used for dairy farming. However, in 1972, the Wollersheims bought the land and began growing grapes. Determined to succeed and grow excellent Wisconsin wines, Bob Wollersheim experimented as he searched for grapes that could withstand the state’s cold temperatures.
In 1984, the winery’s winemaker, Philippe Coquard, arrived from France. Hailing from a long line of winemakers, he contributes both a well-developed palate and a passion for winemaking to the winery. Together, Coquard and the Wollersheims have led the winery to become an industry leader in the Midwest. Here’s what you need to know about one of Wisconsin’s finest wineries:
Award-Winning Wollersheim Whites and Reds
As a testament to its quality wines, Wollersheim Winery regularly garners awards at major wine competitions. In 2019, the winery won a number of medals, including the Double Gold Medal for its 2018 Dry Riesling at the Indy International Wine Competition. Also earning the Gold Medal and 90+ points at the 2019 International Eastern Wine Competition in Sonoma County, California, this wine features unique aromas of licorice and basil.
Wollersheim Winery’s 2018 White Riesling has performed exceptionally well, taking home the Gold Medal at the 2019 Mid-American Wine Competition in Ankeny, Iowa, and Silver Medals at both the 2019 Indy International Wine Competition in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the 2019 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Another award-winning white wine is the Prairie Fumé. Created by Coquard, this wine took home the Platinum Medal and the Best of Class Award from the 2019 San Diego International Wine Competition. The wine also earned Best in Class at the 2019 Los Angeles International Wine Competition. Made exclusively from Seyval Blanc, this highly-awarded semi-dry wine boasts mango and citrus flavors.
Red wine lovers should try Wollersheim Winery’s 2018 Prairie Sunburst, which won the Silver Medal at the 2019 Tasters Guild International Wine Competition. Made from Marechal Foch, this unoaked wine preserves its youth and boasts big berry flavors.
Wollersheim Blushes and Rosés
The winery’s recent award-wining wines also include the 2018 Prairie Blush. Putting Wollersheim Winery on the map among the country’s best producers of Rosé wines, this impressive wine has taken home five Silver Medals recently, including at the San Diego International Wine Competition, the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, and the International Eastern Wine Competition. The Prairie Blush features tart yet fruity flavors, such as citrus and pink grapefruit.
Another award-winning Rosé is the 2018 Blushing Rosé, which took home both the Best Rosé and the Gold Medal at the 2019 Mid-American Wine Competition. This soft pink wine features flavors of kiwi, mango, and even a little pineapple.
Wollersheim Port and Ice Wines
Also a producer of dessert wines, Wollersheim Winery makes a Port with Foch grapes and a bit of brandy from its distillery to stop the fermentation process. This wine underwent aging in American oak barrels for 13 months. The result is a sippable, sweet American Port.
The winery also makes a White Port by adding grape brandy to wine. This method adds sweetness and raises the alcohol level to 20 percent before the wine ages in French oak barrels for six months.
Wollersheim Winery also takes advantage of the frigid Wisconsin winters to make its Ice Wine. The winery harvests its Pepin grapes while they are frozen on the vine. The result is an excellent Ice Wine with strong grape flavors and notes of autumn hidden in the frozen grapes.
Visiting Wollersheim Winery
Wollersheim Winery welcomes visitors to both the winery and distillery year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At the latter, visitors can learn about the rich history of brandy production, which dates back to the late 1800s on the property.
Wollersheim also hosts events, including upcoming releases, such as the release of a new bourbon on November 16 and the release of the latest vintage of Ruby Nouveau on November 21. Finally, the winery will host a Christmas event on November 30, allowing visitors to sample a number of wines and spirits accompanied by delicious food and Wisconsin cheeses.
Wollersheim is also in the process of opening a bistro, where it plans to serve plenty of locally sourced foods, including cheeses, charcuterie, pizza flatbreads, and grilled paninis. The winery plans to change its menu regularly to provide fresh ingredients during each season. To learn more about Wollersheim Winery and its outstanding wines, fun events, and its upcoming bistro, visit www.wollersheim.com.