A scenic, 30-minute drive from the Dells, Wollersheim Winery is worth the trip. Wollersheim is Wisconsin’s largest and oldest winery. Its first vineyards were planted in the 1840s by Count Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian winemaker. Haraszthy eventually fled the cold to a place called the Sonoma Valley, where he started the California wine industry. (If only he’d stuck around here … )
Today Wollersheim Winery grows winter-proof French-American hybrids to produce some of their varietals. They also purchase delicate grapes to make favorites such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery’s perennial bestseller is the refreshing, light Prairie Fumé, a semi-dry white wine.
One-hour tours begin with a short video in the 1858 winery. From there it’s an inspection of the vineyards, bottling facility and original aging cellars. A tasting concludes the tour. You can also skip the tour and simply partake in some wine-tasting.
During the summer, enjoy wine, cheese and other goodies purchased at Wollersheim Winery in an outdoor picnic area. You can also bring your own food. Don’t discount a trip during the winter. If you sit outside then, you can often see bald eagles soaring along the adjacent Wisconsin River.
Check out the property’s calendar of events before you come. You might be able to catch a concert at the property’s historic hillside wine cave, or the fall ice wine release.
Since 2013, Wollersheim has also been producing the much-acclaimed Coquard Brandy, plus gin, absinthe, whiskey and bourbon. Separate tastings are available at the distillery.
During summer, the winery is busiest from 1-3 p.m., so come earlier or later if you don’t want to wait. (Or come prepared to picnic while you wait!)