Lewis Station Winery along Highway 89 in Lake Mills

Lewis Station Winery

Lewis Station Winery opened in a former gas station (hence the “station” part of the name) in Lake Mills in 2011.  They offer daily wine tastings and a small bistro menu – with the pizzas being especially good – Wednesday through Saturday. Sundays they offer wine only, but that’s okay – it’s a winery first after all, right?

In 2018, Lewis Station became Wisconsin’s first Certified Craft Winery by the Craft Wine Association. That designation means they make their wines in small lots and the winemaking is entirely overseen by the winemaker, using grapes from an identifiable vineyard. The winery produces around 25 different varieties throughout the year, although they’re best known for big reds, such as their Lodi California Zinfandel (described as having “bold dark-fruit flavors and spiciness”) and its Sangiovese, popular for its red and dark berries. About a third of Lewis Station’s wines are on the sweeter side, featuring a combination of grapes and other fruits. If you’re up for something a little more bold, Lewis Station offers a Cabernet Sauvignon aged in used Jack Daniels oak barrels, creating a more powerful wine with a hint – or perhaps a sizable hit – of bourbon; it’s become one of Lewis Station’s best sellers.

Quite a few wines made here have been Gold and Silver award winners in the World Wine Competition and the Finger Lakes Region Wine competition. Owner and winemaker Rob Lewis will be happy to recount the awards, describe each wine, or give you the background story on everything they create.

Lewis Station Winery from the outside

Lewis Winery is housed in a former gas station on what was once the busiest corner in Lake Mills, at Highway 89 and Historic Highway 30. Pumps out front evoke that heritage.

Most of the wines themselves are made at their production facility in town (580 Enterprise Drive), which can be viewed as part of a scheduled tour or one of their wine classes.

You’ll find Lewis Station Winery right along Highway 89, which is Main Street, in the heart of downtown Lake Mills. The cross street is County Highway B, the actual former Highway 30 – once the main east-west road between Madison and Milwaukee. Across from the winery is the city’s “town square” park – actually a triangle – called Commons Park. In nice weather, you can sit on Lewis Station’s patio, sip, and enjoy the view of the park across the street, the handsome rock-laden design of the nearby library, or just watch the people of Lake Mills stroll by. Downtown Lake Mills is about a mile south of I-94, and the Highway 89 interchange (Exit 259). It’s definitely easy to get to! And, if you want local craft beer, Tyranena Brewing is also nearby.

Lewis Station Winery sampling

A sample of Sangiovese at Lewis Station Winery in Lake Mills.

Lewis Station Winery Hours:

Wednesday – Saturday: Noon – 8 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 3 pm

Lewis Station Winery Address:

217 N. Main Street (Highway 89)
Lake Mills, WI 53551
(920) 648-5481
Website

 

 




 

Forgotten Fire Winery

Forgotten Fire Winery & Brewery

Forgotten Fire Winery & Brewery is named for the infamous Peshtigo Fire, which wiped out the area on October 8, 1871. Although it was the deadliest fire in American history, the Great Chicago Fire happened the same day and achieved more notoriety. Forgotten Fire’s Winery uses grapes grown partially on the Michigan side of the lake and partially in this area. They offer over 25 wines today, from red and white to fruit wines and hard ciders.

Forgotten Fire Winery sampling

While owners Lindsay and Joe Callow first started working on the winery in 2011, today’s Tasting Room opened in 2013 and is open year ’round, seven days a week. Samples of their wines, beers from the brewery, ciders, and more are available for tasting, and if you ask nice, they’ll sell you whole bottles.

Forgotten Fire's map of the fire

Learn about the actual Peshtigo (or here, “Forgotten”) Fire with items like this cool map, which shows the extent of the burned area from the U.P. to Door County. Peshtigo was essentially the inferno’s epicenter.

Forgetten Fire Tasting Room Hours:
May 1 to Dec 31
Mon – Fri: 10am – 6 pm
Sat – Sun: 10am – 5pm

Jan 1 to Apr 30
Sun – Mon: 10am – 3pm
Tue – Fri: 10am – 6pm
Sat: 10am – 5pm

Tours of the production area are available Saturdays at the top of each hour.

You’ll find Forgotten Fire’s Winery, Brewery, and Tasting Room just off the U.S. 41 Bypass via Exit 216, where you follow Business U.S. 41 and Old Peshtigo Road to Schacht Road. Although the mailing address says Marinette, the facility is just outside of Peshtigo. Highway 64 comes within five miles on its way between Pound and Marinette; Highway 22 is about eight miles south on its way into Oconto.

Forgotten Fire Winery & Brewery Address:

N2393 Schacht Road
Marinette, WI 54143
(715) 582-3473
Website




Forgotten Fire Wine Rack

Nice rack, Forgotten Fire!

River Bend Winery, front sign

River Bend Vineyard & Winery

River Bend Tasting Room

Tucked literally into – although not directly along – a bend along the Chippewa, River Bend Winery started in 2009 by a husband-and-wife team. Donna and Al (the team in question) developed a variety of reds and whites using their own vineyard grapes and some combinations from other regions. They do everything on-site, from the grape-growing to pressing, tank storage, barrel aging, bottling, and more.

River Bend Tasting Room

River Bend Tasting Room barThe River Bend Tasting Room offers sampling, shopping for wines and associated items, and tables for relaxing and enjoying their wines. The outdoor patio and lawn often hosts live music and other events during the warmer months, and people are welcome to bring their own food to complement River Bend’s wines.

chippewafalls-riverbend-concert

Outdoor live music shows and more offer the opportunity for a relaxing afternoon amidst the vineyards at River Bend Winery.

Quite a few River Bend wines have won Gold, Double Gold, and even “Best in Class” designations in wine competitions across the country. Their wines are also distributed to stores all across Wisconsin, but there’s nothing like sipping it at the source, right?

White and Blush wines include their Riesling, Cranberry Blush, LaCrescent, Summer White, and Moonlight, a sweet white. Red & Rosé wines include their River Bend Blend, aged in American Oak and featuring the Marquette breed of grape along Zinfandel and Merlot; the Marquette Red and Marquette Rosé, Summer Red, Magenta, and Sunset. Two dessert wines and two sparkling wines are also available in-season. Most of their wines run in the $11-15 range for bottles; the sparkling ones run closer to $25.

River Bend tastingThe Tasting Room is closed Monday and Tuesday. Hours otherwise are:
Wednesday-Friday 11am-7pm
Saturday-Sunday 11am-5pm

River Bend also started up a distillery, featuring vodka, whiskey, and more. As they develop and age, inquire during your visit!

You’ll find River Bend Vineyard & Winery just west of Chippewa Falls and minutes north of Eau Claire. It’s accessible off Business Highway 29/County X via 103rd Street and a left on 33rd Avenue (signs point you there, and it’s really your only road choices there.) During that ride, you pass under the newer Highway 29, now a freeway in this area. U.S. 53 just a few miles to the east, as is Highway 124.

River Bend Vineyard & Winery Address:

10439 33rd Ave
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729
Phone: (715) 720-9463
Website
E-mail




Highway 95 - Seven Hawks Winery, Fountain City

Seven Hawks Vineyards

Seven Hawks grows grapes on the hills outside Fountain City, with vineyard vines overlooking the Mississippi River – nearly 18,000 of them. They are actually one of the largest vineyards in the Midwest. They are also in one of the more picturesque towns along the Mississippi, nestled between towering bluffs and the great river in a little town of less than 900 residents.

Seven Hawks Vineyards signSeven Hawks Vineyards’ Tasting Room and Wine Bar is located along Highway 95 in Fountain City, a block up (literally, given the landscape) from Highway 35 and the Great River Road. The classic old building dates back to the 1870s and includes two suites above the bar available for lodging as part of their Hawks View Cottages and Lodges, which include additional cottages on a bluff on the edge of town.

All of the wines in Seven Hawks’ lineup come from their locally-grown grapes. Some of their major wines include reds like their Hunters Blend, Marquette Reserve, Frontenac Reserve, Frontier Red, Ardella’s Rose. White wines include their Smiling Moon, which garnered a gold medal; Prairie Star, La Crescent Reserve, Ridgetop Apple, and some dessert wines round out their main offerings. They even have an ice wine called Sleeping River, made with winter harvest grapes. Many of the grapes are hybrid varieties and some were developed with help from the University of Minnesota.

Seven Hawks is part of the Great River Road Wine Trail. Their Tasting Room & Wine Bar is within a block of the Monarch Public House and historic Fountain City Brewing Company, and also close to the Rock in the House and Elmer’s Auto Museum.

Wine samples are free; of course, you’re welcome to buy some bottles before you leave! Hours are 11am-6pm Monday through Thursday, 11am-7pm Friday and Saturday, and Noon-6pm on Sunday.

Address:
17 North Street (Highway 95)
Fountain City, WI
(608) 687-9463
Website

AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery


Located just off Highway 142 east of Burlington abutting the Richard Bong Recreation Area, AeppelTreow features a winery, distillery, and an orchard. They specialize in apple-based wines, hard ciders made with apples and pears (known as “perrys”), and a variety of spirits. The winery started in 2001, partnering with the adjacent Brightonwoods Orchard which grows and/or preserves over 200 varieties of apples and pears.

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Address:
1072 288th Avenue (County B)
Burlington, WI 53105
(262) 878-5345
Website

 

Burr Oak Winery


Burr Oak Winery dates back to 1997, when the first grapes were planted. A few years later they were drawing visitors to their tasting room, a European-style building featuring beautiful stained glass windows salvaged from a church built in 1882. Today they host a number of events and offer over 15 varieties of red, white, and dessert wines. They managed several medal wins at the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, too.

Burr Oak Winery is open 11am-5pm, seven days a week. You’ll find them just south of downtown New Lisbon, along U.S. 12/Highway 16/Highway 80, just a few minutes off I-90/94.

Address:
N5873 Hwys 12 & 16 (and 80)
New Lisbon, WI 53950
(608) 562-5271
Website

Door Peninsula Winery & Distillery


The Door Peninsula Winery started back in 1974 in a former two-room schoolhouse built in 1868. Taking advantage of the abundant and legendary cherry orchards nearby, they started out with cherry wine. Numerous expansions since have added on more wine storage and production space, a restaurant, and finally new distillery in 2011 where gin, whiskey, brandy, and bitters are made. Cherry moonshine recently debuted, too; we have yet to try that but we’ll head there again soon!

You’ll find the Door Peninsula Winery right along Highway 42 in Carlsville, about five miles north of Sturgeon Bay.

Address:
5806 Highway 42
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
(920) 743-7431
Website