Wisconsin Wine

Wine-Searcher editorial  ·  Last updated 09-Nov-2018
Vines overlooking the Mississippi River just north of Fountain City
?Seven Hawks Vineyard

Wisconsin is a midwestern state of the US located on the western edge of Lake Michigan. While winemaking here dates back as far as the mid-19th Century, the wine industry in Wisconsin is small, focusing mainly on the cold-hardy hybrid varieties specifically bred for the colder climes of the northern half of North America. Valiant, Edelweiss, La Crosse and Frontenac are some of the most-planted grapes in Wisconsin vineyards.

Wisconsin covers 65,000 square miles (170,000 sq km), stretching between latitudes 42°N and 47°N. This puts it on par with many of the most famous wine-producing regions of France, but other climatic considerations come into play in Wisconsin's challenging terroir, making viticulture here much less commercially viable. The state's continental climate is prone to extremes, making the majority of its mesoclimates unsuitable for quality viticulture. Icy winters threaten the survival of most vines, with the notable exception of some Vitis riparia varieties.

Wisconsin's best vineyard sites can be found in areas where there is a large body of water to provide warmth in winter and cooling influences in the hot summers. The two sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) located entirely within Wisconsin, Lake Wisconsin and Wisconsin Ledge, are both located near lakes and as a result have longer growing seasons than the more-inland parts of the state.

The first vines were planted in the state's Lake Wisconsin AVA (part of the multi-state Upper Mississippi Valley AVA) in the 1840s by Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian immigrant who subsequently became a pioneering wine grower in California. Wisconsin's challenging climate meant that commercial viticulture was sporadic until the development of cold-hardy grapevines at the University of Minnesota opened up possibilities for Wisconsin growers. Lake Wisconsin was the state's first sub-AVA to be approved, in 1994, followed by the Upper Mississippi Valley AVA in 2009 and the Wisconsin Ledge AVA in 2012.

Along with wines made from hybrid grape varieties, Wisconsin wines are sometimes made from fruits such as blueberries, blackberries and cherries. Many Wisconsin producers also import grapes from as far afield as California, Oregon and New York to make their wines.

Wisconsin Beer and Spirits

As is the case in many other US states, there have been a high number of craft producers appearing in the last decade. There are over 90 members of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild, producing a wide range of styles. There are around 30 distilleries in the state. White Whiskeys and Bourbons seem to have the highest profile.

Wisconsin Wines
Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Product
 
Grape
Popularity
Critics' Score
Avg. Price
Wine Label of New Glarus Brewing Co. Spotted Cow Beer, Wisconsin, USA
11,295th in popularity
$ 3
95 / 100
Wine Label of J. Leinenkugel 'Harvest Patch' Shandy Beer, Wisconsin, USA
14,549th in popularity
$ 3
Wine Label of Steel Brewing Company 'Steel Reserve' 211 Alloy Series High Gravity Lager Beer, Wisconsin, USA
34,181st in popularity
$ 1
Wine Label of Schmidt Premium Beer, Wisconsin, USA
34,654th in popularity
$ 0
Wine Label of New Glarus Brewing Co. Raspberry Tart Beer, Wisconsin, USA
39,128th in popularity
$ 6
96 / 100
Wine Label of Miller High Life The Champagne of Beers, Wisconsin, USA
40,296th in popularity
$ 1
Wine Label of New Glarus Brewing Co. Wisconsin Belgian Red Beer, Wisconsin, USA
40,296th in popularity
$ 6
96 / 100
Wine Label of Steel Brewing Company 'Steel Reserve' 211 Alloy Series Hard Pineapple Flavoured Malt Beverage, Wisconsin, USA
43,608th in popularity
$ 3
78 / 100
Wine Label of J. Henry & Sons Small Batch 5 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Wisconsin, USA
43,608th in popularity
$ 61
Wine Label of Door Peninsula Winery Hallowine Sweet Apple Wine, Wisconsin, USA
47,533rd in popularity
$ 12
Wine Label of Minhas Distillery 'Punjabi Club' Rye Whisky, Wisconsin, USA
51,060th in popularity
$ 22
Wine Label of Schlitz Bull 'Malt Liquor' O.M.L Beer, Wisconsin, USA
54,217th in popularity
$ 1
65 / 100
Wine Label of Chateau St. Croix Cheesehead White, Wisconsin, USA
54,217th in popularity
$ 15
Wine Label of Three Lakes Winery Cranberry Wine, Wisconsin, USA
54,217th in popularity
$ 10
Wine Label of Referent Horseradish Infused Vodka, Wisconsin, USA
56,535th in popularity
$ 23
Wine Label of Von Stiehl Winery Naughty Girl, Wisconsin, USA
57,811th in popularity
$ 12
Wine Label of Harbor Ridge Winery 'Carmen's Last Dance', Wisconsin, USA
59,101st in popularity
$ 14
Wine Label of Owl's Brew Radler That's my Jam Amber Ale Beer, Wisconsin, USA
65,234th in popularity
$ 14
Wine Label of Not Your Mom's Strawberry Rhubarb Beer, Wisconsin, USA
65,234th in popularity
$ 4
Wine Label of Pabst Blue Ribbon PBR Whiskey, Wisconsin, USA
65,234th in popularity
$ 25
Wine Label of Three Lakes Winery Pumpkin Wine, Wisconsin, USA
66,931st in popularity
$ 11
Wine Label of Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery Untouchable Red, Wisconsin, USA
68,680th in popularity
$ 14
80 / 100
Wine Label of Wollersheim Winery Prairie Fume Seyval, Wisconsin, USA
70,520th in popularity
$ 11
82 / 100
Wine Label of Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Coffee Salted Caramel, Wisconsin, USA
72,404th in popularity
$ 6
Wine Label of Death's Door Gin, Wisconsin, USA
Gin
72,404th in popularity
$ 36
87 / 100
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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