Wherever I travel, I make a point to see if there are any local wineries that I can visit. Obviously this is easy to do in California and, gosh knows, I’ve explored all the wineries within a 60-mile radius of Kansas City, but much to my delight, during my recent trip up north, I found some really good Wisconsin wine. And it was all grown from local Wisconsin grapes.
Now, I’ll admit: I know nothing about Wisconsin wine. I went in not having any idea what grapes do well in Wisconsin or how robust its winery scene is. But, from a few quick Google sessions, it seems like the Wisconsin wine game is strong and getting stronger all the time. We only had time to go to one winery — Botham Vineyards — but what I tasted there I was impressed with. (No doubt — Epicurious.com named its estate-grown 2012 Uplands Reserve Wisconsin’s best wine.) It left me wanting to try more Wisconsin wine. Like, I want to plan another trip ASAP.
There’s nothing I love more than going to a new place and seeing them make awesomeness out of what they have. Yes, obviously Wisconsin is not California, and it shouldn’t try to be when it comes to wine. But the vino we tried at Botham Vineyards was surprisingly good. Here’s a recap.
Enjoying Wisconsin Wine at Botham Vineyards
Botham Vineyards is only about a 40-minute drive from Madison, Wis., but it really feels like you are out in the nature. Curvy side roads wiggle-waggle you from the highway back and into the vineyard, which sits up on a hill and has a really nice view. Although you’re pretty close to civilization, it has the wine-country vibe to it for sure. (Which I ADORE.)
They had a great picnic area.
And the cutest tasting room. (Red barns and Wisconsin go together like peas and carrots, yo.)
They even tolerated our crew of three adults and two toddlers.
We opted for the dry tasting, of course.
I had never even heard of the grape Leon Millet, so you know I asked a million questions about that one. And I loved, loved, loved Field 3 that featured it.
It reminded me of a more French wine — full bodied without too much fruit; so good. We bought two bottles.
The Latitude 43 also caught my tastebuds. It wasn’t quite as impressive or as complex as the Field 3, but it was dry with a little oak and plenty of crispness.
The perfect compliment to our picnic.
And while the weather was a touch cool and misty, we all certainly had a good time hanging outside and enjoying a good bottle of Wisconsin wine.
Plus, like any good winery, they had cats!
If you’re in or near Madison, I totally recommend swinging by Botham Vineywards for a taste and picnic!
Okay, what other Wisconsin wine should I try and what other wineries should I visit? I’ve heard great things about Wollersheim Winery so you know that’s on my list, but what else? —Jenn